Dec 11, Colombo: The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has called on the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to consider the statement of the President in its ongoing investigation into allegations of attempts to bribe members of parliament.
The President's acknowledgement in an interview with the Daily Mirror last week, that vast sums of money had been solicited and offered to MPs in exchange for their allegiance, underscores the importance of a comprehensive and timely investigation by CIABOC. TISL has formally provided the recording of the President's statement to CIABOC.
On 28 November, TISL provided a detailed statement to CIABOC pursuant to a complaint regarding alleged attempts to bribe MPs, highlighting that the contents of telephone conversation recordings shared with the media recently by Palitha Range Bandara MP, clearly indicate an offence under Section 14 of the Bribery Act.
Speaking on the most recent development, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said, the remarks made by the President during this interview give weight to the initial complaint filed by TISL.
"Whilst the President states that he will never support the bribing of politicians, he acknowledges personal knowledge of bribes being demanded, which is indicative of a potential pattern of criminal activity involving politicians and clandestine political intermediaries," Obeyesekere said.
TISL called on the President to voluntarily provide a statement to CIABOC, thereby upholding his own commitment to transparency and accountability.
Furthermore, during the interview the President also alleged that attempts were made in the past to undermine investigations undertaken by Commissions of Inquiry.
Obeyesekere added that “if such obstruction has occurred, the President must as the appointing authority of these Commissions of Inquiry, inform law enforcement agencies, for them to investigate and take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the Commissions."
Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview with Daily Mirror openly admitted that his Prime Minister appointee Mahinda Rajapaksa has attempted to bribe parliamentarians to show majority in the House.