Anti Corruption body awaits decision

Published : 8:59 am  July 3, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 

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By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Officials of the Anti Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) await response from the Prime Minister’s Office for further action, as the term of the much debated body that handled major scale corruption cases ceased to exist from Saturday, July 01.

 

The six-month term of the Secretariat that was renewed for the fifth time since January 01 this year to June 30 by a special Cabinet decision ceased to continue as it had not been validated for another term, which should have been approved in the last Cabinet decision making meeting that met on Tuesday, June 27.


A senior official at the ACCS disclosed to the Daily Mirror yesterday that the office would be closed for both the public and the staff from today onwards as they had no legal provision to continue their duties as usual. He said several reminders made to the Prime Minister’s Office -both verbally and in writing-last week about the imminent expiry of the term of the Secretariat, had not raised any concerns so far and they were yet to receive any response.


He said the officials that had been assigned to carry out the duties of the ACCS were actually absorbed from a range of State Departments and offices, where they were expected to report back from today.

The ACCS which was set up under the Prime Minister’s Office in February, 2015 in a bid to determine the nature of the public complaints of large scale corruption cases of the previous regime, used its chief probing tools such as Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).


Since then, the Secretariat had received 1, 100 complaints in total where 465 had been selected as the large scale corruption cases that were to be probed by the said agencies. 


The rest of the cases were considered as minor irregularities of the state sector, which had accordingly been directed to the relevant ministerial, departmental or corporation officials to run internal inquires. Out of the 465 complaints the FCID had completed investigations of 86 cases in the past two-and –half-years, where the files had been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for legal action. From the 86 cases, 15 had been prosecuted in the courts of law in Colombo and outstations following indictment by the AG’s Department.


Out of these 15 cases one case pertaining to the alleged embezzlement of State funds during distributing Sil clothing is nearing conviction, in which the chief suspects are former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and former TRC Chairman Anusha Pelpita.

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