Wednesday, 20 August 2003  
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Bribery rampant in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is in 57th place among 102 countries surveyed to ascertain the success in eradicating bribery and corruption. This survey conducted by Transparency International receives mention in the Programme for the Prevention of Bribery and Corruption Report for 2003 compiled by the Sri Lanka Foundation in collaboration with the Commission to investigate allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

It says that surveys conducted by various organisations have disclosed that bribery and corruption have increased in the public service of Sri Lanka at an alarming level.

Among the 168 persons produced before the Court on the complaints received at the Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) in the recent past there were high ranking officials such as Chairman of Sri Lanka Board of Investment, a District Medical Officer, a Judicial Medical Officer, an Accountant, a Senior Superintendent of Police, a Deputy Inspector General of Police and a Deputy Commissioner of Excise, according to the report. Still more there are quite a few allegations against highly distinguished persons, which were not subjected to legal action due to insufficient evidence.

This is clear evidence to prove how far the bribery and corruption have encroached the public service of the country.

Under these circumstances, the Commission realized that traditional methods of only accepting complaints, inquiring into complaints and referring them to courts will not be sufficient at all to wipe out bribery and corruption which are now deeply rooted in the public service.

Therefore, in the year 2001 a Prevention Programme was launched by the Commission with a view of making an attitudinal change in the minds of total public service cadre. In the years 2001 to 2002 lectures and seminars were conducted targeting public servants, students, business community, employees of private sector and general public with the help of District Secretariats, Ministry of Education and certain Divisional Secretariats.

In the year 2003, this programme was expanded to cover Ministries, Provincial Councils and Government departments. In addition, this message was conveyed to the general public through radio talks and television programmes, newspaper advertisements and through posters.

The report states:

Now it has come to a point that CIABOC requires the active participation and assistance from other public or civil society organizations to join hands with CIABOC to combat corruption in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Foundation is prepared to render assistance to CIABOC to conduct the prevention programme in more effective way.

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