Curbing Corruption

Oct 31, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s bribery and corruption commission has vast powers to probe official misdeeds but cannot act except on a complaint and has its impartiality questioned by the presence of police investigators. Although commission officials say it is one of the most flexible and authoritative bodies compared to similar departments around the world, it is widely seen as being ineffective in curbing corruption rampant in state service.

“In our commission, we have all the powers. The power to investigate, file legal action, take persons into custody and also to manage legal proceedings,” commission official Neville Guruge, a senior police superintendent, told reporters on Tuesday.

The main reason for such flexibility is the inclusion of chosen police officials as investigators of bribery and corruption, he said.

Compared to some 31 such departments or commissions around the world, Sri Lanka is the only commission with police officials working as investigators.

However, Guruge acknowledged that the inclusion of police officers and the absence of independent investigating officials have raised questions about the impartiality of the commission.

The police presence has helped the commission