May 23, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Friday said that the country lacks officers to investigate large-scale corruption, fraud and irregularities and the professionals who have the knowledge are not keen to do so.
“As the new government, we are in the process of exposing large-scale corruption, fraud and irregularities which have taken place in the public sector, semi government and private sector,” Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
“So to explore these, a large number of officers with the right experience and knowledge are needed,”
“Those who have such experience and knowledge are reluctant to work on these investigations neglecting all their personal work,”
“Therefore we have to proceed with the investigations with our limited recourses and officials.”
He made these comments at a meeting held at the United National Party headquarters, Colombo.
Critics say unsolicited deals and awarding massive state contracts without competitive bidding has become the norm in Sri Lanka paving the way for corruption for many years.
The constitution along with one in 1972 is also blamed for destroying the country’s independent public service headed by permanent secretaries, which has in turn led to a lack of rule of law and justice and the loss of essential freedoms for ordinary citizens.
Public officials were tied to trees by the elected ruling class and made to kneel before them in some cases during the past regime.
Without an independent public service headed by permanent secretaries the elected rulers have total control over the criminal justice system, critics say.
During President Sirisena’s election campaign a lot of acquisitions were made and fingers pointed alleging frauds and corruption of the past regime.
Some of the politicians and officials were arrested and changed for fraud and corruption while some are yet pending.
The new government also sought assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Reserve Bank of India to trace billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth allegedly stashed abroad by influential people in the former regime.