Govt. won’t investigate 30 corrupt deals
Bribery Commission takes only 16 cases revealed by COPE

While the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry prepares to observe international Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, The Island is in a position to reveal that persons responsible for massive revenue losses, running into billions of rupees, hadn’t even been questioned by law enforcement agencies.

Of 46 major cases of waste, corruption and irregularities exposed by the Committee on Public Enterprises, only 16 will be investigated.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption will investigate only three of the 13 cases of corruption revealed by the Committee on Public Enterprises in its second report to Parliament submitted over a year ago.

Director General of the Commission, Ms Luckshmi Jayawickrama, Thursday (27) confirmed this. Responding to our queries, at a press conference called by the Public Administration Ministry to announce an anti-corruption drive, the DG said that Parliament had forwarded three cases for the Commission’s perusal.

She declined to reveal the cases as it would violate the secrecy clause.

She said that the Commission was in the process of investigating cases reported by the COPE in its first and second reports to Parliament.

She told The Island yesterday that the Commission hadn’t so far moved the judiciary against the suspects in any of the cases. Action would be taken once the investigations were over, she said, adding that the Attorney General’s Department, too, would assist in the prosecution of the suspects.

Meanwhile, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, National List MP, told The Island that of the 46 cases of waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector revealed by COPE during his tenure as the Chairman of the parliamentary watch dog, only 16 were being investigated by the Bribery Commission. "We reported 26 cases in our first report, but only 13 are being probed by the Bribery Commission. Of the 13 cases revealed in our second report, only three would come under the purview of the Bribery Commission," he said.

Responding to The Island queries, the outspoken MP said the bottom line was that 30 cases hadn’t been investigated at all. Nothing could be as regrettable as this, particularly at a time the country was facing economic difficulties.

He said that although relevant ministers and secretaries were required to act on cases outside the purview of the Bribery Commission, they had turned a blind eye. The MP, who lost the chairmanship of the COPE to Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne, said that he wasn’t even nominated as a member of the committee.

Rajapakshe estimated the revenue loss caused by waste, corruption and irregularities at 46 public enterprises at about Rs 156 billion.

He said the recent landmark Supreme Court ruling on the privatisation of the profitable Lanka Marine Services Limited (LMSL) was evidence that COPE findings were accurate. The LMSL deal was revealed by COPE in its first report, he said, emphasising that the country could no longer afford to allow the ‘Robber Barons’ to continue their sordid operations. The very survival of the country’s economy would be at stake unless urgent measures were taken to restore financial discipline.

The SC ruling on the privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation was expected shortly, he said. The SLIC deal, too, was revealed by Wijedasa.

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