Release Thilakawardena Report on corruption in arms purchases – Tissa Attanayake


by Zacki Jabbar

The report of the Presidential Commission, headed by Justice Shirani Thilakawardena, which had inquired into alleged corruption running into millions of dollars in the purchase of arms for the military, was yet to be released even though four years had lapsed, the main Opposition UNP charged yesterday.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that the Commission had commented about the conduct of several armed forces commanders, but when Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was questioned in Parliament he had replied that the report could not be released due to national security reasons.

He, queried as to how the revelation of corruption in the purchase of arms could pose a threat to the country, adding that the government was having a field day since the encatment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which had scrapped the Independent Bribery and Corruption and Commission and replaced it with a toothless body that was at the beck and call of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Presidential Commissions have turned out to be a waste of time and another classic example was the inquiry launched into the recent Police assault on Katunayake EPZ workers, which had resulted in the death of one worker and injuries to 145 others. The public were told that the report would be out in five days, but over a month later nothing was heard about it, he said.

Attanayake, said that the government claimed that it had eased Emergency Regulations and was gradually dismantling military camps, but the truth was that the number of military installations were increasing not only in the North and East but also in the South.

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