Party officers must submit asset declarations to Elections Dept.

Defaulters risk bribery investigations


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Office bearers of political parties failing to furnish their financial status to the polls chief will risk being investigated by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, the Elections Commissioner said.

Both politicians and officials holding key appointments are liable to be prosecuted unless they comply with a directive issued by the Election Secretariat, he said.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya told The Sunday Island that he would have no option but to bring to the notice of the Bribery Commission, those, who had failed to comply with the law on or before June 30, 2012. 

The Election Secretariat wrote to Secretaries of political parties recently regarding the implementation of the law which has remained a dead letter.

 The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), too emphasized the need to take urgent measures to ensure free operation of independent commissions.

Asked whether he had introduced new law to look into financial status of those holding positions in political parties, Deshapriya said that he only implemented the existing law.

The outspoken official said that the JVP had always furnished the required information to the Election Secretariat regularly.

Deshapriya said that he would implement law, which he said was needed as part of the overall measures to ensure financial integrity among office bearers, both elected and ex-officio.

According him, ministers would have to furnish their details to the President and MPs to the Speaker. In the case of ministers and MPs holding positions in political parties, they would still have to keep the Elections Secretariat informed even if they furnished their details to the President and the Speaker, respectively.

Responding to a query, Deshapriya said that he had to furnish his own assets declaration to the Secretary to the President.

When asked whether Australian passport holder Premkumar Gunaratnam would be acceptable to him as the leader of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Deshapriya said that the issue was irrelevant at the moment as the FSP was yet to seek recognition.

He said that the Election Secretariat dealt with Secretaries to political parties and not with leaders. But in the event the FSP receiving recognition, its office bearers would have to furnish their financial status to the Election Secretariat.

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