Battling corruption

Battling corruption

CORRUPTION is probably the biggest hindrance to development in Sri Lanka. The only thing worse than the level of corruption, is the environment of impunity which the offenders operate in.  These two elements are strongly interlinked and promote each other to the extent that most average people have become immune to the presence of corruption in their lives.

After a long lapse the Commission on Bribery and Corruption has returned to instil some level of law and order to the country. According to reports it has commenced probes on 2000 complaints received during the period it was defunct. Bribery Commission Chief, retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Jagath Balapatabendhi has insisted that they will take all measures to bring the perpetrators to book while maintaining fairness in their procedure.
According to Bribery and Corruption Commission reports there are already 1000 cases investigated prior to the commission becoming inactive that are now before the commission for necessary recommendations. The 2000 complaints that are being now probed are levelled against several public officers including politicians, policemen, employees of the statutory sector and other individuals. These cover corruption, malpractices, bribery and fraud charges. This alone shows how deep the web of corruption runs in Sri Lanka. It is highly probable that the highest crimes are not even brought to the attention of the legal system due to many people being afraid of repercussions.  Having a programme to protect these people is imperative if justice is to be served.   

For the pervasive environment of impunity to at least be dented there must be a transparent process where the Commission can actually show that their investigations have brought redress to injured parties. Without results the people will continue to disregard the system due to lack of faith. Even though authoritative bodies such as the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) and Bribery and Corruption Commission have been conducting highly publicised queries the glitches in the system have ensured that to date not a single politician has been jailed for the offences that he has clearly been responsible for.

If the Bribery and Corruption Commission is to inspire trust among the people then it has to investigate large scale corruption and ensure that good governance is instilled to the core of organisations, particularly ones that serve the public. There is a vast amount of resources that are wasted by corruption but the web of people that benefit from it will do their utmost to see that it continues. Usually the bribes taken by people of low income are investigated while the rich live it up by means of their ill-gotten gains.

The Bribery and Corruption Commission cannot be the solution to all of Sri Lanka’s governance problems but it can take a stand for what is right and show the path towards a more law abiding community. In carrying out its services uninterrupted and effectively the masses will once more have faith in the legal system. Lighting even one candle for justice in the darkness will take Sri Lanka one step closer to being the winner.

/ News

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