Election process spoiled by misuse of Public resources. TISL calls for Commission of Inquiry
The misuse of public resources was a major spoiler of the election process. Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) through the Programme for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR), monitored and investigated the misuse of public resources during the period of the Presidential election.
We acknowledge the support given by the Canadian International Development Agency to make this programme a success.The public’s response was good, considering the large amount of complaints received. Complaints that had sufficient leads to enable verification were looked into and verified by a team of experienced investigators.
Three weekly reports were published, which illustrated the typical cases of abuse investigated.Investigations will be continued into the balance of the verifiable complaints and our findings will be conveyed to the relevant authorities for appropriate action. Complaints were mainly against the ruling party, however this was proportionate to the fact that it is the governing party mainly that holds custody of State assets.
A unique feature was the admission by the UNP to the use of the official office of the Leader of the Opposition for election propaganda purposes.Additionally the Leader of the Opposition avowed that the UNP will pay all telephone, electricity bills as well as the rent for the period commencing from the day of nominations until the termination of the election.
The Elections Commissioner, Bribery Commission, Police and the private Media took positive steps with a view to curb the misuse of State resources.Some politicians and public officials however, who are addicted to robbing from public coffers were insensitive to the public outcry and carried on regardless. It was a disappointment that the two main contenders already holding high office did not assert their official roles and called on the perpetrators to stop plundering public resources.
A notable feature observed during this election was that the misuse of State resources was not as blatant as during the earlier elections. Ingenious methods were used to circumvent the exposure of misuse. E.g. State owned vehicles were used with changed license plates, private vehicles were taken on lease by State institutions for use in the election campaign, and monies drawn undercover of leasing vehicles for official use were also misused in the election campaign. These devious methods resorted to by unscrupulous power hunters have been monitored by our investigators and will be described in detail in our final report.
The magnitude of the loss to the State on account of these misuses and the resulting distortion to the will of the people, requiresa Commission of Inquiry to probe into the fraudulent exploits, so to quantify the losses to the State and to recommend remedial measures to curb this menace.
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