MPs trapped in bribery net

MPs trapped in bribery net

For the first time in the annals of Sri Lankan politics, a considerable quantum of members of Parliament are trapped in the bribery net. Altogether 50 politicians including provincial council and pradeshiya sabha members are being investigated by the Bribery Commission for accumulation of assets running into billions of rupees having used corrupt methods, claimed the Chairman of the Bribery Commission, and retired Supreme Court Judge Jagath Balapatabendi.

A clause of secrecy in the bribery statute prevented Justice Balapatabendi from disclosing the names of the politicians until they are brought before Court.

Besides, nearly 50 cases have been filed in the High Court against high ranking government and state corporation officials regarding the accumulation of wealth and corruption. “About 45 to 50 politicians are being investigated for recent assets accumulation and corruption following complaints received by the Bribery Commission while a similar number of cases have been filed against top government officials and State Corporation officials,” Chairman Balapatabendi said in an exclusive interview.

The former Supreme Court Judge appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and approved by the parliamentary council said that under the Bribery Commission Act, he would be calling on the politicians concerned to check whether their assets and liabilities had been correctly declared.
Commissioner Balapatabendi, while stressing that petitioners were required to have knowledge on how a particular person had acquired such wealth, said, “Generally investigations are time consuming having to call for documents such as deeds, bank statements and details of bank accounts, and if there is sufficient material evidence we will file action in court.”

The Chairman stressed that the commission’s priority was to investigate recent acquisition of assets, wealth and property or their recent financial business dealings that such individuals cannot do with their legal earnings.

/ English

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