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CORRUPTION CASES TO BE FAST TRACKED

The UNP working committee yesterday decided to appoint a progress evaluation committee to look into the investigations conducted by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division and similar law enforcement agencies on corruption.

The first committee meeting will take place next Friday under the directions of Law and Order, Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka and Justice, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Thalatha Athukorale.

The committee comprises of Ministers Eran Wickremeratne, Ajith P. Perera, Sujeewa Senasinghe, President’s Counsel Nissanka Nanayakkara and Asendra Siriwardena.

The committee will sit every two weeks and submit a progress report on corruption allegation investigations to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The UNP Working Committee meeting was held under the directions of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (15). The Working Committee extensively discussed on the slow pace at which the investigations are conducted. Minister Sagala Ratnayaka pointed out that the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) has concluded and submitted investigations into 92 cases which were handed over to the Attorney General’s Department, but the AG’s Department has taken legal action only on 11 cases.

It was also discussed at the Working Committee that some government institutes are reluctant to give information and reports for such investigations. It was also suggested that action should be taken against such actions as well.

The Working Committee expressed its concerns on the slow pace at which the investigations are conducted, which they believe hinders the government’s objective to bring persons involved in bribery and corruption to justice.

The Working Committee also pointed out certain defects of the AG’s Department while highlighting that some officers attached to the department are playing favourites. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera pointed out that 100 new officers will soon be recruited to the AG’s Department to prevent delays in filing cases and taking legal action.

It was also pointed out that it is a deficiency on the part of the AG’s Department which allowed Anura Senanayake to obtain bail as one who is involved in the Thajudeen murder case.

Another committee was appointed by the UNP Working Committee on nominations for the coming local government polls. Discussions were also held on assuring the UNP’s victory at the LG polls.

The Working Committee also proposed to commend Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Thalatha Athukorale for the budgetary proposal to establish three new anti-corruption high courts. The Working Committee also proposed to appoint three judge benches to all anti-corruption high courts, allowing to file appeals directly to the Supreme Court and to establish a special unit that reports to the Attorney General.