A National Action Plan on anti-corruption will get off the ground early next year which envisages a collective effort among stakeholder agencies to tackle bribery and corruption, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) Sarath Jayamanne, PC said.

“In the absence of a strong framework to combat bribery and corruption, the National Action Plan will become a “road map in the coming years” outlining guidelines in the fight against bribery and corruption,” he said.

“A National Action Plan on anti-corruption will indicate that the government is in full support of the anti corruption initiative in the country,” he added.

“This move will also project Sri Lanka as a progressive country in the international arena,” PC Jayamanne added.

He pointed out that most countries under different international organisations have pledged to fight corruption and have adopted their own National Action Plans on anti-corruption.

Responding to the Daily News, Jayamanne said the CIABOC together with the Presidential Secretariat and the Foreign Ministry and other key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Public Administration, Law and order, Judiciary and Education will present a general framework for the National Action Plan on anti-corruption as the initial step within the setting up of the National Action Plan.

“A special meeting with the participation of all key stakeholders will take place in the next two weeks to set the general framework, which will include vision, objectives and deadlines relevant to the task at hand,”Jayamanne also said.

“This meeting will most probably be headed by President Maithripala Sirisena.

“While having an extensive discussion on the plan, we can also set the basics, objectives, other priorities and deadlines at this discussion. In three months time, we will be able to compile the main body of the action plan,” he added.

The proposal made by Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala to compile an action plan for empowering anti-corruption agencies in controlling corruption and creating awareness on the negative impact of corruption, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers recently.

“The action plan mainly focuses on preventive measures whereas adversarial approach to the matter will be strengthened by the amendments to the Bribery and Corruption Act that will also be introduced by early next year,” Jayamanne said.

 The action plan also includes coherence and coordination, implementation of the convention against corruption, enhancement of the independence of the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission, education, awareness creation, capacity building, and technical assistance.

“Some believe that an adversarial approach to bribery and corruption will solve the major part of the problem. Yes, it will definitely have its advantages. However, it is important that we give equal focus on corruption prevention as well. For example, according to recent success of Malaysia in corruption prevention, 40% of their success is due to preventive measures. This is where the education sector comes in. We are looking forward to include corruption prevention topics into the school curricula so that children will be expose to this idea from a young age,” he explained.

“The National Action Plan will be compiled not only with the contributions from the public and private sectors, other vital stakeholders but with the contributions made by the general public as well,” Jayamanne said.

“The contribution of the public to this action plan is of immense importance. We will reach people in rural areas to receive their contribution to the compilation of the national action plan. It is equally vital that we raise awareness on this national action plan among the public as well,” he explained.

The Director General also pointed out that the National Action Plan will strengthen the CIABOC which is a multi tasking organisation that investigates, prosecute, prevent and corroborate internationally to matters regarding bribery and corruption in the country.

“A full recognition from the government along with a national consciousness on the matter of bribery and corruption will strengthen our Commission immensely. Even though our Commission has our own action plan, we cannot extend it as part of the national interest. We had a very weak system against bribery and corruption. So it is the responsibility of the government to establish a national action plan on anti corruption for which the CIABOC can be the cheif coordinator and a key contributor,”the CIABOC Director General pointed out.


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