Clean up or face consequences, Defence Secretary tells Prison officials

Defence Secretary Maj.Gen.(Retd) Kamal Gunaratne taking a strong stand warned the Prison officers to make sure no illegal activities are allowed within the prisons, adding that the CID has commenced investigations against several corrupt prison officers. He made this statement addressing a workshop organized for Prison Superintendents in Colombo yesterday.

He noted that the Attorney General is in the process of taking legal steps against these prison officers and urged prison officials to ensure that the Prison Department is transformed into a corruption free institution.

“If they have made a mistake or committed a wrongdoing, these officers should have a backbone to admit that they did something wrong and correct their mistake. There could be honest officers among you, but there are more corrupt officers. That is a known fact and you can’t deny it. After the President assumed office he told me that the entire drug mafia and the underworld activities are all being run from within the prisons and wanted the Prisons cleaned off corruption and illegal activities,” he added.

The Defence Secretary warned the prison officials that the Defence and intelligence services had recorded and analysed hundreds of thousands of telephone calls streaming out of the prisons. “I have come here armed with this information. When the fridge and the luxury mattress were sent into the prison, we were aware of it. We have a very effective mechanism to monitor what takes place within the prisons.”

In a strongly worded statement, the Maj.Gen.Gunaratne told the Prison Commissioners at the meeting that if he was a prison officer, he would be ashamed to don the uniform after reading what was carried in the news recently about the incident at the Negombo Prison. “It is up to all you Commissioners to decide if the current Prison Commissioner Thushara Upuldeniya remains in his post until retirement, or whether an SLAS or military officer would have to take over the command of the Prison Department. It is up to you to ensure that your train operates without derailment.”

He pointed out that a renowned criminal had damaged the CCTV cameras installed on three occasions, but no action was taken. He noted the Government has transformed the Boossa Prison into a maximum security prison.The Defence Secretary warned the Prison officials that if they fail to take control and correct their mistakes and shortcomings, the Government would be forced to take appropriate action.

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