The Right to Information Commission (RTIC) has directed the Presidential Secretariat to disclose the declaration of assets and liabilities of Ranil Wickremesinghe in his role as Prime Minister for 2015 and 2016, the Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the TISL said the order was made pursuant to an initial request it filed on February 3, 2017.
“This decision would enable TISL to publicly release the asset declaration once received, as it has been obtained under the RTI Act. The RTIC noted that any parts of the declaration relating to third parties may be redacted and determined that the grounds raised by the Presidential Secretariat – including that the information should be private - do not stand,” it said.
While welcoming the order, the TISL encouraged citizens to use asset declarations as a tool to publicly examine allegations of wealth accumulation and to counter corruption.
Meanwhile, on TISL’s request for access to the asset declaration of President Maithripala Sirisena for 2015 and 2016, the RTIC held that the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law does not include the position of President.
However, the Commission has noted that “the increasing trend among Heads of State is to proactively disclose their assets and liabilities to foster a practice of transparency and public accountability”.
The RTIC recommended that this lacuna in the law be redressed, as it would advance “a culture of public accountability and good governance as envisaged by the RTI Act”.
TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said this marks a major victory for RTI and the campaign to get asset declarations into the hands of the people.
“We expect the Presidential Secretariat to take action to furnish a copy of the Asset Declaration as directed by the RTI Commission, which we will immediately share with the public,”he said.