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Commitment to root out endemic corruption from Sri Lanka

21 December 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Last week, I marched from Vihara Maha Devi Park to Independence Square behind a 0 percent Tolerance for Corruption banner.  

The march was organised by the Sri Lankan Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, enlivened by military marching bands and hairy black corruption devils, and sponsored by a range of local and international organisations, including the British High Commission.

It wasn’t a long march, but it was an important one. Corruption affects everyone: rich or poor, public or private, young or old.  It slows economic growth, widens income gaps and undermines business, investment and prospects.  It just isn’t fair, and that means it corrodes society at every level.

So it was good to see the breadth and depth of participation on the day: The President, several Members of Parliament, very senior military leaders and police inspectors, and also the children and bright young people for whose opportunities we were marching.  Transparency International and several other civil society organisations helped with the arrangements. That’s the level of commitment necessary for Sri Lanka successfully to root out the corruption that has taken hold here in recent years.


World support
When the new Sri Lankan Government asked the international community for assistance in tackling corruption earlier this year, the UK was one of the first to offer practical support.  The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has sent a senior investigator to Colombo: Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to which the Serious Fraud Office has seconded an officer in this way.  He has designed and delivered a tailored package of training, to develop investigation capability in the Bribery Commission and police, including the new Financial Crime Investigation Division.  The SFO also arranged for four Sri Lankan officers to attend their own investigation training course in London: again, the first time that they have invited external participants onto such a specialist programme.  We’re also enhancing investigators’ capability to engage in international cases, through legal advice, exchanges and English language training. Bringing a corruption investigation to court takes time – often a frustratingly long time for all involved.  But the good news is that internal Sri Lankan police evaluation of our training shows that it is building confidence and key skills.


Funds to combat bribery and corruption
Over the next three years, the British Government is committed to spending over Rs. 15 million (or around three quarters of a million pounds sterling) to support the Sri Lankan government in its determination to combat bribery and corruption.  

This will mostly be in the form of continued capacity building and training for all the professional branches involved in anti-corruption work.   Partnership is essential, and we’re working very closely with the USA and Australia, as well as with the Swiss, who also sponsored last week’s march.

It was of course the International Anti-corruption Day when the march took place.  But I’ve deliberately waited a few days before posting this, because although the 9th of December is an important date, it’s how we all show our 0 peercent tolerance for corruption every day of the year that will really make the difference. Why not start atwww.ipaidabribe.lk?

(The writer is the Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives)
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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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