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Are we serious about commissions and committees?

14 November 2023 12:00 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Now that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership over political interference in its administration, the fate of the Interim Committee on which the Court of Appeal has issued a 14-day Stay Order, the Cabinet Subcommittee appointed to resolve issues about cricket and the report that was submitted by the Justice K.T. Chitrasiri Committee for a new constitution for Sri Lanka Cricket is not clear.  
Are these mechanisms also come under the realm of political influence mentioned by the ICC or are the authorities just going to dump these mechanisms as well as they did in the past to various committees and commissions?  
We took the cricket issue as a preamble only to remind the progress of some of the committees and commissions appointed in the past, spending millions of rupees from the public funds.  


What was the outcome of the investigation initiated by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) into the claims made by the Pandora Papers against former State Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband? What is the progress of the investigation by the committee appointed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to look into the allegations made by Britain’s Channel 4 television that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) was involved in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks? Is the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) appointed to find out the causes of the economic crisis that has ruined the lives of the majority of people in the country moving forward?  
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based on a leak of 11.9 million confidential files known as the Pandora Papers, claimed that Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan had used secretive shell companies and trusts to accumulate more than USD 18 million in tax havens. The ICIJ said that the duo owned artworks and luxury properties in London and Sydney worth millions of dollars.  
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on October 6, 2021, ordered the CIABOC to launch an investigation into the Sri Lankans and the related transactions claimed by the Pandora Papers and submit a report within a month. However, the report was delayed citing various reasons including the lack of cooperation on the part of banks in the country. Now, everybody seems to have forgotten the ICIJ claims and the investigation into them.  
Similarly, as the pressure mounted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the government on accountability issues, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in January 2021 appointed a three-member Commission under the Chairmanship of Supreme Court Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz to investigate the findings of all preceding Commissions and Committees that handled violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.  
The Commission was given six months to produce its final report but the deadline was renewed several times. Finally, the commission submitted a synopsis of the recommendations in its final report to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on February 6, this year. What the Government is going to do with the report is not clear.  
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena appointed a PSC in July this year under the chairmanship of Sagara Kariyawasam MP to investigate the causes of the current financial bankruptcy and to report to Parliament. We heard that the PSC met only once so far and Sri Lankans would wait with bated breath if it is to grill former Finance Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa under whose administration the bankruptcy was announced.  


However, many are skeptical if the PSC could come up with any credible findings, because of the conflict of interest involved in the matter.  
Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe on September 10, this year appointed a three-member Committee headed by retired Supreme Court Judge S.I. Imam to probe the allegations made by Britain’s Channel 4 recently. The committee had been told to submit their report before October 31. Neither the report was submitted nor has the committee been given more time to do so.  
Does the statement by President Wickremesinghe that a PSC would be appointed to inquire into the remark made by former Attorney General Dappula de Livera on the Easter Sunday attacks still stand? Are we serious in these matters is a question that begs answers, after all.    


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  Comments - 3

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  • Champika Munidasa Tuesday, 14 November 2023 01:30 PM

    People don’t have any faith in so-called commissions and committees. The authorities have proved time and again they are of no use, an utter waste of time and money. Members of commissions and committees go abroad to study mechanisms in those western countries, but in return they don’t bring any good to the country. Now it has become a trend to appoint commissions to look into whatever the issue and let people forget about it as time passes by.

    Buddhist Wednesday, 15 November 2023 04:19 PM

    We all know the Cricket Board is corrupt. We also know that there are very corrupt ministers including those who asked for bribes from Japan in the cabinet. How can one corrupt organization's faults can one corrected by another corrupt group?

    N V Jen Wednesday, 15 November 2023 04:40 PM

    Appointing inquiry commissions is an eyewash just to pacify the masses that government is concerned about the relevant situation. By the time report is submitted everyone has forgotten what the issue was! Another govt.'s wastage of tax money.


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