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DG vacancy is causing significant case delays

2 November 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


THE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY OR CORRUPTION ACT, No. 19 OF 1994, has not created a post of a Deputy General, Acting DG or an officer to cover up the duties of the Director General. According to Sections 11 and 12 of the Act, an Indictment should be signed by the Director General with instruction of the Commission. Therefore, an Indictment cannot be signed by any other officer and the Act has not specifically delegated the DG’s powers to any other officer. Unlike other legislations in Sri Lanka also in the interpretation section of the Act this matter is silent. In this context an indictment may not be signed by any officer covering up the duties or acting in the post of the DG and this has led to significant delays in prosecuting cases in High Court and unmanageable workloads. Even though the acting officer has signed indictments this could be challenged by the defendant in courts. Therefore the Government must appoint the Director General without an unreasonable delay. Further, the vacancy may not affect sending summons because summons are signed by the Chairman of the Commission and will not affect investigations and already-filled cases in High Courts. The only issue is that indictment cannot be signed receivable in High Courts other than by the DG.  

According to section 17 of the Act every officer in the Commission must sign a declaration before accepting the post that they are bound by the duty to maintain secrecy and protect the information and not to divulge to any interested party concerned. Therefore the politicians and ministers, rather than criticizing the commission officers in media briefings and political platforms that they leaked information for interested parties, must complain to the relevant authorities to take legal action against them immediately. And if this becomes a practice, then it may turn to politicization of the activities in the commission. Further, any Director General who has been appointed to the post has not completed the term for whatever reasons in the past. When appointing the DG under section 16 (1) of the Act the president may consult the members of the Bribery Commission according to law but the president has to go beyond the Act because in the practice of good Governance principles the president may be compelled to consult Prime Minister and other parties in the national government.   
In the present scenario there are another two institutions to investigate fraud and bribes namely the FCID and the Special presidential Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribes or Corruption.   

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