President Maithripala Sirisena this week said that during the last three years, Sri Lanka has taken several important steps to break the link between power and corruption in the country.
He made this statement at the Open Government Partnership Global (OPG) Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The Global Session was chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze with the participation of presidents, prime ministers, speakers, ministers and other representatives from 75 member countries. The Open Government Partnership is a mechanism formed to enhance transparency and accountability to the public and people’s participation in governance.
President Sirisena spoke at the Session under the theme, “How the decisions taken at the OGP could be used for the welfare and benefit of the people of the member countries?”
The President, expressing his views further regarding the steps that have been taken by Sri Lanka to promote the principles of Open Government Partnership, said that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was introduced within a few months of assuming office by him and it became a key factor that strengthened transparency, accountability and the rule of law in the country. With the passage of this important constitutional amendment, the open government partnership with the executive, legislature and judiciary was transformed to yield progressive benefits.
Prior to that, the Chief Justice, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General and the Commission officials were appointed at the discretion of the President, but today all those appointments are made through a statutory committee appointed by the Parliament, the President said.
President Sirisena said that at the time when he assumes the office of the President the judicial system was corrupted due to the political interferences and the present Government took steps to protect the independence of the judiciary.
All the Commissions, including the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, have been strengthened and they operate as independent and impartial institutions without the interference from anyone, the President further said.
Any politician or Government officer should use their vested powers at a minimal level personally and should use it collectively, the President said. He added that the Government is taking steps to apprise the Government officials through workshops and seminars in this regard, and to educate the public about how the power of the civil society be used to eliminate fraud and corruption.
Sri Lanka was offered membership of the Open Government Partnership in 2015, following the election of President Maithripala Sirisena, whose commitment to fight corruption gained international attention.
The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from Governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
President Sirisena will also attend the Closing Plenary of the Open Government Partnership Global Summit today before leaving the Georgian capital later in the evening.
Leaders of Georgia and Sri Lanka pay attention on strengthening bilateral ties
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was on a three-day visit to Georgia to participate in the Open Govt. Partnership Global Summit in Georgia and the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili met in Tbillisi to discuss bilateral relations on Wednesday.
President Maithripala Sirisena, paying attention to ways to strengthen the economic ties, said they should take them to a new directions and assured that the officials will be given proper instructions regarding further conducting discussions regarding such matters.
The main livelihood of Georgia, where 4.7 million people live is agriculture. The tourism industry too is massively contributing to the economy of the country. Both the leaders were especially considering on developing the ties in the fields of agriculture and tourism.
There are many Sri Lankan students receiving education in Georgia and discussions were held on how to uplift their facilities.
The Georgian President assured Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena that Georgia is willing to strengthen the bonds between the two countries in every aspect. President Maithripala Sirisena and other members of the delegation joined a special luncheon hosted by the Georgian President in honour of the Sri Lankan President.