- Death Penalty useless if law and order not implemented, says Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne
By Skandha Gunasekara
Parliament yesterday voted in favour of the Bribery (Amendment) Bill allowing fraud or corruption cases to be heard in the High Courts. Opening the Second Reading debate on the Bribery (Amendment) Bill, UNP MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne told Parliament that the amendment would significantly help with meting out penalties in proportion to the instance of fraud or corruption.
“At present, cases of fraud or corruption can only be heard in the Magistrate courts. This limits the penalties that can be imposed on crimes, especially serious large scale cases of fraud or corruption. This amendment allows such cases to be heard in the High Courts as well, allowing stricter penalties to be imposed on the convicted,” he said.
However, Dr. Wickramaratne pointed out that were still shortcomings with regards to the functions and efficiency of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).
Referring to the internationally recognised principals for anti-corruption agencies, Dr. Wickramaratne said that CIABOC lacked one such principle, namely the Authority over Human Resources.
“According to the internationally recognised principals for anti-corruption agencies, an anti-corruption agency shall have the power to recruit and dismiss their staff according to internal clear and transparent procedures. However, this is not the case in Sri Lanka and our CIABOC.”
He said that in Sri Lanka, CIABOC was considered a State agency, and that this undermined its independency.
“The Constitutional Council should intervene and rectify this issue,” he said.
Stressing on the need to have a proper system in place to investigate and apprehend criminals, Dr. Wickramaratne also pointed out that there was no point in reintroducing the death penalty if rules and regulations in place are not implemented properly.
Reiterating a ruling given by the South African Constitutional Court, he said that the greatest deterrent to crime was the likelihood that offenders would be apprehended, convicted and punished.
“A famous ruling given by the South African Constitutional Court states that the greatest deterrent to crime is not the death penalty, but the likelihood that offenders would be apprehended, convicted and punished. I believe this very much applied to Sri Lankan law and order as well.”
Furthermore, he said that the death penalty should not be adopted as Sri Lanka is a civilised country and that proper implementation of the legal process could curtail crime.
“We shouldn’t adopt the death penalty, not because of fears of losing the GSP Plus, but because Sri Lanka is a civilised country and the proper implementation of the law would see that the death penalty is unnecessary. Whether it be fraud, corruption, rape, child abuse, the law must implemented, and detections and investigations carried out properly,” he said.