Corruption-combating committees galore

Friday, 13 February 2015 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Cabinet nod for special Secretariat to probe large-scale malpractices, to propose prevention mechanisms
  • Financial crimes unit under IGP to probe money laundering
  • Hakeem to appoint committee to redress grievances of 68,000 families earmarked for relocation under Colombo beautification plan, ministerial body to oversee 
  • Food Ministry gets separate committee, voluntary organisations to assist

Cabinet gave the green light yesterday to establish a new secretariat for investigating large-scale corruption, allegedly committed by the previous Government. The proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was signed off by the Cabinet and details plans to empower the secretariat to take legal action against corruption. The new body will also make recommendations to close existing loopholes to prevent similar malfunctions taking place in the future, the Cabinet paper noted. In addition, approval was given to establish a Financial Crimes Investigation Division under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police (IGP). “This is mostly to deal with money laundering charges, which we suspect of having taken place,” acting Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Kiriella told the media. The Financial Crimes Unit will be established under an ordinance that will be gazette by the IGP under Clause 55 of the Police Ordinance. Initiating perhaps the largest policy accountability framework, the Cabinet also approved a committee to investigate 68,000 families that had been earmarked to be relocated under the Colombo City Development project carried out under the purview of former Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The committee will be appointed by Urban Development Minister Rauf Hakeem and will make recommendations on addressing oversights as well as expediting payments of compensation. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, State Minister Rosy Senanayake and Highways and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne will form a separate committee that will oversee the committee listening to the grievances of the 68,000 families. Food Security Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera also submitted a Cabinet paper seeking a special committee to investigate corruption cases within institutions under his purview. This committee too will be granted powers to take legal action against alleged corruption. “Since many volunteer organisations have volunteered to investigate allegations of corruption it was also decided to find out the possibility of obtaining their voluntary professional services for the activities of the committee,” the Cabinet paper noted. (UJ)

 Ranil’s and Basil’s Economic Ministries are worlds apart: Harsha

    Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday declared that the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs of the present Government and the Ministry of Economic Development of the previous regime were worlds apart in terms of waste, corruption and fraud. He made this comment while addressing the staff yesterday at the new premises of the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs at the Miloda Building in Fort. Dr. de Silva said that the people of this country had learned from the media that the Ministry of Economic Development of the previous Government was the “centre of corruption across the country, be it large or small projects.” The Deputy Minister also said: “Today the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs is headed by our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who will not tolerate such activities and I, on my part, will never leave room for any corruption within the new Ministry.” Dr. de Silva stressed that if any officer were to commit an act of such nature, he or she would be dealt with severely.