- Commission will cover period between Jan. 2015 to Dec. 2018
- Retired SC judge will head five member Commission
- Probe will cover acts of corruption, fraud, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of property, cheating and abuse or misuse of power or authority, state resources and privileges
- Interim report required within three month & final report within six months
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday appointed a new anti-corruption Commission covering the period 15 January 2015 to 31 December 2018, a move that is likely to widen the existing rift between him and the UNP-led Government. The appointment of the five-member Commission was announced yesterday, while the President is away on an official visit to the Philippines.
The Gazette notification announcing the appointment of the Commission said that a large number of serious complaints and allegations had been made against persons who had held or continue to hold political office, and those who have been or continue to be public servants and officers of statutory bodies, regarding acts of corruption, fraud, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of property, cheating and abuse or misuse of power or authority, State resources, and privileges, during the period 15 January 2015 to 31 December 2018.
Hence, the President is of the opinion that it is in the interest of public security and welfare to investigate and inquire into such complaints, allegations, and information, in order to determine what measures should be taken to ensure that the law is appropriately enforced and wrongdoers dealt with in terms of the law, and that there will be no recurrence of such alleged acts, amounting to offences and abuse or misuse of power or authority.
It is authorised and empowered to conduct, or cause the conduct of, necessary criminal and forensic investigations and inquiries, and hold public and/ or confidential inquires as may be necessary.
The members of the Commission are: Retired Judge of the Supreme Court Upali Abeyrathne (Chairman), Retired Judge of the High Court Sarojini Kusala Weerawardane, Retired Auditor General P. A. Pemathilaka, Retired Ministry Secretary Lalith R. de Silva and Retired Deputy Inspector General M. K. D. Wijaya Amarasinghe.
The Commission is required to present an interim report within three months, subsequent Interim Reports once a month, and the Final Report within six months.
The terms of reference of the Commission are:
To call for and receive public complaints, information and other material relating to serious allegations against persons who have held or continue to hold political office, those who have been or continue to be public servants and officers of statutory bodies, regarding acts of corruption, fraud, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of property, cheating, and abuse or misuse of power, State resources, and privileges, which allegedly occurred during the period of 15 January 2015 to 31 December 2018 and have resulted in serious loss or damages to State assets and State revenue.
To conduct prompt, impartial, comprehensive investigations and inquiries into complaints, information and such allegations.
To identify persons who have been or are responsible in terms of the law for committing such offences, acts of wrongdoing, and abuse or misuse of power or authority, State resources, and privileges.
To identify and collect evidence available with regard to such offences and acts of wrongdoings and against persons responsible for having committed offences connected with such incidents and wrongdoing.
To identify which of the acts coming within the ambit of matters referred should be forwarded to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption or to the Police or to any other law enforcement authority or statutory body for the conduct of necessary investigations an inquiries with the view to instituting criminal proceedings against persons alleged to have committed the said offences.
To transmit to the Attorney General investigational and inquiry material, enabling the Attorney General to consider the institution of criminal proceedings against persons alleged to have committed the said offences and prosecute the accused.
To present recommendations of the Commission regarding what action if any, should be taken against those held responsible for having committed offences and acts of wrongdoing and recommendations aimed at preventing the occurrence of such offences and acts of wrongdoing in the future.