Laws needed to tackle private sector graft - Bribery DG | Daily News

Laws needed to tackle private sector graft - Bribery DG

 Bribery Commission Director General Sarath Jayamanne emphasised the importance of expanding the scope of corruption probes even to the private sector.

He said there is no proper discussion in the public domain to make private sector responsible for bribery or corruption offences in Sri Lanka. He was speaking at an event organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held in Colombo recently.

According to Jayamanne, the United Nations Convention against corruption review team who paid a visit to Sri Lanka recently, noted that the team has revealed that Sri Lanka’s law is silent with regards to private sector corruption. The team has recommended that Sri Lanka needs to take immediate measures to tackle corruption offences with regards to the private sector as well.

In 1994, Sri Lanka introduced a new offence called ‘corruption’ targeting the public sector; however private sector has been omitted in that offence.

“There was no public outcry; there was no demand especially from the private sector, so there was need to amend the law. If the law needs to be amended, there must be some kind of deliberation that should come from the public domain in order to expand the scope of the corruption charges even to the private sector.

In the Bribery and Corruption Act, there is a secrecy clause, which says you can’t divulge anything what the Bribery Commission is doing. If details are divulged, it would be considered as a criminal offence.

However, the moment the person is caught accepting the bribe, the person has to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours. Once the person is produced to the magistrate, the entire country comes to know about him. With regards to corruption, we can’t arrest someone within 24 hours.”

Commenting on the role of Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Jayamanne noted that FCID is not vested with powers to conduct investigations into bribery and assets declaration and corruption charges.

However according to him there are other offences under the penal code such

as criminal misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery which can be investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as well as FCID. Noting that bribery commission is not in a position to prove bribery, corruption or not even asset management incidents as bribery commission doesn’t have the power to conduct money laundering incidents, Jayamanne further said the FCID is however vested with powers to conduct money laundering investogations in Sri Lanka” These monies are not kept in Sri Lanka and we don’t have jurisdiction to enter and see the bank accounts of another country. To this end, Sri Lanka is required to enter into a mutual assistance program with the respective countries to discover money stashed in foreign accounts.

Jayamanne termed bribery as a primary offence while corruption as a wide offence. 


 

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