Commission of Inquiry Act awaits Parliament sanction | Daily News


Commission of Inquiry Act awaits Parliament sanction

Over 30 Commission reports in CIABOC gathering dust:

Bribery Commission (CIABOC) Director General, Sarath Jayamanne PC yesterday hoped that Parliament would take up the proposed amendments to the Commission of Inquiry Act soon to quicken the pace of investigations into Presidential Commission Inquiry reports.

CIABOC Commissioner, Justice W.L.R.Silva at the First Implementation Review Cycle of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNAC) in September this year said there are over 30 Commission reports in CIABOC which need investigation.

Jayamanne told the Daily News that according to the existing Act, CIABOC had no power under the existing law to look into Presidential Commission of Inquiry reports and to consider evidentiary material in them to file cases against those charged.

“If we were to file a case, we have to re-summon all the witnesses in all the cases. It affects investigations, witnesses can change their statements and it would be hugely time consuming causing further delays,” Jayamanne said.

Amendments to the Commission of Inquiry Act had thus proposed to empower CIABOC to directly use evidence from Presidential Inquiry reports to file cases against suspects, save time and remove the need to keep summoning witnesses all over again.

Amendments have been approved by the Legal Draftsman, the Attorney General’s Office and the Parliament Oversight Committee on the subject.It was taken up for debate on two days and only four speakers spoke but later postponed, the Director General said.

It was to be taken up for debate in Parliament on October 25 but it was postponed again. No date for it has been fixed as of yet, he added.

CIABOC in the meantime is also expected to introduce proposed amendments to all its Acts including the CIABOC Act and Asset Declaration Act in its National Action Plan in the next two months.

Amendments to the Asset Declaration Act in particular is proposed to introduce an online system for government officers to update their financial records whenever a large income or expenditure is, instead of annual submission within 15 days of the transaction, Jayamanne said.

It also proposes to set up a Central Authority at CIABOC for collection and verification of Asset Declaration information and once verification of information is done it would alert the commissioners of any suspicious activity.



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