Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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Eran proposes vital first step to eliminate corruption in politics


By Gamini Abeywardane

Samagi Jana Balawegaya Member of Parliament, Eran Wickramaratne through a private members bill, has presented a very timely and forthright proposal which will address the core issue of corruption in the country.

Wickramaratne in a Twitter post says he presented this bill in furtherance of public interest seeking to amend the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law No.01 of 1975 echoing the demands for change and accountability.

According to him first, it seeks to remove the archaic secrecy provisions within the Act to keep it in line with the obligations of disclosure under the Right to Information Act and the principle of maximum disclosure.

Second, he says the bill seeks to ensure that electoral candidates will submit Asset Declaration’s with their nomination papers.

Third, the bill has included the country’s President also in the list of individuals to whom this law applies. Currently there is no requirement for the President to declare assets.  

Fourth, the bill ensures that asset declarations are routinely examined and verified at a central authority – the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).

Fifth, the bill supports law enforcement to pursue asset recovery in the case of stolen assets. This has been specifically included to address the demands from the Aragalaya to recover stolen assets.

Wickramaratne says that if we are to eliminate or minimise corruption, the example needs to be set by the executive arm of the government. He calls upon all present and past Presidents, Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers to join him in voluntarily making a public declaration of assets and liabilities.

This is a vital initiative to bring about the transparency and accountability which is a key demand of the Aragalaya and all other right thinking and honest people who want to see a better Sri Lanka.

These reforms, if ever introduced, will restore some confidence in the system of government we have. However it is doubtful whether the move will garner support from the current set of corrupt politicians


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