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Book thrown at Sri Lanka officials over year-end gifts

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main anti-graft body Tuesday drew attention to the Establishments Code which prohibited public servants from accepting gifts in any shape or form amid a controversy over year-end hampers.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption said paragraph three of the EC expressly prohibited an officer or his or her family members accepting such Christmas or New Year hampers.

"An officer ora member of his family shall not accept any presents, gifts, or other benefit other than the ordinary gifts of relatives and personal friends, whether in a direct or indirect form, and whether in the shape of money, goods, free passages, services, unusual discounts on the cost of goods supplied or services rendered etc," according to the EC.

Officials recalled that former chief justice Shirani Bandaranayake was “impeached" by the Rajapaksa administration for, among other things, getting a five percent discount on the sticker price of an apartment for her sister.

Bribery commission officials said they lacked the staff to carry out wide-spread raids this year, but did not rule out targeted operations to arrest known offenders such as police, customs and excise officials.

Private companies are known to have taken note of the bribery commission’s latest statements on the legality of giving year-end gifts to public officials as the local media warned of arrests of both givers and receivers of hampers.  (see related story here)(COLOMBO, December 22, 2015)

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