Sri Lanka appoints new chief to bribery office

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed Dilkurshi Dias Wickremasinghe, as director general of Sri Lanka’s bribery commission.

Observers say she has earned a reputation for being firm while at Sri Lanka’s Attorney General’s department.

The bribery commission, set up by President Chandrika Kumaranatunga in the 1990s has come under fire for catching only small fry.

Observers say for the secretariat of the commission to launch an investigation, a majority of its commissioners have to approve a probe, which has been a stumbling block for its activities.

In addition Sri Lanka also no longer has permanent secretaries for ministeries, which has crippled a public service that was independent under British rule and until the enactment of the 1971 and 1972 constitutions.

The new administration is expected to re-establish a constitutional council, which was scrapped by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but it is not clear whether the remedy will be as successful as the institution of permanent secretaries.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa also brought the Attorney General’s department under him taking it away from Justice Ministry. President Sirisena has reversed the decision.

Permanent secretaries could refuse to carry out wrong or illegal orders of an elected ruler and survive, but after a civil service commission was made powerless, senior state officials either had to carry out wrong orders to survive, or resign.

Senior public servants who try to do the correct thing is usually sent to the ‘pool’ by the elected ruling class.
 

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