ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena’s attack on independent commissions and undermining probes on crimes and frauds committed during the last regime is not acceptable and is a challenge to voters who brought him to power, an opposition party has said.
A speech by President Sirisena questioned whether the police criminal investigation department, the financial crimes investigation unit and a bribery commission was acting on a ‘political agenda’.
President Sirisena reprimanded the secretaries and heads of independent commissions for carrying out their work without keeping him informed.
The President said holding military officers who have been implicated in the abduction and disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a citizen, amounted to a violation of the suspeccts’ human rights.
"The President seems to have challenged the wishes of 6.2 million people who voted for good governance and democracy on January 08, against the fraud, corruption and criminal acts during the Rajapaksa regime," the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna, an opposition party, said in a statement.
"Making statements to discourage investigations into frauds, corruptions and crimes, and to undermine the institutions is going against the spirit of the mandate of the people."
"It will also make those who were involved in large scale frauds and criminal activities happy, and encourage their false accusations against institutions that are involved in investigations."
"At present, allegations of corruption are also levelled against members of the present regime.
"Scaring away investigators also allows those who are planning to do frauds to continue."
Although independent commissions may not be perfect, an institution made up of many members was far better than one controlled by a single individual and was also good for democracy, the JVP said.
The JVP reminded the president that the independent institutions were a response to calls by civil society groups and the people, and was a central theme of the 19th amendment to the constitution.
"Therefore, belittling members of the independent commissions saying they did not know governance cannot be accepted," the JVP said.