'Battle Against Corruption Is Corrupt'- Full Text Of The Controversial Cabinet Paper

The joint-Cabinet paper presented by four ministers seeking details of the ongoing corruption investigations had said, "the battle against corruption itself was corrupt".

The Cabinet paper was presented by ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Sarath Fonseka and Arjuna Ranatunga.

President Maithripala Sirisena, however, vetoed the Cabinet paper last week, saying he would give a separate meeting to the four ministers to discuss the matter. 

The full text of the controversial joint cabinet paper is as follows,

“1) On January 08, 2015, the people of the country voted for a new President and a new government with the aim of establishing rule of law, curbing bribery and corruption, establishing democracy, justice and equality.

2) Such aspirations of the people were reiterated at the Parliamentary election on August 17, 2015.

3) Although 16 months have elapsed after the establishment of the good governance government, the public still has doubts over the government’s will to fulfill their expectations in terms of battling bribery and corruption.

4) Law enforcement bodies have failed to conclude investigations into large-scale bribery and corruption allegations leveled against top-brass members of the previous regime. We were the ones who convinced the public that the previous administration was corrupt to the core. Unfortunately, under our own administration, we have failed to file action against those who were heavily involved in bribery and corruption under the previous regime.

5) As a result, the public is now under the impression that the present government too endorses the alleged acts of corruption committed by some members of the previous regime. This also gives rise to the speculation that the present administration has no qualms about ‘cooperating’ and hobnobbing with corrupt elements linked with the previous administration. The civil society groups now claim that the battle against corruption is corrupt!

6) Secondly, the law enforcement mechanism’s inaction leads to the speculation that we resorted to lies and unsubstantiated allegations during our campaign to topple the previous regime. This challenges the ‘ideological base’ of the current government.

7) Thirdly, this will play into the hands of those who claim that the government’s battle against corruption is an act of political revenge. Even at this point, the most vociferous campaigners against the government are the ones who are directly responsible for large-scale corrupt deals and misappropriation.

This allows them to dub any anti-corruption investigation as a revengeful act against their so-called political activism.

8) At the same time, this lethargic approach may plunge the genuine supporters of the government into an embarrassing situation. It will also bring their public image and reputation into question.

If the present trend continues, it will turn the collective action against corruption before the last Presidential election into a farce.

9) It is all too evident that, during the period between 2013 and 2014, the economic growth of the country was ‘concentrated’ in the hands of a few powerful figures.Recent international statistics have pointed out that the country has lost nearly USD 20 billion as a result of illegal money transactions. The current government is burdened with their sins and the government makes tough decisions to deal with this situation, it, in return, affects the popularity of the government.

10) It is farcical that those who were instrumental in creating this precarious economic situation are now shedding crocodile tears about the people’s tax burden!

11) We should admit that the meticulous manner in which the top-notch members of the previous carried out their acts of corruption had complicated the investigation process. As a result of this understanding, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, on January 21, 2015, presented a Cabinet paper to set up a special tribunal in line with the UN anti-corruption charter. We regretfully inform you that none of its proposals materialised on the ground.

Therefore,

* The Cabinet of ministers requests details and follow-up action on every complaint lodged by the civil society groups with various government bodies looking into bribery and corruption. We also wish to know the legal status and background relating to the progress of those investigations.

* The cabinet of also requests details about the progress of the work carried out by the institutions attached to the Sri Lanka Police and other other commissions, including the Presidential Commission.

* The cabinet requests details about action taken by the Attorney General’s Department in relation to the said investigations.

We also propose to take a collective action to expedite and fast track the functioning of the law enforcement process in this regard.”

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