Bribery commission is underperforming

Bribery commission is underperforming

According to the Auditor General’s Department, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) performed poorly in 2021 and 2022.

In 2021, the Commission completed 69 cases, but 40 of them (58%) were withdrawn. Accused individuals were found innocent in 18 cases and convicted in only 11 cases.

In 2022, the Commission filed 89 cases and withdrew 45 of them for various reasons. It had sued again only for 20 of those cases at the time of auditing.

As of December 31, 2021, there were 1,508 pending files in the legal branch of the Commission. A total of 489 out of these were cases older than five years while 33 were over 10 years.

As of December 31, 2022, there were 926 pending files and their time analysis was not submitted for audit.

Cabinet approval was granted for the National Action Plan for Combating Bribery and Corruption in Sri Lanka on February 5, 2019, and implementation of its activities began on March 18, 2019. Although nearly 3 ½ years have elapsed, 11 out of the 27 activities have not been implemented.

The Bribery Commission is also woefully understaffed. There were 36 vacancies in senior-level positions, 203 tertiary-level positions, 158 secondary-level positions, and 56 primary-level positions. There were 15 vacancies for investigation staff.

The Auditor General’s Department has recommended that the CIABOC take steps to address these issues and improve its performance.

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