Facts to Warsaw Conference
United Nations Conference on Anti-corruption Measures,
Good Governance and Human Rights
The Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) officially accredited to participate in the
United Nations Conference on Anti-corruption Measures, Good Governance and Human Rights in Warsaw, Poland
8-9 November 2006
Conférence des Nations Unies sur les Mesures Anti-Corruption,
la Bonne Gouvernance et les Droits de l’Homme
Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre Medidas Anticorrupción,
Buen Gobierno y Derechos Humanos
Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
Centre Tamoul pour les droits de l'Homme - CTDH
Centro Tamil para los Derechos Humanos
(Established in 1990)
Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
Centre Tamoul pour les droits de l'Homme - CTDH
Centro Tamil para los Derechos Humanos
(Established in 1990)
Website : www.tchr.net
9, rue des Peupliers
95140 - Garges les Gonesse
Email : email@example.com
Fax : + 33 - 1 – 42 67 54 36
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom
Corruption, the bane of Sri Lanka 05
SRI LANKA- Anti-Corruption NGO Fears Misuse of Funds 06
Large scale corruption in state institutions 07
Bribery and Corruption Commission
Significant increase registered in bribery cases during 2004 08
2004 Tsunami Crisis – Impact on Sri Lanka 09
Post Tsunami relief and reconstruction - on who did what, where, at what cost?
Millions of Tsunami funds embezzled- Bribery Commission 11
Q & A: Corruption and aid
Dossier on fraudulent deals handed over to President`s Secretary 13
Policeman in bribery net
Stastistics on violations (1956-2006) 17
Human rights and Humanitarian situation in the NorthEast
Amparai 18 Batticaloa
Internally Displaced Persons
Mutur East 21
Verugal/Eachilampattu Mutur West
Morawewa – Pankulam, Shanthipuram, Nochchikulam
Muttur South 22
Trincomalee village and environments
Tsunami disaster in the island of Sri Lanka 23
08 November 2006
UN Conference on Anti-Corruption Measures,
Good Governance & Human Rights
Republic of Poland
Your Excellency and Distinguished Delegates,
Respect for Human Rights and a Corruption-free society are the mirrors of good governance. Corruption misuses the public interest for individual benefits. The use of influence and patronage to accomplish certain tasks, eventually ends up with institutionalised bribery. Here the rule of law is ignored by law enforcement authorities due to political influence which leads to financial and material gain, and well organised dishonesty in bureaucracy. Behind the scene of corruption, lie many illegal activities including money laundering, drug trafficiking, sex industries and so forth. There are states that permit the practice of corruption in politics and in civil administration, with impunity.
Many politicians from developing countries choose politics as a career to gain financial benefits. They also need huge amounts of money for their political campaigns. Corrupt businessmen fund these politicians in return for long term personal benefits. This creates confusion in society, which eventually leads to widespread dishonesty and corruption in many countries.
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life, liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.
Corruption and the violation of human rights cannot produce good governance. The word "democracy" tripping glibly from politicians' tongues does not mean good governance. In reality, good governance requires that society be free of both corruption and violations. Failure of all these fundamental principles in the rule of law is a failure to govern well.
Our organisation, established in 1990 is concerned with human rights violations in countries all over the world, but presently our focus is on Sri Lanka, due to the deteriorating human rights situation there.
The island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), colonised by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British became independent in 1948. This was when corruption and the violation of human rights began, resulting in Sri Lanka’s stark and well-known absence of good governanace.
Some details of corruption are given in the English, Tamil and Singhalese media in Sri Lanka. Several government officials – civil servants, members of law enforcement agencies, politicians – Ministers and Parliamentarians have been involved in corruption and bribery scandals. Members of successive governments since independence have been involved in misusing state funds for their personal use. They have also diverted development funds donated by foreign governments and institutions to purchase arms and amunitions to suppress the struggle for the right to self-determination of the Tamil Nation.
* Last year, even the funds donated soon after the Tsunami disaster, by foreign governments and institutions have not reached the actual victims. There is ample evidence that this money has been used for the benefits of the ruling government politicians.
* Since independence, ruling governments have used the “state of emergency” for more than thirty-five years, as one of their weapons. The draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) introduced in 1979 gives unlimited powers to the security forces, who have consistently violated human rights with impunity.
* Soon after independence, racist policies were implemented on citizenship, language, education, land and other areas, discriminating severely against the Tamil people in the island.
* As far as the right to self-determination of the people in the North East is concerned, the very basics of good governance have been absent for more than half a century. Furthermore, the Sri Lanka government continues to refuse to accept the democratic mandate of the people clearly voiced in the general election results of 1977 and 2004. This is the disastrous history.
* For many years, reports on Sri Lanka by UN Special rapporteurs and treaty bodies have recorded massive and chilling human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan state.
* In 1998, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances stated that, "Sri Lanka had the second highest number of disappearances in the world".
* Due to Sri Lankan state terrorism : over 79,000 Tamil people have been killed or “disappeared”; more than 12,500 women raped and killed; more than 2500 buildings religious places of worship (Churches and Temples) have been destroyed in aerial bombings and artillery shelling and billions of rupees worth of material damage has been caused.
* As a result of well planned ethnic cleansing by the Sinhala State over many decades, nearly 800,000 people have been internally displaced in the North East and more than 500,000 Tamils have sought political asylum in Europe and other countries.
* Within the last ten months, nearly 1250 Tamils including humanitarian workers, journalists, parliamentarian, academics and others have been abducted and killed in the North East and the other parts of the Island. There is an economic embargo to the North East and the people in those areas, especially in Jaffna are on the verge of starvation and death and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.
In the second session of the UN Human Rights Council on 18 September 2006, Ms Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her introductory speech to the Council said, "………At present, several cases of killings and disappearances are reported each day in the Jaffna area. Since April 2006, some 240,000 people have been newly displaced from their homes, in addition to the hundreds of thousands who were forced to flee during earlier stages of the conflict as well as by the tsunami. Restrictions on humanitarian access have been imposed by both sides, worsening the vulnerability of these populations. ……….The Government's public commitment to investigate these crimes, including the killings of 17 humanitarian workers of Action Contre la Faim, is welcome. In too many cases, however, investigations have failed to produce results and victims have been denied justice and redress."
On 20 October 2006, in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York, Prof Philip Alston, the Special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings said, "Today the alarm is sounding for Sri Lanka. It is on the brink of a crisis of major proportions. Sadly, the world seems to think that the dramatic attacks of recent days and the spiraling number of extrajudicial executions are just one more episode in a long-running saga. There is a perception that Sri Lanka is not so much on the brink of a new crisis but, instead, only in the midst of an interminable and intractable crisis that has already exhausted its fair share of international attention…………… The issue was placed squarely before the Human Rights Council last month, but the signals are that any action the Council might take in November will do very little to make a difference as this tragic situation swells and threatens to reach bursting point. What can and should be done? "
Sri Lanka has enjoyed long years of an entrenched “culture of impunity”. This has been clearly indicated in UN reports and recently also by the High Commissioner for Human rights. In the recent past, Sri Lanka’s attitude towards the United Nations, its Secretary Generals and some International NGOs has been disturbing. Sri Lanka adamantly refuses to accept any scrutiny by the United Nations.
On 7th January 2005, the UN Secretary General made a humanitarian visit to Sri Lanka to see the Tsunami affected areas. When Kofi Annan requested to visit the North East, the area most affected by the tsunami, the Sri Lankan authorities deliberately prevented him from making a humanitarian visit there. This is a serious violation of the UN Charter, Chapter XV Article 100. Refusing the visit by the Secretary General, reveals a blatantly antagonistic method of hiding the truth from the International Community.
With such a record, how could one possibly consider that good governance exists in Sri Lanka?
For there to be good governance in a country, first of all the people should at least have their basic needs met - water, food, shelter and fundamental political rights.
While we write this appeal, on 2 November, a hospital in Kilinochchi in the North was bombed by the Sri Lankan Air Force Kfir jets. In this aerial bombing, six people were killed and many injured. Also hundreds of patients warded in the hospital were forced to evacuate the buildings.
Mr. Chairperson, in Sri Lanka, there is an urgent need to pay attention to the humanitarian needs of the people, especially in the North East, an it is imperative that international law be adhered to.
We are well aware that this conference does not have the mandate to take any decision against any state where corruption and violations of human rights are rife. But the participants of this conference – you as Chairperson and members of state delegations could raise the alarm about the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka in the other UN forums. It is especially pertinent to do so at this time when the UN Special Rapporteur rang the alarm bell with regard to Sri Lanka, in the UN General Assembly just over two weeks ago.
This conference could contribute to the raising of awareness of those states who are reluctant to acknowledge, and take action, on the serious humanitarian and human rights disaster in Sri Lanka.
S. V. Kirubaharan
General Secretary - TCHR
Corruption, the bane of Sri Lanka
Thursday, 17 February 2005
Causing much worry amongst concerned people, Dagens Nyheter, the Swedish daily published from Stockholm, Sweden, carried, on Friday 11 February 2005, an unusually lengthy front page article (it covered much of pages 1, 18 and 19) titled `Corruption that gobbles up foreign aid` which dealt with corruption in Sri Lanka.
The article discussed the endemic problem of corruption in Sri Lanka. It says that corruption has become so widespread that it renders consequences for every individual of the country. But it says that corruption affects the poor more than any other group of society. The rich and the powerful, on the other hand, are the one`s who benefit from it. Therefore, it says that `corruption and poverty are two ends of the same stick` and that `corruption constitutes the poverty trap of the country`.
Sri Lanka has, according to the article, the world`s largest government with `about ninety ministers`, some of whom have become millionaires, only months after assuming office. Then, it says, `It does not matter whom the people elect to political office, the party in power buys off the MPs and other political heavyweights from other parties, offering them ministerial or other top posts within the government` This, the journalists say, accounts for the watered down democracy of Sri Lanka. Thus, they argue that the public sector of Sri Lanka is corrupt all the way from the top down.
The article further says that it is not only the people who hold top notch posts in the government who are corrupt. `Much of the administration and the bureaucracy are corrupt as well,`. Then it says that corruption has become so endemic that over 75% of the people seem to believe that bribery is the normal way of doing things in Sri Lanka.
It is not just the journalists who point out the need to uproot corruption from the land. Even University academics (in particular, the social scientists) are pointing out the need to give this issue serious consideration. They argue that corruption is one major precursor of economic retardation and social underdevelopment of Sri Lanka.
According to a study conducted by Transparency International, Sri Lanka ranks amongst the countries in the bottom half (together with Bangladesh and Zaire), as a nation that suffers from corruption.
According to some studies, the police force of Sri Lanka is the most corrupt. Almost 40% of the respondents of the studies have maintained that the officers of the law and order are the most corrupt in the land. The irony of the situation is that the people who have as their occupation to maintain the law and order in the land are the ones who are most corrupt.
It has been reported that a man who went to a police station to lodge a complaint against a certain small-town bureaucrat who had asked him for a bribe had, in order to lodge the complaint and retrieve a copy of it, to pay the police officer a handsome bribe. It has also been reported that a policeman of a small town was paid by a businessman with the understanding that the policeman would beat up and chase out of the town a rival of the businessman. Thus, corruption is not only a commercial transaction: it also tangents on criminality.
According to the findings, the public health sector is another one that is highly corrupt. Most minor functionaries in hospitals and dispensaries take bribes when treating patients and/or dispensing medicine.
Another sector that is corrupt is the education sector. It is widely known in Sri Lanka that most principals, vice principals and other key functionaries of prestigious schools take bribes when admitting students to their schools. Corruption seems to be prevalent even at classroom levels. Sri Lanka needs to emerge from a watered down democracy, where law and order have not been upheld and the officers responsible for maintaining law and order are prone to taking bribes from the downtrodden masses of the nation, including the tsunami victims.
Every politician who fattens him/herself and/or secures his/her party-political position with the funds that have been allocated for the poor (including those that have been allocated for the tsunami victims) must be made accountable for his/her actions. Sri Lanka needs to redeem itself from corruption.
SRI LANKA- Anti-Corruption NGO Fears Misuse of Funds
by Clive Freeman
BERLIN, Apr 12 (IPS) - Transparency International (TI), a global non-governmental organisation battling world-wide corruption, has spoken of the risks of large-scale donor funds for Sri Lankan reconstruction being misallocated.
The Berlin-based TI says, unless ”safeguards” are built into tender procedures, there is a danger of money ending up in the pockets of dishonest politicians and regional power-brokers.
Eigen, who heads TI's International Secretariat in Berlin, said the manner in which funds for Sri Lanka's reconstruction are to be managed must conform to best practices in terms of good governance and transparency.
”The international community has a particular obligation to be fully transparent in its aid procedures,” he continued, adding that the government of Sri Lanka must ensure that funds received go to ”reducing poverty, and improving health, education and vital infrastructure projects.”
”Otherwise, the intended effect of this aid will not be met and the Sri Lankan people will be the losers, because they will have to pay back the loans,” he said.
Eigen's warnings are poignant, for they come at a moment when international controversy has been fuelled over reports that Washington has begun negotiating with companies in countries ”loyal” to the U.S.-British war effort in Iraq, regarding huge reconstruction projects in that region.
Gopa Krishnan, TI's Berlin-based Asian department director, says they also come in the wake of recent disclosures in Sri Lanka, suggesting that 70 per cent of foreign aid received in that country since independence ”has never reached the intended beneficiaries”.
TI, he says, is urging the government of Sri Lanka to establish clear lines of accountability for use of funds received, and also to establish transparent procedures.
TI calls on western governments and the international financial institutions to:
- Ensure that funding and lending policies are fully transparent and made public; - Include a requirement for accountability and transparency in funds or loans and obtain a statement from all parties that corruption will not be tolerated; - Make immediate plans to prepare monitoring mechanisms - where possible by citizens' groups in the country such as Transparency International Sri Lanka - to ensure that aid and investment reaches targeted projects, such as schools, hospitals and housing.
An estimated two billion dollars in grants and loans is thought to have been earmarked so far for reconstruction projects. More than 60,000 people have been killed during the 20 year conflict. (Excerpt - http://ipsnews.net/srilanka/note_0414.shtml)
Daily Mirror, Colombo, Sri Lanka - 07/03/2006
Some 68% of those in the government service appear to be involved in bribery and corruption, a top official said in a shocking disclosure.
Piyasena Ranasinghe, Director General of the Commission probing bribery or corruption told a seminar that if the increasing trend of bribery and corruption continued, it might also spark more terrorism in the country.
The three-day workshop and seminar was organized by the UNDP and the Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Ministry in Kandy from Saturday.
The workshop was held at the Mahaveli Reach Hotel to discuss the tasks of those responsible for Justice in the country.
Mr. Ranasinghe also said it was so tragic that people today were of the impression that hardly anything could be done in the government sector without offering bribes to public servants. He charged that some school principals and top police officials received bribes through third parties, and the general public hardly complained against such acts.
He said the people should be educated about the gravity of giving or accepting bribes and warned the country’s economy would be seriously affected if this trend continued.
Mr. Ranasinghe called upon the people to join hands with the media, the judiciary and civil societies to eradicate bribery and corruption from the country.
Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Secretary Malkanthi Wickremasinghe and several others also addressed the seminar.
Large scale corruption in state institutions
- Auditor General`s powers to be strengthened
Thursday, 9 March 2006
The Government yesterday pledged to strengthen the powers of the Auditor General (AG) to counter increasing corruption and funds mismanagement in the country.
The government assurance was made to Parliament yesterday by Leader of the House and senior Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva when the issue of corruption in government institutions was taken up for debate.
The AG recently released a report on large scale corruption in government institutions, the contents of which were carried in The Sunday Times newspaper on 5 March, prompting UNP MP John Amaratunga to call for an adjournment debate on the matter. The government responded with a strong pledge to strengthen the powers of the AG. MP Amaratunga said he was pleased that the AG was openly talking about corruption in the country. He said as Parliament was the supreme body responsible for public funds it had a responsibility by the people to investigate corruption and take appropriate action.
MP Amaratunga called the report a shameful indictment of the Public Service and quoting the report said that corruption was like a fast spreading cancer which plagued the highest office of the President down to the lowest office. (Excerpt - http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2006/3/5926.html)
Bribery and Corruption Commission
Appeal for greater co-operation from public
(Excerpt - The Sunday Observer, Colombo, Sri Lanka – 29 June 2003)
In an interview with the Sunday Observer the Director-General discusses the problems faced by the Commission, the shortage of staff to carry out the pending investigations and the complaints lodged by the public.
Q: I understand that due to inadequate resource personnel the Commission is unable to carry out investigations and hold inquiries into complaints made by the public. How far is it true?
A: The Commission comprises two retired judges and an expert in criminal investigations. Due to the death of one retired judge, the Commission stopped functioning and still the vacancy has not been filled. Until that vacancy is filled we can neither produce cases to both Magistrate and High Courts nor commence investigations into the cases in hand.
Q: Soliciting bribes of Senior public officials is a common trend today. Has the Commission been able to nab these senior officials and prosecute?
A: Yes. At the moment we have around 1,211 pending investigations unsolved, because the Commission does not function. Most cases are corruption-related and a number of senior government officers, senior police officers, divisional secretaries, chairmen of some institutions and even some politicians are involved.
Everyday we receive a number of complaints against government officials soliciting bribes from the public to discharge their duties but we are unable to conduct raids or direct our staff to go as decoys to nab those people because of the non-functioning of the Commission.
Q: What sort of complaints do you receive against government officials and senior police officers?
A: Usually, the complaints against police officers and politicians are of having disproportionate accumulation of incomes in a short span of time. Out of 1,211 pending investigations 663 cases are complaints of having disproportionate incomes and such type of complaints are on the rise. Likewise we have also received complaints against senior police officers of releasing suspects from the custody and soliciting bribes. Out of 1,211 cases 271 cases are bribery allegations.
Q: What sort of complaints has the Commission received against politicians and has the Commission instituted legal proceedings against them?
A: In 2001 we received 23 complaints, in the year 2002 it was 38 and in 2003 up to this month only 2. In the previous years in accordance with the law they were produced before the courts and due punishment was meted out. Accumulation of disproportionate money seems to be a growing problem and we also found that some complaints on bribery and corruption were based on personal animosity.
Q: Who are the others involved in bribery and corruption charges?
A: Officials of different professions such as income-tax assessors, technical officers, police sergeants, inspectors of work in highway construction, fiscal officers, court clerks are also involved and in the previous year some were nabbed, produced before the courts and some were sentenced to 1 to 12 years rigorous imprisonment.
Q: Political interference to State institutions has become the order of the day. Do political influence and threats affect the Bribery Commission?
A: So far we are not affected by politics because this is meant to be the place devoid of political influences and set examples to all the other both public and private sector organisations to eliminate bribery and corruption.
Significant increase registered in bribery cases during 2004
Saturday, 8 October 2005
Complaints of bribery and corruption
against officers in the Public sector registered a significant leap in 2004,
with 4626 such complaints being filed at the Bribery Commission, official
statistics have revealed.
The Annual Performance Report of the Bribery Commission for 2004, presented to Parliament this week revealed that compared to 2003 jumped 26.7 percent, with the total number of complaints standing at 4626. Of these 1878 were referred for investigation and 787 sent to the record room while 1961 were not subject to investigation the reports states.
A total of 122 officers from 28 Government institutions and Ministries including the Police Department, Armed Forces, Divisional Secretariats and Justice Ministry were arrested and produced before Courts by the Bribery Commission in 2004. Of these 48 were police officers, which is the highest number from a single department.
However investigations were concluded in only 34 cases, with 1 conviction and 11 acquittals. 291 cases were still pending in 2004. 80 cases were pending at the Magistrate`s Court, 186 at the High Court and 25 at the Court of Appeal, the report states.
2004 Tsunami Crisis – Impact on Sri Lanka
Other than Indonesia, Sri Lanka was the second hardest hit area by the tsunami. More than 30,000 people have been killed, thousands more remain missing, and almost a million people have been made homeless mainly in the southern and eastern coastal regions of the country. The worst affected districts are Jaffna, Kuchaveli, Mullativu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Hambantota, Matara and Galle.
Sri Lanka faces a hefty reconstruction bill estimated to be in the range of $1.5 Billion, since its damaged infrastructure was more developed than in many affected areas. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which accounts for about 10% of the nation’s GDP, was particularly hard hit. About one-fifth of hotels in the region have been put out of action.
Sri Lanka's economy was becoming more and more stable before the tsunami struck, buoyed by optimism surrounding the peace process after a 20-year civil war. Now, officials predict that their grown will be inhibited by the disaster. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka’s currency has not suffered thanks to large sums of foreign aid donations.
Here are some of the tsunami-related stories coming out of Sri Lanka:
- The main story that everybody has kept their eye on is the developing tensions between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels after a ceasefire about three years ago ended a bitter and bloody civil dispute – the dispute was mainly ethnic in origin between the Tamil people and the Singalese, who make up the bulk of Sri Lanka’s population. This tension has been hampering aid distributions to the Tamil Tiger-controlled north east region of the country. It was hoped that the disaster would bridge the two sides together, but it now appears that it is making them worse. One of the problem lies in the control of aid donations, where the Tamil Tigers felt that their region was not receiving enough aid, and have asked for donations to go directly to them, citing the long history of corruption in Sri Lanka’s government. The Tamil Tigers were also infuriated when the government asked United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, not to visit Tamil-controlled areas citing security issues.
- Child trafficking has emerged as a major problem in the wake of the tsunami that have left many children orphaned. As a result, Sri Lankan authorities have banned the adoption of children affected by the tsunami until further notice. (Excerpt - http://www.ringsurf.com/info/News/Tsunami/Sri_Lanka/)
Daily Mirror, Colombo, Sri Lanka - 06/02/2006
Vital information on who did what and where on the post tsunami relief and reconstruction is likely to be made public by the Government shortly.
Since the December 26, 2004 tsunami devastation, millions of dollars and other currencies (totalling to billions of rupees) have poured into the country but to date there is no accurate or proper data base of what has been done, how much money spent, by whom and where.
There is also no official data compiled on the total funds received in relation to post tsunami specific activities. The Central Bank last week disclosed that Rs. 25.48 billion was received as at December 31, 2005 by the Government, non-Governmental Organizations and others in Sri Lanka as private foreign and local donations through banking channels towards tsunami disaster relief. This figure includes Rs. 3.35 billion received by the Government mainly through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and two state commercial banks. Various multilateral donor agencies as well as countries have made official contributions, pledges and commitments too.
Tsunami tidal waves killed nearly 40,000 people and directly affected more than 800,000 people apart from destroying nearly 100,000 houses, damaging other socio-economic infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads etc in 12 coastal districts of Sri Lanka. The medium term post tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation plan envisaged a cost of US$ 3 billion.
Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera noted that a fair amount of work has been done post tsunami however there is no clear indication of how much money has been spent.
“At present there are over 500 tsunami related projects on going. At the regular donor coordination meetings the issue of how much spent and how much work has been completed are discussed. We are in the process of putting together all the available information and should have a clear idea in the next few weeks,” he said.
Dr. Jayasundera said that donors to various tsunami related projects are also keen to find out whether their contributions are properly utilized while agencies are also under pressure for accountability from their financiers.
The Government has been largely focusing on the national and district level infrastructure rehabilitation as well as cash payments with donor assistance. The bulk of the immediate post tsunami relief and reconstruction work has been undertaken by private sector, local and international NGOs. However there is consensus that most of the tsunami survivors are still languishing and the overall speed of rehabilitation and reconstruction is slow due to various reasons.
Last a week an expert panel commissioned by the UN Commission on Human Rights painted a bleak picture for Asian tsunami survivors one year after.
“Ninety per cent of the people are still living in sub-standard housing,” said Miloon Kothari, the Commission’s Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, referring to the 1.8 million to 2.5 million people displaced when the tsunami hit on 26 December 2004.
He said many people still did not have access to basic services such as water and sanitation. Mr. Kothari wrote a forward to the 64-page report, titled “Tsunami Response: A Human Rights Assessment,” that was sent to the Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy for Tsunami-affected Countries, former United States President Bill Clinton.
The Parliament late last year was told that the Government spent Rs. 8.3 billion on health and funeral expenses, provision of basic needs as well as start up allowance of Rs. 5,000 per month post tsunami. Several millions had been spent on restoring basic infrastructure as well.
The donor funded housing program is estimated to cost Rs. 13 billion. Over Rs. 4 billion had been disbursed to tsunami hit SMEs as well through banks.
WB, ADB to update today
Two of the biggest financiers of the post tsunami reconstruction, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank will today make public their assessment on the current status of tsunami and post conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka - 02/03/2006
The Commission to Investigate Allegations on Bribery and Corruption will expedite the hearing of complaints from tsunami affected people in Batticaloa and Ampara districts against corrupt Government officers.
Director Investigations of the Bribery Commission SP Neville Guruge told the Daily News that Commission officials headed by its Chairman Justice Ameer Ismail and Secretary P.A. Abeysinghe toured the Tsunami hit Batticaloa and Ampara districts from February 26.
Two investigation teams from the Commission who visited the area will investigate complaints received from residents.
"We received 10 to 12 complaints from tsunami-hit people in Kalmunai during our visit on February 27 and six to eight complaints Akkaraipattu residents," SP Guruge said.
Most complaints were against Gramasevaka officers and Fisheries officials who had solicited money from tsunami affected people to provide them with the Government approved subsidies.
"We also received complaints about officers who had taken bribes to provide subsidies for those not affected by the tsunami," he said.
"We will investigate these complaints and bring corrupt officers to book," SP Guruge said.
In December 2005, bribery sleuths arrested one Fisheries Inspector in Pottuvil who had solicited Rs.50,000 from a tsunami affected person to provide with him a boat.
Lanka-e-news, Sri Lanka - 25/02/2006
Numerous complaints have been made to the Bribery and Corruption Commission regarding embezzlement and misappropriation of local and foreign aid amounting to millions of rupees received for tsunami recovery efforts, Investigating Director of the Commission, Superintendent of Police Neville Guruge said.
He divulged this at a media briefing held in Colombo this morning and added many complaints have been received from the Northern, Eastern and the Southern provinces.
He claimed that the majority of these complaints were against Grama Niladharis and officials attached to the Divisional Secretariats.
There have been numerous occasions where Grama Niladharis had distributed tsunami aid among their associates instead of those genuinely affected by the disaster and legal action has already been constituted against 10 such Grama Niladharis, SP Guruge said.
The Legal Aid Commission has appointed legal officers to probe misappropriation of tsunami funds but they should really have been appointed a year ago in 2005, Mr. Guruge noted. However he welcomed the move as a positive sign even at this late stage.
The Investigations Director of the Bribery Commission said on the basis of information received by the Commission, action would be taken to bring the accused to the book.
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga recently stated that the Tsunami Fund has 23 billion rupees and requested President Rajapaksa to place before the people how these funds were spent. She also requested him to clear his name regarding the Helping Hambantota account.
Q & A: Corruption and aid
09 Nov 2005 - AlertNet - Emma Batha
The Indian Ocean tsunami generated a record amount of aid -- more than $11 billion -- but the enormous inflow of cash to countries like Indonesia and Sri Lanka with a history of corruption has raised fears the money could vanish into the wrong pockets.
Have cases of corruption emerged?
The highest profile case involves accusations Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse misappropriated nearly $819,000, which he denies. The inquiry is on hold pending the Nov. 17 presidential election in which Rajapakse is a candidate.
Sri Lanka's auditor general said in his report in September that officials had misappropriated or misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars ? in one case $724,170 was paid to thousands of families not affected by the tsunami. But the auditor general said this was due to misunderstandings rather than corruption. However his report detailed other cases of apparent corruption, including the disappearance of aid materials.
Daily Mirror, Colombo, Sri Lanka - 11/03/2006
Bribery and corruption among public officials is rapidly increasing but the number of convictions is low, largely because complainants are afraid to come forward as witnesses, a top official said yesterday.
Piyasena Ranasinghe Director General of the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption told the Daily Mirror that from January 1 to March 10 this year, more than 20 complaints had been received against top public officials.
He said those under investigation included the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Negombo, OIC of the Bibile police station, and top officials of the police, Education Ministry, Department of Emigration and Immigration and the Department of the Registrar of Motor Traffic.
The Commission this week handed over its latest report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa pointing out that the number of public officials being arrested for bribery or corruption was steadily increasing.
The report says 90 public officials had been arrested on charges of bribery or corruption within the period in question.
Mr. Ranasinghe said it was tragic that officers of the police department topped the list of bribery and corruption.
He said another unfortunate trend was that while people were ready to make complaints of bribery or corruption they were not so ready to come forward as witnesses and thus the number of convictions was low, though the law was tough.
He said new laws relating to the freedom of information and to protect complainants or witnesses needed to be introduced.
Mr. Ranasinghe denied allegations that the Commission was largely taking in the ‘sprats’ and letting go the ‘sharks’.
He said in recent years or months many top security personnel, principals of schools and a top railway official had been arrested on charges of bribery and corruption.
Mr. Ranasinghe said in most instances the Commission was only able to neutralise the damage from worsening further.
State Department, USA
The country has fairly adequate laws and regulations to combat corruption, but they are unevenly enforced. US firms identify corruption as a constraint on foreign investment, but, by and large, it is not a major threat to operating in Sri Lanka – at least once a contract has been won. Corruption appears to have the greatest effect on investors in large projects as well as government procurement and tendering. According to Transparency International (TI), corruption is perceived as most pervasive in terms of political appointments to government institutions and in government procurement awards, as well as in high frequency/low value transactions. The police force and the judiciary are perceived to be the most corrupt public institutions. Corruption is also a persistent problem in customs clearance and enables wide-scale smuggling of certain consumer items, to the detriment of legitimate manufacturers and importers.
The Bribery Commission is not very effective.
The Bribery Commission is the main body responsible for investigating allegations of bribery and corruption. The Commission’s most recent term expired in December 2004, and a new Commission was appointed after a 3-month delay in March 2005. The previous Commissions were not effective in dealing with bribery or corruption. The function of the Commission, under Act No 19 of 1994, is to investigate allegations brought to its attention and to institute proceedings against responsible individuals in the appropriate court. The law states that a public official’s offer or acceptance of a bribe constitutes a criminal offense and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and a fine at the discretion of the courts. A bribe by a local company to a foreign official is not covered by the Bribery Act.
Few have been found guilty of corruption in recent years. Although highly publicized, efforts to investigate bribery and corruption have failed, damaging public confidence in such processes. While corruption charges have been levelled against politicians and top officials in charge of key government corporations, none of the accused has been convicted of bribery yet.
Sri Lanka ratified the UN Anti-corruption Convention in March 2004. Sri Lanka has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the OECD-ADB Anti-Corruption Regional Plan.
Transparency International (TI), an international "watchdog" organization promoting anti-corruption strategies, runs a national chapter in Sri Lanka. In TI’s Corruption Perception Index for 2005, Sri Lanka was 78th among 158 countries with a score of 3.2 out of a clean score of 10, reflecting a relatively high perceived level of corruption among politicians and public officials. Sri Lanka’s corruption ranking and score deteriorated in 2005 from 67th and 3.5 respectively in 2004. TI’s 2003 National Integrity Systems Country Report recommends creating an independent anti-corruption authority with sufficient powers as a top priority to combat corruption. TI has asked the international donor community to ensure transparency and clear lines of accountability in the disbursement of donor aid for post war reconstruction and post tsunami reconstruction. In response, the Government’s tsunami reconstruction agency (now known as Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) with the assistance of the United Nations (UN) has created a web based Development Assistance Database (DAD) (www.dad.tafren.gov.lk) for tracking information regarding tsunami aid disbursement and project implementation.
In terms of Economic Freedom, Sri Lanka is ranked 92 out of 157 countries in the Heritage Foundation’s 2006 Index of Economic Freedom. Countries receive a 1-5 rating - with one being the best - on 10 broad measures of economic freedom: trade policy, government fiscal burden, government intervention in the economy, monetary policy, foreign investment, banking and finance, wages and prices, property rights, regulation and informal market activity. Sri Lanka’s overall rating score worsened in 2006 to 3.19 from 3.03 in 2005.
(Excerpts - http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ifd/2006/63605.htm)
Dossier on fraudulent deals handed over to President`s Secretary
Thursday, 22 June 2006
A dossier on a series of fraudulent transactions and deals involving ruling party politicians, officials and their henchmen was handed over to Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga at Dharmayathanaya by Ven. Elle Gunawansa. Several members of the committee which prepared the dossier urged Weeratunga to act immediately with one of them warning of a severe threat on national security due to unbridled corruption.
Weeratunga visited Dharmayathanaya Wednesday to accept a dossier on corruption, waste, mismanagement and irregularities in over two dozen public enterprises including the Railways, Urban Development Authority, Inland Revenue, Customs, Bank of Ceylon and the infamous South Korean job scam, Export Development Board, SLBC, Lake House, Registrar of Motor Vehicles, MILCO and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
The government is under heavy fire over rampant corruption with several ministers and officials accused of underhand deals. Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga is under investigation over a US visa scam.
Weeratunga assured Ven. Gunawansa that he would hand over the dossier to the Special Presidential Investigation Unit. Depending on the outcome of the inquiries, the cases would be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department or other police agencies.
The official also referred to the recent appointment of two Presidential Commissions to investigate irregularities in the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment. One investigation targets corruption in a hotly disputed deal to bolster the firepower of Fast Attack Craft of the Navy. The second investigation focuses on the 2000-2005 period.
The Ven. Thera accused several ministers of swindling tax payer money. `I have brought this to the notice of the President,` he said, vowing to publicly name them unless they changed their ways. Expressing contempt for politicians playing pandu with the country, he warned of mass street protests unless the President controlled his ministers and officials.
According to Ven. Gunawansa, Wednesday`s dossier was the second handed over to Weeratunga. Without naming the JVP, he took a swipe at his former colleagues ridiculing the Marxist party`s decision to investigate corrupt ministers. The monk claimed that he would not hesitate to reveal the truth. In a veiled threat the outspoken monk said that they should know the reality. His remark revealed sharp differences between him and the JVP which worked tirelessly to help Rajapakse win the presidency.
JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa recently said they have identified about a dozen major cases. `We receive information about many frauds,` he said, expressing the belief that a seven-member parliamentary group tasked with targeting corrupt politicians and officials would meet the challenge.
The group comprises Anura Kumara Dissanayake, K. D. Lal Kantha, Sunil Handunetti, Bimal Ratnayake, Piyasiri Wijenayake, Lakshman Nipunaarachchi and Jayantha Samaraweera.
Weerawansa revealed that a special team had been appointed to gather information, assess, investigate and forward findings to the parliamentary group. The JVP intends to regularly present its findings to parliament, thereby increasing pressure on the government to act.
The JVP heavyweight dismissed the perception that major irregularities were always linked to the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment for police and security forces.
COLOMBO - The Wayamba Royal College Principal was convicted and sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment UNAC counted assets of Rs. 6.5 million.
Colombo High Court Judge Upali Abeyratna also imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 million under the provisions of the Bribery Act and another four years RI in default.
The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption filed the case against S.M. Wickramasinghe under section 23 (a) 3 of bribery Act for amassing a sum of Rs 6.5 million between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2001 that could not be accumulated through his known sources of income.
The list of the property amassed by Wickramasinghe according to the indictment includes a house worth of Rs 3.3 million and a motor vehicle worth of Rs 0.85 million. The Court also imposed a fine of Rs 5000 and another six months RI in default. (Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka – 20 October 2006)
COLOMBO - A case of criminal breach of trust was filed against a Director of a BOI approved company for misappropriating a sum of Rs. 5.7 million.
The Attorney General filed the case before the Colombo High Court against Wickramage Don Jagath Wickrama for misappropriation or taking Rs. 5.7 million for personal use while being a Director of the Munshin Lanka Private Ltd.
According to the charges, he misused the money between October 1, 2003 and November 30, 2003. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had initiated the investigation following South Korean Buddhist Monk Buk In (Sin Huwan Noe) lodging a complaint on June 3, 2004.
The Monk in his statement to the CID said that he came to Sri Lanka on many occasions for religious purposes and worked with a leading Buddhist Monk in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, he met Wickrama who knew the Korean language and became friendly.
The Korean Monk also said that as a result of a suggestion he decided to invest money in a project in Sri Lanka and registered a company with BOI approval. They received the approval to the project of Kalutara Town Development.
He appointed Wickrama as the Chairman of the company. Wickrama opened two bank accounts in two leading banks for the Company but he had included only his name.
The Monk also said that when he was in Korea, he sent money into the bank account of Wickrama as he won the fullest trust of the Monk. He said he sent Rs. 9.8 million into the bank accounts but altogether he had given nearly Rs. 15 million to Wickrama.
He further stated that he later came to know Wickrama had misappropriated Rs. 5.7 million. Wickrama in his statement to the CID said that all the allegations against him was baseless and he could account for the money he received.
The file enlisted seven witnesses including Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera and four productions. (Ceylon Daily News – 9 October 2006)
COLOMBO - The officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption for the first time nabbed a Woman Sub Inspector attached to the Ganemulla Police Station's Children and Womens Bureau at her quarters yesterday while accepting Rs. 5,000 as a bribe for the release of a suspect who has been accused of peddling a child.
The case was being heard in the Gampaha Magistrate's Court. The WSI is reported to have taken a bribe of Rs. 9,000 earlier to bail out the accused, Commission's Investigations Director SSP Neville Guruge told the Daily News.
The WSI will be produced before the Colombo Magistrate today.
Meanwhile an accounts clerk of the Nuwara Eliya Hospital was also arrested for accepting Rs. 30,000 as a bribe to issue a cheque for Rs. 224,700 to the owner of Nuwara Eliya Saman Garage who undertook repairs of the Hospital ambulances, Guruge said.
The clerk was remanded till October 16 by Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Lyon Seneviratne.
(Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka – 4 October 2006)
COLOMBO - The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption filed a case before the Colombo High Court against former Negombo Mayor A. A. Newton Henry Fernando for bribery.
The Commission filed the case on four counts including demanding a gratification of Rs 25,000 from H.H. Sisira Lakshman Appuhamy between January 1 and 16, 2006 and accepting same on January 17.
According to the charges, the former mayor had demanded and accepted the money to approve a tender application submitted by the "Man Power Security Services" to procure security personnel required for the Negombo Municipal Council for 2006. (Ceylon Daily News – 22 September 2006)
COLOMBO - The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption filed a case yesterday before the Colombo High Court against a Police Constable for accepting a gratification of Rs. 50,000 from a person on the understanding that no legal action would be taken against his employee for allegedly transporting illicit timber.
The Commission filed the case against N. H. Noel Wasantha de Silva, a police constable under six counts for accepting Rs. 50,000 from K. W. A. M. Aluthgedara Ranbanda at Hanguranketha, on November 30, 2005 in return not taking legal action against Rasalingam Rasaiyah.
According to the charges Wasantha had demanded Rs. 75,000 from Ranbanda and Rs. 10,000 from Koin Menike for the same reason. Koin Menike was the wife of Ranbanda.
Rasalingam Sellaiyah in his statement to the Bribery Commission stated that he was the driver of the lorry belonging to Ranbanda. Apart from transporting vegetable he transported firewood in an estate at Hanguranketha under a contract. They were not transporting illegal timber.
Two persons in civil attire including constable de Silva halted the lorry and checked the documents of the lorry and the driver. Although all the relevant documents were available de Silva demanded Rs. 75,000 from Sellaiyah. Later he learnt that Ranbanda paid Rs. 50,000 to the constable.
Ranbanda in his statement said that Noel de Silva demanded Rs 75,000 and when he pleaded him to reduce it to Rs. 10,000 the constable resisted stating that he had to give the Police Inspector's and the Sub Inspector's share.
At last they came to a settlement to pay Rs. 50,000. (Ceylon Daily News – 20 September 2006)
KEKIRAWA, Sri Lanka - A Police Sergeant attached to the Kekirawa Police Crimes Division was nabbed by the Bribery officials yesterday for soliciting Rs.25,000 to release a suspect taken in for vandalising archaeological sites.
The sergeant had demanded Rs.25,000 from the mother of the arrested youth, claiming that he needed the money to obtain a report from the archaeological Department, favouring the youth.
"In a surprise raid yesterday we arrested the sergeant when the money was being handed over to a tout by the mother," Bribery Commission Investigations Director Neville Guruge said. The sergeant had taken Rs.5000 from her when she visited her son on Friday. The arrangement was to pay the balance yesterday.
The Bribery Commission was tipped off by the mother who was infuriated by the outrageous demand and a team of officers from Colombo went and arrested the culprit red handed inside the Kekirawa police station.
A driver of a private van doing hires, who posed as a tout was also arrested on the charge for aiding and abetting the offender.
The duo was remanded till September 8 by the Kekirawa Magistrate Suchira Weliwatte.
(Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka – 29 August 2006)
COLOMBO - The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has filed a bribery case before the Colombo High Court against the chairman of the Kekirawa Samurdhi Sangamaya.
The Bribery Commission filed the case against P.B.R. Rupasinghe Dasanayake for soliciting a gratification to deposit Rs 2.3 million belonged to the Kekirawa Samurdhi Sangamaya in the Pramuka Savings and Development Bank in 2001.
According to the charges Dasanayake had demanded a commission of 0.5 per cent from the Deputy General Manager P.D.A. Joseph Rienzy by means of S. S. Mangala Wijesinghe for depositing the amount of money that belonged to the Samurdhi Sangamaya at an interest rate of 18.25 percent.
The charges include that Dassanayake had accepted Rs. 2900 between March 15, 2001 and April 11, 2001 as the gratification for depositing the money in the Pramuka Bank for a period of three months.
The Bribery Commission produce nine witnesses and seven productions.
(Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka – 12 August 2006)
Human Rights & Humanitarian situation
in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka
Statistics District wise
Nine Roads are closed in the Batticaloa Districts connecting the GOSL controlled areas and LTTE controlled areas.
Due to this closure the following restrictions have been imposed by the GOSL:-
1. Economic Embargo
2. Restriction on fuel
3. Restriction on building materials
4. Restriction on farming and other activities
5. Complete fishing ban
6. Restrictions of heavy vehicle transportation
7. Restriction on NGO’s and INGO activities
From 1st of January 2006 to 20th of October 2006
1. Number of civilians killed 62, due GOSL carrying out aerial bombings and shelling, and GOSL Paramilitary Groups carrying out claymore mine attacks.
2. Number of civilians injured 94, all of whom are school children.
3. Internally displaced consist of 26,552 families amounting to 113,056 individuals.
4. Fuel requirement per month:
1. Kerosene – 1,400,000 Litres; only 600,000 Litres being provided.
2. Petrol – 800,000 Litres; no petrol has been provided.
3. Diesel – 3,298,000 Litres; no diesel has been provided.
Š Arrested by GOSL Armed Forces – 49
Š Disappeared – 199
Š Murders – 60
Š Robberies carried out by GOSL Armed Forces and its Paramilitary Groups – 46
Š Internally Displaced – 7000 persons
Š Number of civilians killed 5, due to GOSL carrying out artillery shelling and GOSL Paramilitary Groups carrying out claymore mine attacks.
Š Number of civilians injured 10.
Š Internally displaced consist of 5063 individuals, all of whom are with no work and no income.
1. Total population 653,755 persons, 188,266 families
2. Number of families below poverty line is 125,465 consisting of 431, 516 persons. Out of this only 53, 615 families, consisting of persons 125, 675 are the recipients of free dry rations from the GOSL
3. Number of families dependant entirely on fishing is 17, 000, consisting of 100,000 persons. At present fishing is totally banned by the GOSL. Yet none of these families are being provided any assistance from the GOSL.
4. Number of Internally displaced families: 42,000
5. Total food requirement for the Jaffna peninsula per month is 11,000 Metric Tons, including 8000 Metric tons of essential food items. For the last three months only 14000 Metric tons of food items had been sent by ship, the short fall is 19, 000 Metric tons.
6. Fuel requirement per month
o Kerosene – 1,500,000 Litres
o Petrol – 800,000 Litres
o Diesel – 3,298,000 Litres
7. However the fuel that is currently available is grossly inadequate. The official figures are being withheld by the GOSL.
8. Number of Murders: 297 (since April 2006)
9. Number of disappearance: 185 (since April 2006)
10. Number of injured: 188 (since April 2006)
Internally Displaced Persons
Š Due to artillery and aerial attacks the villages of Ral Kuli and Navalady have been severely affected.
Š Both villages have been completely destroyed.
Š All the people are displaced and presently are in Refugee Camps situated at Kinniya, Eachanthivu, Alankerny, Trincomalee
Š The Number of affected:
o Villages – 02,
o Families: 163,
o Population 623,
o Schools – 01,
o Public Buildings, Temples, Cultivations and houses are damaged.
Morawewa – Pankulam, Shanthipuram, Nochchikulam
Š After the disappearance of three youths, people have been displaced and presently are in Refugee Camps situated in Trincomalee.
Š The Number of affected:
o Villages – 03,
o Families: 295,
o Population 1181.
Seruwila – Lingapuram, Athiyammankerny, Sivapuram, Thanganagar
Š Many persons killed due to military operations.
Š Machines, vehicles and jewellery have been robbed. Due to fear, people have been displaced and presently are in Refugee Camps situated at Trincomalee and in public places of the respective villages.
Š The Number of affected:
o Villages – 04,
o Families: 385,
o Population 1483,
o Schools 03,
o Public building and temples are damaged.
The Number of affected:
Š Villages – 51,
Š Families: 9679,
Š Population 27700,
Š schools 36,
Š Public buildings, hospitals and temples are damaged.
Steps have only been taken to resettle the Sinhalese and Muslim people.
Trincomalee village and environments
1. Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese people are living.
2. Surrounded by the GOSL Army, Navy and Air force
3. Many Tamil businessmen have been abducted by the GOSL Armed Forces and its Paramilitary Groups, as a result of which most of the businesses have closed down.
4. Murders, abductions, arrests and tortures are continuing.
5. Fishing is totally banned.
6. 1000 fisher families from Thirukadalur, Murukapuri, No – 10 Division, Salli, Konesapuri have fled to India by sea. Many persons have died during the sea journey.
7. Several GOSL Paramilitary offices have been opened.
8. The Government Agent has not taken any action regarding the refugees at Mutur.
9. Daily 10-15 families are fleeing to other districts due to fear.
(Courtesy – Parliamentarians, Tamil National Alliance – TNA)
Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
Centre Tamoul pour les droits de l'Homme - CTDH
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Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR
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