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Sri Lanka

Strengthen the Anti-Corruption Framework to Increase Constructive Public Participation (LK0016)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the President, CIABOC (Independent Commission)

Support Institution(s): FCID, Attorney-General’s Department, All organizations and coalitions interested in anti-corruption efforts (Civil Society, Private Sector)

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, Fiscal Transparency, Legislation & Regulation, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies, Private Sector

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sri Lanka End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Freedom from corruption is a crucial and inseparable element of open government, and must be approached from the dual perspective of apprehension and prevention. The acknowledgment of the prevalence of corruption in the state sector and elsewhere serves as a necessary precedent to addressing the problem in a comprehensive fashion. A multi-stakeholder approach is necessary to ensure the method of addressing the problem is representative and participatory, while ensuring a strong legislative framework that is compliant with Sri Lanka’s UNCAC obligations. Issues to be Addressed: 1.To ensure conformity with the Constitution (Article 156A) and State’s UNCAC obligations, including the need for the inclusion of the private sector in the anti-corruption framework as referred to in Milestone 1. 2.To ensure coordination and information sharing among various anti-corruption agencies. 3.Lack of an assessment and the findings to be published on the requirement for a cadre of independent investigators on corruption issues. 4.Lack of a national corruption prevention strategy. 5.Need to regulate political campaign financing including disclosure of donors and resource providers. 6.Inability to disseminate asset declarations available to the public. 7.Address the disconnection in the mandate of corruption investigation and money laundering investigations. 8.The need to amend section 17 of the CIABOC Act to share information between corruption investigation bodies. Main Objective: To strengthen the anti-corruption framework and facilitate tri-partite; public, private, civil society oversight and ownership of anti-corruption efforts.1. Government to host a national anti-corruption summit New December 20164.
a) CIABOC to submit a budget of its projected expenses for preventing and combating corruption for the year to the Ministry of Finance with public justifications.
New August 2016 August 2016
May 2017 June 2017
May 2018 June 2018
b) Government to allocate requested budgetary provisions in its annual national budget estimates with public justifications in case of discrepancy.
New Nov. 2016 Dec. 2016
Nov. 2017 Dec. 2017
c) CIABOC to publicly report on annual expenditure allocations and spending for the year 2017, without prejudice to on-going investigations. New Jan. 2018 March 20189. CIABOC to establish Inter-agency Corruption Prevention Council, which, in consultation with civil society and the private sector, will be in-charge of the overall corruption prevention drive in Sri Lanka. The council will facilitate the input of state, private sector and civil society to develop a two-year corruption prevention action plan. This action plan will assign implementation goals across the state, private sector and civil society to undertake to:
a) Mainstream corruption prevention across public agencies,
b) Ensure clear oversight roles as well as monitoring & evaluation,
c) Provide sufficient resources for corruption prevention,
d) Base the prevention action plan on a holistic and robust assessment of the anti-corruption system (e.g National Integrity System Assessment),
e) Allow for meaningful participation by non-state actors, particularly civil society in the design of the action plan New Jan. 2017 June 2018
10. Government to introduce a declaration /oath of zero-tolerance for corruption to be displayed prominently in the entrances of all state offices with the contact details of the CIABOC complaints hotline. New October 2016 Sep. 2017

IRM End of Term Status Summary

16. Public Participation in Anti-Corruption Framework

Commitment Text:

Strengthen the anti-corruption framework to increase constructive public participation (Part I)

[…]

Main Objective:

Milestones:

  • 1 Government to host a national anti-corruption summit.
  • 2
  1. a) CIABOC to submit a budget of its projected expenses for preventing and combating corruption for the year to the Ministry of Finance with public justifications;
  2. b) Government to allocate requested budgetary provisions in its annual national budget estimates with public justifications in case of discrepancy;
  3. c) CIABOC to publicly report on annual expenditure allocations and spending for the year 2017, without prejudice to on-going investigations.
  • 3 CIABOC to establish Inter-Agency Corruption Prevention Council, which, in consultation with civil society and the private sector, will be in-charge of the overall corruption prevention drive in Sri Lanka. The council will facilitate the input of state, private sector and civil society to develop a two-year corruption prevention action plan. This action plan will assign implementation goals across the state, private sector and civil society to undertake to:
  1. Mainstream corruption prevention across public agencies,
  2. Ensure clear oversight roles as well as monitoring & evaluation,
  3. Provide sufficient resources for corruption prevention,
  4. Base the prevention action plan on a holistic and robust assessment of the anti-corruption system (e.g. National Integrity System Assessment),
  5. Allow for meaningful participation by non-state actors, particularly civil society in the design of the action plan.
  • 4 Government to introduce a declaration / oath of zero-tolerance for corruption to be displayed prominently in the entrances of all state offices with the contact details of the CIABOC complaints hotline.

Responsible institution: Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC)

Supporting institution: Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL)

Start date: August 2016....... End date: June 2018

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full text of the commitment, see the Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016–2018 at http://bit.ly/2wv3jXR. [219]

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to strengthen the anti-corruption framework by increasing constructive public participation in anti-corruption activities and processes. Government and civil society stakeholders anticipated that, through this commitment, the public will be able to contribute to more effective implementation of anti-corruption decisions, exercise oversight, and inform accountability mechanisms. [220]

Status

Midterm: Limited

The commitment achieved limited completion by the midterm. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) confirmed that the government conducted a national anti-corruption summit on 9 December 2016, to mark National Anti-Corruption Day (Milestone 16.1). [221] All other components of this commitment, however, remained incomplete or were not started.

CIABOC submitted and received allocations for projected expenditures under the national budget in 2016 and 2017 (Milestone 16.2). The government also included relevant details in the full budget estimates published for fiscal year 2018. [222] CIABOC also published a trilingual annual report in 2016 containing basic information on CIABOC expenditure. [223] However, a representative of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) noted that there was limited evidence of public justification of the budget. [224]

CIABOC did not establish an Inter-Agency Corruption Prevention Council to lead the corruption prevention drive and oversee the development of a corruption prevention action plan (Milestone 16.3). [225] Although CIABOC convened a diverse group of stakeholders to deliberate potential corruption prevention mechanisms, TISL noted that few, if any, concrete developments stemmed from this discussion. [226] Both CIABOC and TISL also confirmed that there were no formal discussions on the introduction of a declaration or oath of zero tolerance at the midterm (Milestone 16.4). [227]

End of term: Limited

At the end of term, the completion of implementation of the commitment remained limited.

Milestone 16.1: Completed.

Milestone 16.2: According to a representative from TISL, CIABOC released no further information on its budget; beyond standard disclosures relating to national budget estimates reported at the midterm. [228]

Milestone 16.3: In December 2017, CIABOC publicly announced its intention to develop a national action plan on anti-corruption. [229] CIABOC invited citizen stakeholders to submit suggestions and proposals via postal mail, email, fax, or a form on the CIABOC website. [230] Civil society noted that there was limited citizen engagement in the process of providing suggestions and proposals. [231]

At the end of term, TISL confirmed that the anti-corruption action plan was still in development and the contents of the action plan were yet to be finalised. Discussions toward development, however, had been inclusive and incorporated civil society input. [232] Although CIABOC did not create an Inter-Agency Prevention Council to lead the overall corruption prevention drive, TISL suggested that the prospective plan was likely to emphasise inter-agency cooperation in implementation. [233]

Milestone 16.4: According to TISL, early discussions around the development of the plan also hinted that the declaration or oath of zero tolerance on corruption was likely to be included as a concomitant priority. [234]

CIABOC could not be reached for comment. [235]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the outset of the action plan, there was limited public participation in anti-corruption framework. People perceived high levels of corruption in the state sector, [236] with certain public-facing institutions, such as the police and customs, demonstrating a higher proclivity for corrupt practices. [237] Reflecting these sentiments, Sri Lanka was ranked 95 out of 176 countries on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, dropping 12 places from 2015. [238] In the 2017 index, Sri Lanka earned 2 points and moved up 4 places to be ranked 91 out of 180 countries. [239] Although this ranking serves as an imperfect comparator due to annual changes in the number of countries considered, it does suggest a marginal improvement in citizen perceptions of corruption in Sri Lanka. Given limited completion, however, it is unlikely that this improvement is attributable to this commitment.

This commitment aimed to introduce public participation in the anti-corruption framework and thereby, directly contribute to opening government. If fully implemented, the commitment would have enhanced financial transparency and access to information by opening up the CIABOC budget to public scrutiny. Although civil society noted that CIABOC did not fully implement this activity, [240] the publication of budget estimates and related expenditure meant that this commitment marginally improved access to information. [241]

Similarly, the establishment of an Inter-Agency Corruption Prevention Council would have presented an unprecedented opportunity for civil society to participate in decision making related to anti-corruption. [242] Although CIABOC did not establish this council, citizens and relevant civil society representatives were invited to submit suggestions and participate in discussions toward the development of the corruption prevention action plan. Civil society agreed that this represented a marginal improvement in civic participation. [243]

Carried Forward?

Sri Lanka’s second action plan was not released at the time of this report.

In the 2016–2017 IRM midterm progress report, the IRM researcher recommended that this commitment be implemented to completion. However, the researcher also proposed a number of supplementary measures to build on the commitment and further enhance potential impact. These include: introducing provisions and protocols for public participation in the CIABOC budget process; providing public-facing mechanisms to register complaints pertaining to this process; expanding the scope of the corruption prevention action plan to encompass the wider anti-corruption agenda; and appointing an independent, multistakeholder committee to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the prevention action plan.

[219] In the action plan, all milestones pertaining to corruption are listed under a single commitment. For clarity, these milestones have been separated in this report into six different commitments (Commitments 16–21), each exploring distinct components of the anti-corruption framework.

[220] Sarath Jayamanne (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption), interview by IRM researcher, 20 September 2017; Asoka Obeyesekere (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 29 August 2017.

[221] A. Mallawaarachchi, “National Anti-Corruption Summit on December 9” (Daily News) http://dailynews.lk/2016/12/01/local/100709.

[222] Budget Estimates 2018 – Volume I (Ministry of Finance, Fiscal Year 2018) 39, http://bit.ly/2rPTG5v.

[223] Annual Report on Bribery and Corruption – 2016 (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, 2016) 87, https://www.ciaboc.gov.lk/images/annual_reports/Annual_Report_2016.pdf.

[224] Sankhitha Gunaratne (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 17 October 2017.

[225] Jayamanne, interview; Gunaratne, interview.

[226] Gunaratne, interview.

[227] Jayamanne, interview; Gunaratne, interview.

[228] Maheshi Herat (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 27 September 2018.

[229] A. Mallawaarachchi, “National Action Plan to Combat Bribery and Corruption” (Daily News, 28 December 2017) http://bit.ly/2BzZsYq.

[230] “Suggestions and Proposals for the National Action Plan to Eradicate Corruption from Sri Lanka,” (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, 2017) https://www.ciaboc.gov.lk/contact/suggestions.

[231] Herat, interview.

[232] Id.

[233] Id.

[234] Id.

[235] The IRM researcher made several unsuccessful attempts to reach relevant representatives in August and September 2018. Attempts were made via telephone and email.

[236] “Sri Lanka Becomes More Corrupt” (Daily Mirror, 25 January 2017) http://bit.ly/2k31ICt.

[237] “Sri Lankans Pay More Bribes to Police: TI” (Daily Mirror, 11 March 2017) http://bit.ly/2GDAw6f.

[238] Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 25 January 2017) http://bit.ly/2j3Y63K.

[239] Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 2 February 2018) https://bit.ly/2BJaDBF.

[240] Herat, interview.

[241] Annual Report on Bribery and Corruption – 2016 (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, 2016) 87, https://www.ciaboc.gov.lk/images/annual_reports/Annual_Report_2016.pdf.

[242] Obeyesekere, interview; Gunaratne, interview.

[243] Herat, interview.


Commitments

  1. Integrity Officers to Decrease Bribery and Corruption

    LK0024, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Asset Declaration System

    LK0025, 2019, Asset Disclosure

  3. Increase Use of RTI

    LK0026, 2019, E-Government

  4. Citizen Participation in Health

    LK0027, 2019, E-Government

  5. Campaign Against Youth Drug Use

    LK0028, 2019, Education

  6. Open Data

    LK0029, 2019, E-Government

  7. Agriculture Support Policy

    LK0030, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Participation for Persons with Disabilities

    LK0031, 2019, Land & Spatial Planning

  9. Disability Rights Bill

    LK0032, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  10. Disaster Management Planning

    LK0033, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Nationak Environmental Policy

    LK0034, 2019, Environment and Climate

  12. CEDAW Implementation

    LK0035, 2019, Capacity Building

  13. Local Service Delivery

    LK0036, 2019, E-Government

  14. Feedback on Public Bus

    LK0037, 2019, E-Government

  15. Implementing UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in a Participatory Manner

    LK0038, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Improving Public Access to Preventive and Curative Strategies to Combat Chronic Kidney Disease

    LK0001, 2016, Health

  17. Transparent Policy to Provide Safe and Affordable Medicines for All

    LK0002, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. National Health Performance

    LK0003, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Ensuring Transparency and Impartiality in Teacher Recruitment Policy and Process in Sri Lanka

    LK0004, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Enhance the Services of Government Information Center (GIC- 1919) for Inclusive, Transparent, Accountable and Efficient Governance, Using ICT As Enabler

    LK0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promote the Open Data Concept and Delivering the Benefits to Citizens Through ICT

    LK0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. National Environmental Act (NEA) Amendments

    LK0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Coast Conservation

    LK0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Flora and Fauna Protection

    LK0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Transparent and Accountable Procurement System for Local Authorities in Sri Lanka

    LK0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Local Authority Procurement System Implementation

    LK0011, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  27. Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to Include a Transparent and Accountable Process to Implement Selected Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations.

    LK0012, 2016, Gender

  28. CEDAW Implementation – Accountability

    LK0013, 2016, Gender

  29. CEDAW – Inclusion

    LK0014, 2016, Gender

  30. Strengthening Women Participation in the Political Decision Making Process at the Local Level

    LK0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Strengthen the Anti-Corruption Framework to Increase Constructive Public Participation

    LK0016, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Implement UNCAC

    LK0017, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  33. Coordination Among Anti-Corruption Agencies

    LK0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  34. Corruption and Money Laundering

    LK0019, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Campaign Finance

    LK0020, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Disseminate Asset Declaration

    LK0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Starred commitment The Enactment and Implementation of the RTI Act

    LK0022, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  38. Proactive Disclosure

    LK0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation