Disseminate Asset Declaration (LK0021)
Action Plan: Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
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 AreasAnti-Corruption Institutions, Legislation & Regulation, Public Participation
Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Often civil servants and employees fail to grasp full importance of open government and open public administration. Even those civil servants, who understand this, lack knowledge and skills as regards appl
IRM End of Term Status Summary
21. Disseminate Asset Declarations
Strengthen the anti-corruption framework to increase constructive public participation (Part VI)
- 1 CIABOC will initiate and communicate to the president's office legislative amendments for the repealing of sections 7(4), 7(5) and 8 of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act to allow publication and dissemination of information obtained through a request for such declaration of assets and liabilities.
- 2 Government to table and enact legislation referred to in Milestone 1 (i.e. 21.1)
Responsible institutions: Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), Attorney General’s Department
Supporting institution: Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL)
Start date: September 2016. End date: June 2017
This commitment aimed to strengthen the anti-corruption framework by facilitating dissemination of asset declarations to the general public. To do this, the commitment set out to initiate, communicate, propose, and enact legislative amendments to the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act.
The commitment achieved limited completion by the midterm. The director general of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) noted that the Commission prepared a cabinet paper proposing amendments to the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Law, and submitted it to the Cabinet of Ministers for review (Milestone 21.1).  A civil society representative from Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) confirmed this development, citing a cabinet memorandum  containing reference to repealing the relevant sections of the law. 
However, CIABOC noted that concrete legislative amendments were still being deliberated (Milestone 21.2).  Citing the ‘sensitive and contested nature’ of asset disclosure, CIABOC suggested that efforts to amend the legislation should be approached in an incremental, stepwise manner. 
End of term: Limited
Commitment implementation continued to be limited at the end of term.
Milestones 21.1–21.2: TISL noted that CIABOC organised several multistakeholder workshops to discuss potential amendments to the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Law.  CIABOC invited civil society organisations, such as TISL, to participate in these discussions and thus ensured that an inclusive process was followed. However, beyond these discussions, the amendments to the law saw little, if any, progress.
Did It Open Government?
Access to Information: Did not change
Civic Participation: Marginal
The commitment did not improve access to information as CIABOC did not finalise amendments to the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act. However, according to TISL, the process of deliberating the amendments involved inclusive stakeholder participation, including civil society organisations.  Although unanticipated, this marginally improved civic participation.
At the outset of the action plan, specific sections in the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Law restricted the publication and dissemination of information obtained through associated requests. Specifically, sections 7(4) and 7(5) made the disclosure of such information a punishable offence,  while section 8 mandated secrecy in relation to declarations of assets and liabilities.  As a result, civil society stakeholders have argued that the public is denied an opportunity to expose cases of illegally amassed wealth and take further action against offending public officers. 
This commitment aimed to repeal these sections, and thus permit the disclosure of information obtained through requests for declarations of assets and liabilities. If fully implemented, this would have improved access to government-held information pertaining to assets and liabilities.
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 carried forward to the next action plan. However, the researcher also proposed a few measures to translate the proposed amendment into tangible results and enhance the impact of this commitment. These include: introducing a clear appeals process, coordinated by CIABOC; and disclosing updated information on the assets and liabilities of senior public officials through a user-friendly, interactive, and trilingual online portal. The appeals process would allow the public to lodge complaints against, or request clarifications from, public officers in light of a disclosure publicised through the proposed legislative provision.
 In the action plan, all milestones pertaining to corruption are listed under a single commitment. For clarity, these milestones have been separated into six different commitments (see 16–21) in this report, each looking at distinct components of the anti-corruption framework.
 Sarath Jayamanne (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption), interview by IRM researcher, 20 September 2017.
 Sankhitha Gunaratne (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 17 October 2017.
 Jayamanne, interview.
 Maheshi Herat (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 27 September 2018.
 The IRM researcher made several unsuccessful attempts to reach relevant representatives in August and September 2018. Attempts were made via telephone and email.
 Herat, interview.
 Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975, § 7(4) and § 7(5).
 Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975, § 8.
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