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Sri Lanka

Disseminate Asset Declaration (LK0021)

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, Legislation & Regulation, Public Participation

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

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

Commitment Text:

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

[…]

Main Objective:

Milestones:

  • 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

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. [286]

Commitment Aim:

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.

Status

Midterm: Limited

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). [287] A civil society representative from Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) confirmed this development, citing a cabinet memorandum [288] containing reference to repealing the relevant sections of the law. [289]

However, CIABOC noted that concrete legislative amendments were still being deliberated (Milestone 21.2). [290] 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. [291]

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. [292] 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.

TISL was unable to confirm the status of the amendments to the law, [293] and CIABOC could not be reached for comment. [294]

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. [295] 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, [296] while section 8 mandated secrecy in relation to declarations of assets and liabilities. [297] 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. [298]

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.

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 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.

[286] 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.

[287] Sarath Jayamanne (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption), interview by IRM researcher, 20 September 2017.

[288] Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, Amendments to the Asset and Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law No. 1 of 1975: Cabinet Memorandum, http://bit.ly/2E8nM8Z.

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

[290] Jayamanne, interview.

[291] Id.

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

[293] Id.

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

[295] Herat, interview.

[296] Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975, § 7(4) and § 7(5).

[297] Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975, § 8.

[298] Transparency International Sri Lanka, “Amending the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act.”, 7 December 2015, http://bit.ly/2EyON3s.


Sri Lanka's 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