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Friday, May 24, 2024

Transparency International Sri Lanka Challenges the Appointment of CIABOC Director General in Supreme Court

  • The FR petition contests the appointment of Kanishka Wijeratne as CIABOC DG, citing contravention of the Anti-Corruption Act.
  • It alleges that the appointment was arbitrary and procedurally improper.
  • The petition seeks a declaration from the Court nullifying the appointment and an interim order restraining Mr. Wijeratne from his DG duties until the hearing’s conclusion.
  • The petition seeks the Constitutional Council to make public the procedure followed, the minutes of the meeting and the justification given in relation to this selection.

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has filed a Fundamental Rights Petition (SC FR 110/2024) in the Supreme Court, challenging the appointment of W. Kanishka D. Wijeratne as the Director General (DG) of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).

Mr. Wijeratne, who had previously served as the DG of CIABOC since January 2020, was reappointed to the same position on April 2, 2024, following the enactment of the new Anti-Corruption Act.

TISL’s petition contends that Mr. Wijeratne’s appointment violates provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act, lacks procedural integrity and transparency. TISL requests the Supreme Court to nullify the appointment or alternatively direct the authorities to remove Mr. Wijeratne and appoint a new DG in accordance with the law.

The petition further argues that he does not meet all statutory requirements and criteria for the DG role.

The respondents in the petition include the Attorney General, Members of the Constitutional Council, Secretary General of the Constitutional Council, Chairman, Commissioners, and DG of CIABOC, as well as candidates shortlisted for the DG position.

TISL notes that the case has been filed in the public interest, to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. The organization urges the Supreme Court to issue an interim order preventing Mr. Wijeratne from acting as DG pending the hearing and final decision of the petition.

Highlighting the broader implications of the case, TISL notes the potential economic and reputational consequences of allowing procedural irregularities to persist unchecked. The petition emphasizes that “the failure to streamline and rectify the missteps would have adverse ripple effects on the credibility of the fight against corruption, the economy, and international reputation unless immediate action is taken forthwith”.

In addition to seeking legal redress, TISL calls upon the Constitutional Council and the CIABOC to establish clear and transparent guidelines for future appointments to the DG position, ensuring accountability and integrity in the process.

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