Sri Lanka showcases its fight against corruption at UN debate

Sarath Jayamanne, President’s Counsel and Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption – Sri Lanka, delivering a statement during the High Level Segment of the Debate said that Sri Lanka remains fully committed to implementing the provisions of the Convention in an effective manner. Today, a vast majority of United Nations Member States are parties (184 countries) to the Convention. Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to become a party to the Convention in March 2004. Sri Lanka participated prominently in the High Level debate of the United Nations General Assembly to mark the 15th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The event was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and was well attended by ministers and other high officials of anti- corruption entities of member states. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2003, and entered into force upon ratification by thirty States on 14 December 2005. “The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was one of the first steps taken by a new administration in 2015 stating their commitment to democracy, good governance, independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law. This amendment, established independent commissions namely: the Judicial services, Police, Public Service, Human Rights, Elections, Finance, Audit and, of course  the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) of which I am Director General,” he said.  \Jayamanne noted that setting up independent commissions gave new life to existing institutions with an anti-corruption mandate, and that is also formed new bodies charged with fighting corruption. Significantly, it recognized the importance of implementing the provisions of UNCAC, he added.    As an example of independence, Mr. Jayamanne pointed out that CIABOC  recently arrested two high ranking officials at the highest levels of government on charges of bribery. “This not only demonstrated the independence of our body, but also the policy of non-interference. These arrests marked a landmark in our work on anti-corruption, as this was the highest ranking official to have been arrested, while in office, in 60 years” he said.  The Bribery and Corruption Chief also stressed that the independence of these Commissions from any kind of political influence was  crucial in fighting corruption and restoring confidence in the system.J.C.Weliamuna, PC, Chairman of the Special Presidential Task Force on Recovery of State Assets – Sri Lanka had been invited by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to serve as a panelist on the panel  titled “Achieving peaceful and inclusive societies through preventing and combating corruption,” during the full day event.   On the sidelines of the high level meeting, Sarath Jayamanne, Director General, CIABOC, had a bilateral meeting with Mr. John Brandolino, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs of the UNODC where the existing levels of cooperation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the UNODC was emphasized. In recognition of the active role on anti-corruption played by Sri Lanka, it was noted that the UNODC had decided to hold a meeting of global experts in Colombo in July 2018.Both Brandolino and Jayamanne agreed to work closely in achieving shared objectives of anti-corruption. Ambassador Dr. Rohan Perera, PC, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN and Mrs. Sonali Samarasinghe, Attorney at Law, Minister, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN were also present at the meeting. (Colombo Gazette) Weliamuna pointed out that in many situations even after peaceful regime change, the political will to reform a corrupt system is obstructed due to bureaucracy by those who have been beneficiaries of previous corrupt regimes. He said that political will and bureaucratic will are both equally important, urging that it was time to explore the possibilities of establishing a UN Working group to examine “the post state capture” realities in relation to fragile governance structures and bureaucracies. read more

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Community mailboxes coming to the mountain

More anger over the impending changeover from door-to-door mail delivery to community mailboxes.Hamilton mountain residents could know by Christmas where their new community mailboxes will be installed. But as it turns out, many don’t like what they’re finding out and that there is little they can do about the chosen locations.Hamilton passed a motion in September asking staff to look at the impact of mailboxes and it expects the report in January. It won’t talk to Canada Post until that study is done.The city is trying to have some input into where Canada Post puts the mailboxes, but there seems to be a lack of communication.Cathie Weadick was in her central-mountain yard two weeks ago, when two Canada Post representatives approached: “They said we’re just here to let you know that a super mailbox is going over here. And I said, pardon?”She explained her concerns. The potential vandalism, and litter, and traffic: “There’s no stopping or parking. So I said how’s that going to work, and they said, ‘Oh they’ll just stop and pick up mail, it’ll be really fast. The most disconcerting part of it was that it’s already assumed it’s going to go there. The decision has been made.”Canada Post says it looks for the safest, most convenient and unobtrusive places to put community mailboxes. It looks for things like sidewalks and available lighting. But as you can tell from these boxes recently installed in Oakville, those ideals aren’t always met.Sylvia Otten: (You don’t have sidewalks or light here, I see.) “That’s right, and not a lot of traffic? This is like a freeway.”But Sylvia Otten’s biggest problem is the loss of privacy. people getting mail now look right at her pool: “Just natural instinct to look in, say Hi, how’s it going. I’m just picking up my mail. I don’t even know you. 88 homes are here.”A block away, the embankment was built up, so now mail collectors look right into her neighbour’s kitchen.Otten: “The engineers decided this was the perfect location. I said I never saw an engineer come to this street. I said by any chance did they just Google the street? And he said ‘Yes, that’s how they do it’.”Mountain councillor Scott Duvall says Canada Post shouldn’t be telling people where the boxes will go. The city hasn’t agreed yet: “There has to be an agreement. It’s our land. Our appeasements. We have to make sure it’s safe and smart. None of that dialogue has been done. Yet they’re knocking on doors saying this is going to be done by spring.”Duvall is worried about another form of downloading, that the city will have to take on costs like signage, picking up litter and clearing snow. There have been problems like that with current mailboxes. Oakville says it has not had to incur any costs since the mailboxes have been installed there. Canada Post deals with snow, litter, etc. read more

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