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Sri Lanka

Sri Lankans demand results to graft investigations

Religious leaders should come forward to defeat culture of massive fraud, says Catholic priest

ucanews.com reporters, Colombo

ucanews.com reporters, Colombo

Updated: January 28, 2016 04:53 AM GMT
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Sri Lankans demand results to graft investigations

Over a thousand Sri Lankans marched against corruption last December. (Photo by Quintus Colombage)

 

 

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Church and civic rights workers have urged the Sri Lankan government to speed up its investigation of corruption by the country's previous administration.

"It is important to move forward from investigations to prosecutions followed by convictions to restore the public's faith in the rule of law and justice," said Father Reid Shelton Fernando,  chaplain in Colombo Archdiocese.

"Sri Lanka was the second U.N. member state to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption but it is not a corruption free country yet," said the priest who was one of several speakers at a media event in Colombo on Jan. 26.

Former government officials and military personal are among those being investigated for allegations of corruption during the tenure of the previous government. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and several of his family members are also being scrutinized.

"People hoped that those responsible for alleged corruption would be arrested and punished after a speedy hearing of these cases but it has not eventuated," said Sarath Wijesuriya, a senior lecturer of Colombo University.

"We urge the government to take immediate steps to punish the culprits," he said. 

 

Father Reid Shelton Fernando, patron of the National Movement for Social Justice, addressing the media in Colombo on Jan. 26. (Photo by Quintus Colombage)

 

The 2014 Global Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International, stated Sri Lanka was becoming a highly corrupt country.

To fight this growing problem, a prominent Buddhist monk, the late Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, established the National Movement for Social Justice.

"All religious leaders should come forward to defeat a culture of violence, massive fraud and corruption in the country," said Father Fernando who is now the patron of the movement that organized the media event attended by academics and numerous civil rights organizations.

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