Sri Lanka gazettes new anti-corruption bill to comply with IMF’s 2.9 billion loan deal

Sri Lanka has gazetted a new anti-corruption bill that is in line with the conditions listed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before approving the $2.9 billion loan to bail out the economic crisis-hit nation.

A gazette was published on Thursday on the order of Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, listing some of the objectives of the proposed act.

These rules, according to the act, are meant to prevent and eradicate bribery and corruption in order to meet the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society; enhance transparency in governance; strengthen integrity of governance and increase accountability.

The provisions of the act, once passed, would pave way for the formation of an independent commission which will be mandated to conduct preliminary inquiries and investigations into, and to prosecute against, bribery, corruption, offences relating to declaration of assets and liabilities and associated offences.

If the draft bill is enacted, it will enable the authorities to introduce an effective system for the declaration of assets and liabilities in order to prevent illicit enrichment by public officials, promote inter-agency cooperation and international collaboration in preventing bribery and corruption.

It will also give effect to obligations under the United Nations Convention against corruption and any other International Convention relating to the prevention of corruption to which Sri Lanka is a party and recognise international standards and best practices in order to establish a culture of integrity in Sri Lanka.

Before approving the loan, the IMF had urged Sri Lanka to reduce corruption by improving fiscal transparency and public financial management and introducing a stronger anti-corruption legal framework.

On April 2, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Sri Lankan government will enact key points of its agreement with the IMF into law upon parliamentary approval, one of which would be new anti-corruption legislation which would likely be enacted in May. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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