Complaints of bribery and corruption against officers in the Public sector registered a significant leap in 2004, with 4626 such complaints being filed at the Bribery Commission, official statistics have revealed.
The Annual Performance Report of the Bribery Commission for 2004, presented to Parliament this week revealed that compared to 2003 jumped 26.7 percent, with the total number of complaints standing at 4626. Of these 1878 were referred for investigation and 787 sent to the record room while 1961 were not subject to investigation the reports states.
A total of 122 officers from 28 Government institutions and Ministries including the Police Department, Armed Forces, Divisional Secretariats and Justice Ministry were arrested and produced before Courts by the Bribery Commission in 2004. Of these 48 were police officers, which is the highest number from a single department.
However investigations were concluded in only 34 cases, with 1 conviction and 11 acquittals. 291 cases were still pending in 2004. 80 cases were pending at the Magistrate`s Court, 186 at the High Court and 25 at the Court of Appeal, the report states.
The report further shows that 59 raids were carried out by the Commissions` Investigative Division in 2004, out of which 22 were successful and 37 unsuccessful.
Raids or investigations were not carried out by the Commission for over one year between February 2003 and July 2004 due to the death of retired Appeal Court Judge T.N Abeywira, who served on the Commission.
Judge Abeywira died on 2 February 2003 and was replaced on 8 July 2004 by another retired Appeal Court Judge M.K Viknarajah. During this period no raids or investigations were conducted, the report states.
With the appointment of Judge Viknarajah, more attention was also paid to publicity activities in 2004 with special focus on newspaper notices, posters and stickers, booklets and lecture notes, awareness programmes, seminars and workshops for government officials.
The Bribery Commission also received an additional Rs. 5.6 million from the Treasury for its work in 2004.
The Treasury allocated Rs. 45.5 million in 2003 and that was increased to 51 million in 2004, which includes a Rs 3 million additional allocation from the Treasury.
The Bribery Commission was established in December 1994 with the objective of eradicating bribery and corruption from society and educating the public to prevent bribery and corruption. The Commission consists of three members. Two of them are retired judges of which the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, and the third member is a person with wide experience in investigations of crime and law enforcement. Their term of office is five years.
The Commission which was appointed on 15th December 1999 expired on 14th December 2004. It was chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge S. Ananda Coomaraswamy.
In addition to T.N Abeywira and K. Viknarajah, the third member on the Commission for the period was retired senior DIG Dr. Kingsley Wickramasuriya