The Bribery Commission has begun probing the allegations relating to the controversial MiG 27 transactions, its chairman said yesterday.
`We have received sufficient material for an investigation on the complaint lodged with the Commission,` Chairman Ameer Ismail said.
`If the legal division is satisfied that there is a prima facie case, the Commission will start recording statements from the parties involved` he said.
Mr. Ismail, a retired Supreme Court Judge said complaints with incriminating evidence against a large number of politicians in the present and previous administrations had been received by the Commission.
The Commission has received 2146 written complaints pertaining to bribery or corruption in the first six months of this year. However, only 1156 or 54% of the complaints have been found to have enough evidence for further investigation. Of the total number of complaints received, 212 were under pseudonymous complaints and another 778 were anonymous, Justice Ismail said.
He however lamented about the lack of facilities at the Commission saying only 98 police officers were servicing the commission when the approved cadre was 180. The Commission had only 12 old cars and 13 motor cycles to conduct investigations island-wide, he added.
Commission`s Investigations Director Neville Guruge said up to June this year 117 detections had been made out of which 53 persons were arrested. Among the arrested were 19 police officers, 9 grama niladharis, one divisional secretary, one school principal, one pradeshiya sabha chairman, one inland revenue assessor and one accountant. The number of raids conducted in 2006 was 233 and 115 persons had been arrested. Among them were 40 police officers, 9 grama niladharis, two mayors, one pradeshiya saba member, four school principals, one deputy principal, three teachers, two assistant superintendents of the customs and two fisheries inspectors, SSP Guruge said.
Mr. Guruge emphasized the necessity to establish an independent separate investigation unit comprising specially trained officers.
`When policemen conduct raids and investigations, a lot of allegations are made in respect of their independence. Besides, Sri Lanka is the only country that employs police officers to conduct raids and investigations on bribery and corruption. All other countries in the region have separate independent investigation units with specially trained officers outside police service to deal with these,` SSP Guruge said.