Eliminating corruption, bribery, fraud, Govt’s aim - Minister and Vice President of the SLFP, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa | Sunday Observer

Eliminating corruption, bribery, fraud, Govt’s aim - Minister and Vice President of the SLFP, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa

21 January, 2018

Minister of Disaster Management and Vice President of the SLFP, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa in an interview with the Sunday Observer over the phone, spoke on some crucial issues, including the party decision on fielding President Maithripala Sirisena as the party’s presidential candidate at the next presidential elections, the announcement of the Joint Opposition on fielding former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as its presidential candidate, the importance of the upcoming local government polls and financial losses incurred by the country due to miscalculated bond-investments of the previous regime.


Q. It is generally believed, SLFP leader President Maithripala Sirisena would be the party’s common candidate at the run up to the next presidential polls. Has the party taken a final decision on that?

A. There is time for the next presidential polls, and the party membership has not so far taken this matter up for discussion. We will have to convene a meeting and have a serious discussion.

As of now, President Maithripala Sirisena is the only option.However, we have to arrive at an unanimous decision on fielding him as the party’s common candidate and the decision will be formally announced.

Q. The Joint Opposition(JO)/Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has announced that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will be its presidential candidate at the next presidential polls. Your comments?

A. It is not an unanimous decision, according to my knowledge. Some of the JO members have different views on that. So, we have to wait and see who they would finally announce as their common candidate.

Q. Some political observers have commented that the upcoming local government polls is similar to a referendum in some respects, because the polls that will be held throughout the country, would reflect the minds of the people on whether or not they support the national unity government that has been in power for over 2-1/2 years ?

A. Such a point of view is not correct in the sense that local government polls are meant for the election of representatives from the local communities for the peripheral electorates/wards to work for the respective areas. Simply because polls are being held throughout the country does not imply that it is, in any manner similar to a referendum.

The government’s primary objective, as was pledged, is eliminating corruption, bribery and fraud and the government is doing it in a transparent and systematic manner. Competent and well-qualified senior Supreme Court judges and a qualified Deputy Auditor General were appointed by the President to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to conduct inquiries and investigate into the Treasury bond scam. The Commission has submitted its reports after concluding the inquiries and investigations, transparently. Such steps will make all political leaders, politicians and political parties to ensure that they are clean and free of corruption while serving the people.

The Commission has found some as culprits and recommended that they should be brought before the law. They have robbed the national coffers of huge amounts beginning from 2005.

Corruptions and financial misappropriations of that nature were not investigated into in the past. Now it has been done in a transparent manner. Similar acts perpetrated under the previous regime too have to be investigated and the culprits brought to book so that such looting of national funds would be prevented in the future.

We have to prevent inside trading in Treasury bond matters and other major financial transactions involving government funds through enactment and implementation of necessary laws. The EPF and ETF of the people have been lost. We do not possess the details of similar corrupt acts perpetrated under the previous regime. These have to be investigated into.

Under the previous regime, huge government funds were invested in the Greek government’s treasury bonds. When the Greek government went bankrupt all that money was lost. These were huge amounts. We will have to bring in international experts to have such matters forensically investigated.