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Bribery and Corruption Commission a force to be reckoned with – Justice Minister

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Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapakshe stated in Parliament yesterday (3) that the Bribery and Corruption Commission (BCC) should be strengthened and action taken to punish those who commit fraud and corruption.

The Minister also said that, though the BCC has been given full authority to enforce the law against those involved in fraud and corruption, it is a problem why it is not being actively implemented.

The Minister said this at the debate on the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, Election (Special Provisions) Bill etc.

The Minister further said that a number of decisions have been taken in the recent past to end civil cases quickly, including the establishment of Small Claims Courts (SCC). The maximum financial limit set by the Gazette is Rs 2 million. Hence, from now on, Civil cases of fines less than Rs 2 million in District Courts, will be assigned to the SCC. There are also problems with getting the case transcripts. If someone submits an election petition, it should be done within 21 days.

The Election Expenses Act No. 03 of 2023 was passed in Parliament. Accordingly, the amount expended by a candidate contesting an election has been limited, and should not be exceeded. The Election Special Provisions Bill will also be presented to the House today. If an aggrieved party wants to file an election petition, the present time limit of 21 days being insufficient, has been increased to 41 days.

The ruling party and opposition groups said there is a problem with the appointments to the BCC, which is true. This Bill has labored for more than a year and in accordance with the United Nations Anti-corruption Charter, even international experts read it and it was passed in Parliament, despite the obstacles.

Other Acts should be interpreted under the Constitution. The people demanded a system change, which the Government at that time could not do, resulting in a people’s revolution, and the Government of the day was sent home. We took on many responsibilities that we could not bear. There was not a single dollar in the Treasury at that time. We were able to bring it to this point today. The people also helped with that. We have received great praise from the international community for being able to reach this level within a year, from among the 30 to 40 countries in the world whose economies collapsed.

The Election Corruption Act was passed. People entering Parliament should be filtered and brought. The Opposition is against the introduction f anti-fraud laws. The Opposition leader says there are people in the Government who commit fraud and corruption. It is the Opposition that supports it. And then they accuse it themselves. The BCC has been given the sword to prevent fraud and corruption. The Minister of Justice has not been given the authority to stop bribery and corruption. The President does not have that power either. This power belongs to the BCC. Don’t point fingers at the Government after this regarding fraud and corruption. The 225 members of Parliament have done everything possible to prevent this. We have strengthened the legal system in this country.

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