Since unlimited power begets corruption, Sri Lanka has taken several important measures during the last three years to break the nexus between power and corruption, President Maithripala Sirisena said.
The President made this observation addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2018 at the Tbilisi Conference and Convention Hall in Georgia on July 18.
Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze presided over the inaugural ceremony attended by Presidents, Prime Ministers, Speakers, Ministers and other delegates from 75 nations.
President Sirisena further elucidating on the steps taken by Sri Lanka to promote principles relating to Open Government Partnership said when he assumed power, the Executive Presidency wielded enormous powers unprecedented anywhere else in the world.
Within six months of assuming power as President, he transferred those excessive powers to Parliament through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, thereby strengthening Parliament. The President said earlier, all top posts including the Chief Justice, Supreme Court Judges, IGP, the Attorney General and members of various Commissions were appointed at the discretion of the President.
“Today, these appointments are made by a Constitutional Council appointed by Parliament,” the President said.
President Sirisena who said that even the Judiciary was subject to corruption due to political power when he assumed office added that the present government led by him had re-established the independence of the Judiciary.
All Commissions, including the Commission Investigating Bribery and Corruption have been strengthened and have become independent devoid of any outside interference.
President Sirisena said a politician or any public official should try to minimise his powers and delegate power to a collective by Constitutional means.
“The government was now involved in creating awareness about this among public officials through workshops and seminars while creating awareness among the people about the manner in which civil society should exercise its powers to combat fraud and corruption by organising workshops and seminars in this connection,” President Sirisena said.
A press release by the President's Media Division said the inaugural session was held on the theme of “Utilising open government collective agreements for the benefit and welfare of member countries”.
The Open Government Partnership was established at international level in 2011 and Sri Lanka joined it in 2015. In appreciation of the Good Governance programme by the government, this year’s Heads of government summit will focus attention on global efforts towards strengthening efforts to face challenges in combating corruption and strengthening civil opportunities and public service. The summit will conclude tomorrow.