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Dr. Harsha de Silva speaking at the UN Convention against Corruption

Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has taken a host of measures to prevent corruption, to seek out stolen assets and to build the capacity for effectively curbing corruption and bribery, in an effective, comprehensive, result-oriented manner, said by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva.

He made these observations addressing the high level segment of the Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in the Russian City of St. Petersburg on November 03, yesterday. Deputy Minister outlined the independent institutions that have been put in place, especially following the adoption of the 19th Amendment to Constitution, as well as other investigation mechanisms, pursuant to the mandate received by the Government at both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

He also promised that the Government will intensify enhancing the existing domestic legal framework efforts to combat corruption. “Already the UNCAC Gap Analysis has been completed and we have identified the areas in the law and policy, which need to be addressed, as a matter or urgent priority. We also note, with appreciation, the support and cooperation already extended to Sri Lanka by several countries to assist in the recovery of stolen assets. Further, the assistance provided by some of these countries, the World Bank and UNODC have also contributed to capacity building of all agencies.  The international cooperation would no doubt assist Sri Lanka to thaw the malaise of corruption,” Deputy Minister added.

He further stressed that in a country where anti-corruption was only a rhetorical commitment under the last government, all these measures, aimed to contribute towards a culture of good governance, represented a paradigm shift. He also stated that the National Unity Government was encouraging the civil society and the business to assist in combating corruption.

Participating in the 6th Session of the Conference of the State Parties hosted by the Government of Russian Federation, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva also held a number of bi-lateral consultations on the sidelines of the meeting.

The Sri Lanka delegation included Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Vienna Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe, President of the Task Force on Stolen Assets Recovery Attorney J.C. Weliamuna, , Additional Solicitor General Wasantha Bandara, and Minister in the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow Samantha Pathirana.