Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the local chapter of the global movement against corruption, on Friday called for an urgent response from the President Maithripala Sirisena to the corruption allegations raised against him by an Australian media organization.
The anti-corruption watchdog expressed concern about the recent allegation published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) against President Sirisena in a report on Wednesday.
“Transparency International Sri Lanka notes with concern the recent media allegations published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) against President Maithripala Sirisena.”
According to an ABC report, the engineering giant Snowy Mountain Engineering Company (SMEC), headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, is being investigated over claims that its staff sought approval to pay kickbacks to foreign officials, including a donation to the party of President Sirisena when he was a cabinet minister in 2009.
ABC report said that SMEC’s leaked internal company emails also revealed claims from SMEC’s Sri Lankan manager in 2009 that then senior minister Maithripala Sirisena and one of his advisers allegedly requested a “political donation” before signing cabinet papers for a $1.82 million dam contract sought by SMEC.
Transparency International Sri Lanka said “The commitment to strengthen anti-corruption efforts underpins President Sirisena’s yahapalanaya (good governance) mandate.”
“Furthermore, given the need for responsibility to be taken for the actions of those working under his control, Transparency International Sri Lanka requests President Sirisena to urgently provide a detailed response to the allegations put forward.,” the organization said.
The President has denied any connection “whatsoever in such an incident” and instructed the Attorney General of Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations.
“President Sirisena emphasizes that during his political career, he had never indulged in any form of corruption or malpractice or encouraged or involved in any such activity,” a President’s Media Division (PMD) statement said.