Sri Lanka’s pros­e­cu­tor Wick­ra­mas­inghe quits

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s top an­ti­cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tor re­signed yes­ter­day after Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena ac­cused her of launch­ing po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated in­ves­ti­ga­tions into for­mer mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing the brother of his pre­de­ces­sor. Sirisena, who came to power last year promis­ing to end cor­rup­tion and re­store rule of law, took the un­usual step of pub­licly con­demn­ing Dil­ruk­shi Wick­ra­mas­inghe last week over the pros­e­cu­tion of three re­tired admirals and the for­mer de­fense sec­re­tary.

Yes­ter­day Wick­ra­mas­inghe re­signed as head of the Com­mis­sion to In­ves­ti­gate Al­le­ga­tions of Bribery or Cor­rup­tion (CIABOC), com­mis­sion mem­ber Neville Gu­ruge said. Sources close to her said the pres­i­dent’s public com­ments last week prompted her de­ci­sion. Wick­ra­mas­inghe, a se­nior pros­e­cu­tor from the state At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s depart­ment, has launched sev­eral high-pro­file in­ves­ti­ga­tions against mem­bers of the for­mer regime and the fam­ily of for­mer pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japakse.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Sirisena, who said last week that mil­i­tary com­man­ders who led the suc­cess­ful cam­paign to crush sep­a­ratist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009 should not be hu­mil­i­ated in such a man­ner. The pres­i­dent ac­cused Wick­ra­mas­inghe’s CIABOC of work­ing ac­cord­ing to a “po­lit­i­cal agenda” and vowed to take un­spec­i­fied “stern ac­tion” against it and two other anti-cor­rup­tion bod­ies, the Fi­nan­cial Crimes In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion (FCID) and the Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion (CID). An­a­lysts said the pres­i­dent’s re­marks sig­naled a rift be­tween him and the na­tional unity gov­ern­ment led by Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe, which over­sees the FCID and the CID. The two men are from ri­val par­ties, but made com­mon cause to top­ple for­mer strong­man Ra­japakse, whose en­tire fam­ily and clos­est as­so­ci­ates face al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion as well as mur­der. Mem­bers of the for­mer regime are ac­cused of si­phon­ing bil­lions of dol­lars from the coun­try dur­ing Ra­japakse’s decade in power that ended on Jan­uary 8, 2015. The new gov­ern­ment is yet to de­liver on prom­ises to the UN that it will in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that troops un­der Ra­japakse’s com­mand killed at least 40,000 Tamil civil­ians while bat­tling sep­a­ratists in the fi­nal months of an eth­nic war that ended in 2009.

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