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Officials bear the responsibility for the misuse of state resources

Legal officer of TISL Lakwijaya Bandara explaning the gazette by EC to media/ RepublicNext

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is pointing out that it is the responsibility of the public officers, not the politicians’ to prevent the misuse of public property during the elections.

At a press conference held this morning (8 Oct) in Colombo Executive Director of TISL Asoka Obeyesekere said that public officials need to be very vigilant at this election and should be able to withstand political pressures with regard to the use of state resources in election activities.

“We have seen the ultimate accountability lands on the shoulders of public officers,” he added.

TISL urged the public to complain against the misuse of state resources during the election period through hotline numbers 076 322 3662 and 076 322 3442.

Obeysekere further said that the Program for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR), the election monitoring arm of TISL, has played a significant role as an election monitor since 2002 and serves as the only body exclusively monitoring the misuse of public property.

And that ahead of the 2019 presidential election, the PPPR has mobilised 25 district level observers who will be responsible for coordinating 160 observers in each electorate in the country.

He also said that the extraordinary Gazette issued by the Election Commission on 19 Sept 2019 contains all the guidelines and directions that the election commission provides on how state resources should be protected and prevent abusive use of them.

Obeysekere also said that the Gazette provides a clear direction on the conduct of public officials in areas such as appointments, transfers and promotions while it also provides directions on the use of state vehicles and conduct of special events during the election period.

“Failure to comply with directions of the election commission could result in public officials facing up to 3 years imprisonment or a fine up to Rs. 100,000 or both as per article 104GG of the constitution,” he said.

He added that this provision was not there last time as this provision was enacted under the 19th amendment to the constitution.

He said that TISL has received 10 complaints so far with regard to the misuse of state resources and other election violations mentioned in the gazette. He said yesterday observers were able to stop a state bank in Puttalam from giving new appointments without prior approval of the Election Commission through the intervention of the police.