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Mar 09, 2017

TISL and political leaders messing up RTI queries

Transparency International SL (TISL) that filed RTI requests to obtain information on assets and liabilities of President Sirisena and PM Wickramasinghe has blundered from end to end, says senior journalist Kusal Perera, who told SLM RTI desk, "They don't even know where these requests have to be filed."

Presidential secretariat has also bungled trying to bluff using the Speaker, as Speaker's rulings even if valid for parliamentarians, does not apply to the Executive President, Mr. Perera. The PM's office too has bluffed, he says, without re-routing the RTI request to the parliamentary Secretary General, with whom the TISL should have filed their request for information on PM's assets and liabilities.

As an organisation that does awareness creation on RTI Act No.12 of 2016, the TISL should have known the basic fact that President's assets and liabilities is with the Election Commission (EC) if he had handed over the declaration with his nomination for the 2015 January presidential election. The fact is Assets & Liabilities Act as at present does not make it mandatory to hand over assets & liabilities declarations when filing nominations, Mr. Perera explained.

For all other declarations on assets and liabilities by MP's including the PM, if they had handed over the declarations at the time of nominations, that could be asked for from the EC and thereafter the annual declarations from the SG of parliament, said Mr. Perera answering the SLM RTI desk.


He then said, despite the TISL bungling on their requests made, the President as head of State and the PM as head of government have a political obligation to declare their assets and liabilities publicly without bluffing and ducking away from such queries. "They promised to clean all corruptions and frauds and a new culture of transparency and accountability in governance," he added.

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