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President Maithripala Sirisena says the most important decision in the process of preventing and eliminating the bribery, corruption and malpractices, is to avert circumstances which provide an environment for corrupt practices, rather than punishing the offenders.   

He made these remarks addressing the National Anti-Corruption Conference held in Colombo, today (09) in parallel to the International Anti-Corruption Day.

The President said that all the ministries, departments, corporations and statutory boards should gather at least once in 03 months, under the patronage of the respective head of those institutions, to discuss the methods and procedures that should be taken to prevent bribery, corruption and malpractices within their institutions.

The President pointed out that still in some departments and institutions bribery and corruption being carried out in an organized manner and it is the responsibility of all the heads of the institutions to stand against those malpractices, as well as to provide the government revenue to the Treasury without any fraud and corruption practices, he said.

President Sirisena said that not only Government Officials but also some politicians refrain from signing certain documents fearing that they might have to go before FCID and added that if one fulfills his or her respective duties in a proper manner they should not be fearful in that way.  The President requested all of them, not to use inappropriate slogans in the current context where the Government runs with the concept of Good governance.

The President pointed out the unfair nature of conducting investigations targeting only one section of the society and said that the neutrality and equality is expected from all the institutions which are established to enforce the law against the bribery and corruption.

Giving bribes also a wrongful act, similar to taking bribes and the aim of this Conference is to deliver a message to the politicians, state officials as well as to the public for a more precise correct journey, the President said.

This Conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of Law and order and Southern Development, Presidential Secretariat and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, under the theme “Supilipan Palanayak”, according to a concept by the President to apprise politicians, state officials and respective parties regarding the importance of creating a corruption free society to achieve the development goals of Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena also participated in the Session on ‘Corruption Through Election Expenditure,’ chaired by the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya.

The President recalled his experiences in six Parliamentary elections, he contested since 1989, said that those who are guilty of election malpractices are not the candidates but the electoral system.

In order to prevent election corrupt practices, the preferential candidate system must be abolished and a new system must be established, he said.

President Sirisena went round the exhibition of paintings organized on the sidelines of the National Anti-Corruption Conference.

Several; ministers, parliamentarians, officials and civil society activists participated in the Conference.

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