AG to fast track big corruption cases
The Attorney General’s Department has been instructed to prioritize
prosecutions on large scale corruption cases. This comes in the wake of
President Maithripala Sirisena instructing the AG’s Department to fast
track high profile cases and large scale fraud.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the Sunday Observer that there was
undue delay on the part of the AG’s Department regarding large scale
fraud cases involving Ministers of the former regime.
“The President has instructed that major scandals during the last
regime must be prioritized. The Attorney General said there were about
8000 files pending. What we want is files dealing with huge scandals to
be processed fast and action taken,” he said.
The AG’s Department came under fire for going slow on high profile
cases of the last regime. The Department has sighted a backlog as being
the cause for the delay. However, the Minister insisted that there were
deliberate attempts to cause delays.
“The AG’s Department is delaying some cases on purpose. Now under the
new AG, cases are being processed, but he needs a bit of time to get
through the backlog,” Minister Seneratne said.
A senior official of the Department said they have been instructed by
the President “to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in
Senaratne and three other Ministers submitted a Cabinet paper three
weeks ago, calling for a full report on investigations. However, the
President dismissed the idea of facilitating a meeting with officials
responsible for investigations to obtain an update.
“Delays in investigations regarding huge scams is a serious problem.
When there are cases against them for fraud amounting to billions,
investigators were chasing after smaller frauds of a few millions.
If investigations are not carried out properly, the public will also
lose faith in the investigations and assume that these are baseless
allegations. That’s exactly what the Opposition want. They insist that
these are baseless allegations,” he said.
According to Minister Senaratne, investigators claim that they have
carried out investigations and were awaiting the AG’s instructions and
the delay was solely on the part of the AG’s Department.