Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has written to all members of the current Parliament to step forward to change the political culture of the country by publicly disclosing their asset declarations for 2020/2021.
TISL calls on the public representatives of Sri Lanka to follow the example set by 12 Members of Parliament (MPs) of the previous parliament, from various parties, who came forward to unilaterally publish their asset declarations in the public domain, marking a significant shift towards a culture of electoral accountability. TISL also encourages all elected officials at the Provincial Council and Local Government level to join the cause by publicly disclosing their asset declarations.
TISL recalls that in February this year, the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) in the matter of Chamara Sampath vs Parliament of Sri Lanka, has stated that the Parliament should release immediately the list of Members of Parliament (MPs) who have handed over their respective Declarations of Assets and Liabilities from 2010 to 2018. TISL is greatly encouraged by the interest shown by journalists and other activists to take up the cause of asset declaration transparency.
In the past, TISL has also requested similar information from the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers Sri Lanka and the information was disclosed with no hesitation. One of the first RTI applications since the RTI Act was operationalized in Sri Lanka in 2017, filed by TISL, was on asset declarations. There as well, the RTI Commission ruled in favor of disclosure, deciding that the Presidential Secretariat should release to TISL the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities of the then Prime Minister to TISL. This historic decision made by the RTI Commission enabled TISL to lobby all 225 MPs to unilaterally publicly disclose asset declarations as an example of their commitment to an open democracy.
Following the recent decision of the RTI Commission, TISL revives its call to all MPs to step forward to take up the cause of accountability by disclosing their asset declarations to the public and to their own electorates, while submitting the respective Declarations of Assets and Liabilities to the relevant authorities by the statutory deadline of 30th June 2021.
TISL is hopeful that all elected officials at both the provincial and local council level will also join the members of parliament who have already taken this step and publicly disclose their asset declarations via any suitable means.