Ensuring a culture of integrity in public sector in Sri Lanka will help fight corruption, ensure transparency and lay the foundations for sustainable growth, said Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, Solicitor General and noted that she firmly believes integrity is something that people have to develop from their childhood.
“It is the way you mould your life from the beginning. I’m a great believer that even if you didn’t have integrity yesterday, there is nothing to prevent you’re having integrity from today and onwards,” said Ms. Wickramasinghe addressing a seminar themed ‘Ethical Responsibility of Professional Accountants in the Public Sector’ organized by the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL), the public sector wing of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) in Colombo this week.
“As a Buddhist, I’m a firm believer that people can change. People’s minds can be used to do wrong or right things. If your mind can be used to do a wrong thing, it is also so much easier to convince someone to do the right thing.”
Ms. Wickramasinghe also said that it is essential for public sector employees to ensure that they do engage in doing the right thing, when no one else is watching them and noted that it is the landmark, threshold of integrity. “If you are unable to do the right thing when no one is watching you, then I urge all the public sector employees in this country to mould you to have that integrity before it’s not too late,” she said.
She also said that corrupt actions have a ripple effect, creating unperceivable repercussions, adding that it is the duty of the public sector employees to ensure that they don’t contribute to the corrupt system.
She noted that the sovereignty of the country rests with the citizens of Sri Lanka and it is those citizens who have delegated those sovereign powers to politicians to govern the people of this country.
“Each and every one of us delegates our sovereign power to be exercised on our behalf to the politicians. In Sri Lanka everything is free from the time you conceive in your mother’s womb, and you are entitled to receive free health clinical facilities, free education up to university level,” she noted.
“When you become a public sector employee one day, people in this country ask one thing from you, that’s is to look after their interests. Hence we’re in fact the servants of people. It is the people who’re our employees. We’re the trustees of public policies or everything that we do; we do on behalf of the people of this country,” Ms. Wickramasinghe pointed out, “Our actions and thoughts as public servants will be remembered even after we are no more. When people come to your funeral, they will say what type of a public servant you are”.