TISL asks Election Commission to penalize candidates over offences against public property

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Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is calling on the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL), to pursue prosecutions against individuals and parties who have committed offences against public property in the run up to the 2019 presidential poll. As at the beginning of the campaign moratorium on 13 November, TISL’s election monitoring arm, the Program for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) had received 112 complaints and had submitted 88 verified complaints to the ECSL.

Major incidents reported to TISL during the campaign period include appointments granted by the Ceylon Electricity Board, the publishing of promotional newspaper supplements by the Ministry of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment, and the use of Sri Lanka Air Force helicopters to transport senior politicians to and from campaign rallies.

Article 104GG of the constitution empowers the authorities to take strict measures against public officials who fail to comply with directions or guidelines issued by the ECSL by prescribing a prison term of up to 3 years. TISL is encouraged by recent commitments made by the ECSL to be the driving force in prosecuting those who have committed such offences. However, serious abuses of public resources continue to be reported and accountability is a must.

TISL officially commenced its election monitoring activity on 1 October 2019, deploying 25 district observers and a network of 160 electorate observers under their purview. Complaints were also received from the public through our hotlines 076 322 3442 and 076 322 3662 and via e-mail to pppr@tisrilanka.org. These channels will remain open during the campaign moratorium. TISL calls on all parties and the general public to respect the rules of the campaign moratorium period.