Crisis of Corruption in Sri Lanka
by Udara Soysa
Mar 6, 2010
The corruption in Sri Lanka has historical roots to the days of the independence. Successive governments had disregarded this trend for their own survival and prosperity. Currently, corruption had infiltrated into every branch of Sri Lankan society and unfortunately, corruption and manipulation of the system had become a norm. If analyzed retrospectively, many of the present day ills can be linked back to corruption. For an example, the conduct of corrupt police and political officials back in 1983 resulted and abetted the three decades lasting terrorism cancer. The corruption that existed in the military during nineties was a major impediment to the military victory. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, the present military leadership expurgated corruption from all branches of military. This was a major factor in winning the war. However, abysmal corruption in all other structures including politics, police and public service continues unabated.

Potential and Dangers
Sri Lanka has a great potential for economic development. Here is a country with a high literacy rate and well-established infrastructure struggling to develop itself for the last fifty years! Some political analysts may source this to the terrorism and ethnic conflict but an in-dept analysis of history will clearly illustrate the fact that war and terrorism is not the source but another by product of corruption. Currently, Sri lankans rejoice at the end of the war, however, unless the current extreme levels of corruption is reduced, it will be a matter of time till Sri Lanka will confront another national tragedy.

Developed countries
Some argue that corruption exists even in developed nations. This argument is somewhat valid yet very much misleading. Although there are isolated cases of corruption, most develop countries lacked a systematic and established forms of corruption like what one sees in Sri Lanka. The corruption in Sri Lanka is multi-layered. The institutionalized politicization of law enforcement agencies also contributed for the perpetuation of the corruption menace in Sri Lanka. The ruling executive regime has the clear control of the police force thus any independent investigations become unfeasible. With the non-existent law enforcement system of checks and balances of ruling regime, higher level corruption thrive perpetuating and nourishing a grand circle of corruption in the country,

Establishment of an independent police commission is one of most vital steps in eradicating corruption in Sri Lanka. Once an independent police commission is established, proper investigations can be done irrespectively of political interference. This will also be the basic infrastructure in re-establishing democracy and good-governance in Sri Lanka.

Udara Soysa is an author, a journalist, an editor and a commentator on Comparative Politics, International Relations and Economics. He is a graduate of Oglethorpe University and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.