Making progress in the fight against corruption is good for Sri Lanka, for Sri Lankans and for Sri Lankan businesses, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris said.
Speaking on “Corporate Governance: staying ahead of the risk of corruption,” the High Commissioner said if corruption was tackled properly, it will be easier for Sri Lankan business to proper.
“Get it right, at least get it better, and it will be easier for Sri Lankan businesses to prosper, will help companies and country alike to attract investment, and will enhance the country’s international reputation,” he said.
He said he is proud of the work the High Commission has been doing, at the invitation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to share experience of tackling financial crime with practitioners in Sri Lanka.
“We have had colleagues from our Serious Fraud Office working in Colombo with local agencies, sharing expertise and providing training that we hope will help to lead to successful prosecutions,” he said.
The High Commissioner said in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by Transparency International, Sri Lanka is ranked 95 out of 175 countries, with a score of 36%.
“India is ranked 79 with a score of 40%. The report comments that the year’s results highlight the link between corruption and inequality. In turn, Transparency International assesses, the interplay between corruption and inequality feeds political populism,” he said.
He said the UK can’t and don’t claim to have beaten corruption but the country do take it seriously. “We take the fight against it seriously, and we demand that companies with links to the UK take it seriously,” he said.
In May 2016, the UK hosted the first Anti-Corruption Summit for heads of state and government – its purpose to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life
“It was good to have President Maithripala Sirisena representing Sri Lanka at the Summit, at which he said that Sri Lanka would be working towards making the public service corruption-free at all levels, and addressing corruption within the private sector.
These are laudable goals. The recent passing of the Right to Information Act provides a useful tool to help advance these goals,” he said.