COLOMBO – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena called on Sunday for an end to corruption during an address to the nation to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s independence from British colonial rule.
Patriotism in present day Sri Lanka, Sirisena said, should mean working with honesty.
“The need of the hour is ending corruption and fraud in the country,” he said.
The president, who has completed his third year in power, also called for reforming archaic laws that make the fight against corruption a challenge.
The Independence Day celebrations included a grand military parade in Colombo, attended by Prince Edward of the United Kingdom and his wife Sophie as the guests of honor.
Sirisena came to power with the promise of tackling corruption and transforming the political culture that was prevalent under his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, although three years down the line, many of his promises have remained stuck in a limbo.
Just a month after he took office, a scandal involving fraud in bond issuance in the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had broken, and had led to the resignation of then-Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
The commission’s report, presented last month, had recommended taking legal actions against the governor of the Central Bank, Arujana Mahedran, whom Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe had publicly defended.