Sri Lanka sees improvement in anti-corruption law enforcement

By B. Mohan

A globally recognised anti-bribery business association and leading provider of shared-cost third-party risk management solutions says there is improvement in anti-corruption law enforcement in Sri Lanka.

While according to Transparency International (TI)’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2019 released in January 2020, Sri Lanka remains stagnant, receiving the same score (38) as the previous year, Trace’s Bribery Risk Matrix has shown signs of improvement in the island, from scoring 62 and ranking 148th in 2018 to scoring 55 and ranking 111th in 2019, out of 200 countries.

Trace’s Bribery Risk Matrix, which was originally developed in 2014, is a function of a range of governmental and societal factors including the quality of the state’s administrative apparatus, the government’s ability to enforce anti-corruption laws, transparency of governmental processes and interests, and the role of press and civil society in exposing and resisting corrupt behavior involving governmental officials, according to Trace’s President and Founder Alexandra Wrage.

Upon querying Trace on the difference in the results of Trace and TI, Wrage told the Colombo Gazette: “Our assessment of these factors is based on more than 60 data points from leading international and non-governmental organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum.”

In contrast, according to Transparency International’s website, “The 2019 CPI is computed using 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories.”

Asked about the change in Sri Lanka’s score and what it reflects, she said: “The change reflects overall improvements in many of these areas, though we see some volatility over time in many of the underlying indicators. The most notable trends over the past few years appear to be improvement in the quality of anti-corruption law enforcement and a greater degree of civil society engagement. If these trends continue, they should help reinforce an environment in which bribery becomes less of a problem.”

Sri Lanka’s score of 55 on Trace’s Bribery Risk Matrix comprised the following:

  • Business Interactions with Government: Sri Lanka receives a medium score of 62 in this domain, based on a medium degree of government interaction, a medium expectation of bribes, and a medium regulatory burden
  • Anti-bribery Deterrence and Enforcement: Sri Lanka receives a medium score of 54 in this domain, based on a low quality of anti-bribery dissuasion and a medium quality of anti-bribery enforcement
  • Government and Civil Service Transparency: Sri Lanka receives a medium score of 57 in this domain, based on medium governmental transparency and medium transparency of financial interests
  • Capacity for Civil Society Oversight: Sri Lanka receives a medium score of 44 in this domain, based on a medium degree of media freedom/quality and a medium degree of civil society engagement

The overall conclusion was that Sri Lanka has a medium risk level for bribery. (Colombo Gazette)