The Lanka Academic

VOL. 5, NO. 179

RESEARCH CULTURE IN SRI LANKA How can we stimulate a culture of research and innovation in Sri Lanka today? Countries such as India, Korea and China have come a long way since about 10 years ago in fostering a culture of research and innovation. Sri Lanka is still lagging behind. Here is your chance to change the future course of Sri Lanka by influencing the policy makers. Please complete this survey here.
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Curfew imposed in northwestern Sri Lankan town, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri October 1, 2004 14:09 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- A curfew was imposed from early Friday until dusk at Sri Lanka - 's northwestern coast town of Mannar after a group of Muslims attacked the Tamil Tiger rebels'office overnight, the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said.

The attack, which was linked to the killing of a man suspected to be a drug smuggler on Thursday night near Pesalai, 15 kilometers west of Mannar, appeared to be aimed at prompting communal violence in the area, a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)rebels in the town said. No one was injured in the attacks on our office, he added.

The signboard of the LTTE's political office in Mannar town was damaged by another group of Muslims around midnight, local police said. One of the two men who was riding a motorbike from Mannar towards their Muslim village around 8:30 p.m. Thursday was shot dead by a group of unidentified gunmen who had trailed them on another motorbike.

Associates of the dead man gathered together and attacked the LTTE office on Moor Street when his body was brought to Mannar base hospital, a police officer said. The Muslims, the second largest minority group after the Tamils in the country, have constantly complained the rebel harassment, extortion and abduction of their members in the east after the rebels signed the ceasefire agreement with the previous government of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in February 2002.

Copyright 2004 XINHUA all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
Published: Fri Oct 1 20:46:50 EDT 2004

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Police impose curfew in northern Sri Lanka  - Associated Press

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U.S. Senator Richard C. Lugar (R-In) Holds Hearing On Combatting Multilateral Development Bank Corruption
Associated Press, Thu September 30, 2004 16:43 EDT . - - I go into detail about a couple of projects which I think -- recent projects, which are particularly outrageous. One, a waste water treatment plant in Thailand. The other, a major highway construction transport project in Sri Lanka - .

We would like the committee, really, to go to the Treasury Department and ask for independent forensic corruption audits of these projects.

I would like to mention just a couple of the points in the Sri Lanka - project because it has some analogies with the Lesotho that was discussed in detail in the last hearing.

This was a $90 million loan for road construction in southern Sri Lanka - . Here, just as in Lesotho, you had a case of an allegedly corrupt contractor that hires and agent to do the corrupting. The agent, I guess appropriately enough, was called, quote, Access International, end quote; reputedly had high contacts in the Sri Lankan prime minister's office. And it purportedly bribed the project authority to try to win the bid for this project.

The company in question is a Japanese company, Kumagi Gi (ph). In the pre-bidding, the pre-qualification, the company didn't qualify. Among the other things, they had a net negative financial risk and could have been threatened with bankruptcy.

Following, three other companies did qualify. The Asian Development Bank then sent a letter, allegedly, to the Sri Lankan treasury, asking them by way of exception to consider -- nevertheless concerning this company. The company then was allowed to submit a second bid, after all the other companies had made their bids, since they knew what the bids were, and it's bid was slightly under what was required. It won the contract.

The road was built in a totally different -- in a somewhat different place with cost overruns of nearly 100 percent and displacement of hundreds of households, thousands of people, environmental impacts, wetland being affected, five temples being partly damaged, so on and so forth.

In the Sri Lankan newspapers, the attorney general, on the front pages of Sri Lanka - , was quoted, he was asked, Well, why did you allow this company, after it hadn't pre-qualified, to bid? And it violated Sri Lankan procurement rules, ADB procurement rules and so on. He's quoted as saying, Well, we wouldn't have even thought of it, except the ADB sent us this request saying we should, and it's an ADB project.

Well, what is particularly indicative of the state of the anti- corruption investigations in Sri Lanka - , for the ADB, is that last year, 2003, the anti-corruption unit sent its first proactive mission to investigate corruption in procurement in ADB projects in Sri Lanka - . And they looked at a few, and they chose another project in which they found no corruption. Though, I was told they did notice weak financial controls where, if someone had been corrupt, they could have stolen money. But they found nothing.

But they didn't look at the most notorious project in the country, ADB project, which is all over the front pages of the newspapers. And I have two articles from those Sri Lankan newspapers that I'd like to submit for the record.

In our statement, we look at two studies that were conducted recently -- one just a few months ago, by the Bank Information Center -- looking expressly at how the ADB is implementing its anti- corruption policy. It came out with an anti-corruption policy in 1998. In 2000, it issued operational procedures for anti-corruption.

And basically these procedures require that you assess, which is a logical first step, assess the risk of corruption in its country lending strategies and specific project appraisal reports and in post- project evaluations.

While this study that the Bank Information Center called, quote, Zero Tolerance? -- because the zero tolerance is a quotation from the ABD's anti-corruption policy -- looked at a whole variety of studies, dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens, and there's a remarkably consistent record of nonimplementation.

The issue of corruption hardly appears in a whole number of country-strategies, project appraisal reports and post-project evaluations conducted in the past four years, when the ADB anti- corruption policy was in effect.

Similarly, environmental defense looked at 49 different project evaluation reports of the ADB in recent years, and a number of them really did identify irregularities that would be a proxy for corruption -- huge cost overruns, substandard road contracting irregularities, et cetera, et cetera. But the word corruption never appears. There's no investigation of corruption.

Well, to conclude, what's the ADB doing to fight corruption, and what should be done more? Well, we mentioned that the donor's agreement and this new human resources strategy, which is supposed to be a lynchpin of changing the institutional culture, doesn't hardly mention the word corruption. There is nothing very specific in the human resources strategy, which apparently was discussed in the ADB board yesterday, about how they are going to address corruption.

So we think that before the committee authorizes $460 million for the Asian Development Fund, a lot more questions need to be answered. And perhaps directives need to be attached to the legislation that would accompany that authorization.

Certainly the human resources strategy -- there needs to be much more specificity of how they are going to create incentives and deal with, mechanically, with the issues of auditing corruption. Naturally, they need, simply, to apply their existing policies. And for that you need more resources, more staff, et cetera.

There's a new public information policy that's being elaborated right now. A lot more can be done there to make all kinds of information public, which is to affected people in the recipient countries and, frankly, to the parliaments and the U.S. Congress. They have to authorize all this money.

To start with, the ADB should publish much more detail on its own internal budget and how its allocating our resources to focus more on monitoring in administration of loans, rather than promoting loan approval.

You had mentioned and the Undersecretary Taylor mentioned the issue of debarment proceedings in the anti-corruption units of the MDBs. The ADB does not make public its debarment of companies or individuals for corruption. They should do this.

And this whole issue of cross-debarment, of harmonization on anti-corruption actions, needs to be -- is a great recommendation, and the U.S. should really promote that very vigorously.

The ADB has an anti-corruption unit, which they are trying -- I just spent an hour and a half talking to the auditor-general on the phone in Manila. And he's a candid man, fighting an uphill battle.

But they need more resources and staff. There's only five people in the ADB anti-corruption unit. There's 55 in the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity, and I think Richard Thornberg has even, in his report, said that they should have as much resources as they need in the World Bank. So the ADB level of staffing and their own anti-corruption unit, to be proportional to the World Bank, would be at the level of around 14.

Published: Thu Sep 30 19:45:20 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sinhala film legend Gamini dies
BBC, September 30. Famous Sinhala cinema actor and producer Gamini Fonseka died on Thursday at the age of 68. Gamini, who passed away at his home in Ja ela in western Sri Lanka, was considered the most important actor of the Sinhala screen. Gamini in the award-winning Gamperaliya He proved a versatile actor who was at ease with art films as well as commercial cinema. Gamini began his career as a technician in the earlier films of celebrated director Lester James Pieris. Born Sembuge Don Shelton Gamini Fonseka on 21 March 1936, he first started acting in the late 1950s. Gamini not only revolutionised the acting style of Sinhala screen, but also worked hard to change attitudes in the industry. More...
Published: Thu Sep 30 12:47:56 EDT 2004 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Veteran Sinhala actor Gamini Fonseka dies  - TamiLnet

Dyson: Sri Lanka are still on track, October 1, 2004. After the disappointment of their early exit from the Champions Trophy, after an error-strewn fielding performance on a bitterly cold autumnal day at the Rose Bowl, John Dyson, Sri Lanka's ever-upbeat coach, has predicted a quick resumption of Sri Lanka's winning run in Pakistan this month... Back to the top

Lankan Minister defends Sethu project, October 2. CHENNAI: The Sri Lankan Minister of Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, on Friday said the implementation of Sethusamadram project would not affect the operation of the Colombo port... Back to the top

Viet Nam, Sri Lanka boost friendship activities, 10/01/2004 . Ha Noi (VNA) -- A delegation of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) led by VUFO Vice President Pham Van Chuong paid a nine-day visit to Sri Lanka ending Sept... Back to the top

Developing Countries Propose WTO Study
Associated Press, Fri October 1, 2004 13:25 EDT . SAM CAGE - Associated Press Writer - Mauritius is sponsoring the proposal, along with Bangladesh; Dominican Republic; Fiji; Madagascar; Sri Lanka - ; and Uganda... Back to the top

Mobile phone revolution boosts rural Sri Lanka, Friday, October 1, 2004. After 25 years selling fruit and vegetables at a market in downtown Colombo, Sri Lankan trader MW Ranjith made an investment that to his amazement transformed his life and his business -- he bought a mobile phone... Back to the top

Cops dash man s plan to fly to Lanka with fake passport
com, Oct 1. A 37-year-old man, who tried to board a Sri Lankan Airways flight bound for Colombo with fake passports, was arrested at the Chennai international airport this morning... Back to the top

Muslims in Ampara demand immediate stop to LTTE harassment
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 11.55 p.m.. Normalcy in Ampara district were disrupted today when over a thousand Muslim civilians launched an agitation campaign, demanding an immediate stop to continuous LTTE harassment meted out to them... Back to the top

LTTE rejects govt request to release the two home guards
J. S. Nalin in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 11.54 p.m.. Despite continuous government pressure, the LTTE has totally rejected the release of two home guards detained by them and have insisted that the two home guards would release only if the government release ten of its cadres... Back to the top

Sri Lanka president slams Tamil Tiger rebels for alleged killing spree
Associated Press, Thu September 30, 2004 04:41 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Thursday blasted the Tamil Tiger rebels for an alleged killing spree that threatens to derail the country's fragile cease-fire... Back to the top

Traffic jams in Colombo costs a whopping RS. 20 billion annually
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 8.57 p.m.. Traffic jams in Colombo costs the country a whopping Rs. 20 billion a year in terms of wasted time and fuel, says the National Transport Commission. This revelation comes amidst plans by the Colombo Traffic Police to introduce a new traffic system in a bid to reduce the City’s ever infuriating traffic jams... Back to the top

Sri Lanka targets overall economic growth despite reversal, XINHUA
Associated Press, Thu September 30, 2004 08:32 EDT . COLOMBO, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka - 's Central Bank said Thursday that despite a slide in economic growth in the second quarter of the current year, the overall anticipated growth could still be achievable. Releasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the second quarter of 2004, the bank said the economy had grown by 5.2 percent which is lower than the 5.6 percent during the corresponding period last year and the 6.2 per cent growth recorded during January to March this year... Back to the top

JVP wants all party conference to reduce sky rocketing cost of living
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 8.54 p.m.. The Government’s main ally, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have proposed for the establishment of an all party conference headed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to find ways and means out of the present sky rocketing cost of living... Back to the top

“Speed and reliability 'SINE QUANON' for the very existence of the global aviation industry says Mangala
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 8.52 p.m.. Sri Lanka’s civil aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera has stressed that Speed and reliability, which he said, was 'SINE QUANON' for the very existence of the global aviation industry... Back to the top

Meditation serves different purposes
Associated Press, Thu September 30, 2004 12:16 EDT . - - First, a few things about Ravi: He is a Buddhist from Sri Lanka - , and he practices meditation as a way of life... Back to the top

“We are also concerned about the killings spree,” LTTE tells Norway
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 8.47 p.m.. The LTTE leadership has claimed that its organisation is ‘equally concerned’ about the recent spree of killings... Back to the top

Home guards must go through ‘LTTE judicial process” before being released
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, September 30, 2004, 8.46 p.m.. The LTTE is reported to have informed the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that their organisation will not release the two abducted home guards... Back to the top

Associated Press, Wed September 29, 2004 10:06 EDT . - - uption investigations. The Anti-Corruption Unit should be given more resources to conduct more numerous and frequent proactive spot corruption and procurement investigations, something which it did for the first time last year in Sri Lanka - and is currently planning in Viet Nam... Back to the top

LTTE s killing spree cannot be ignored: Chandrika, Thursday, September 30, 2004 : 1200 Hrs. Colombo, Sept. 30. (UNI): Coming very hard on the Tamil Tiger rebels, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who is also the Defence Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, has said her Freedom Alliance government could no longer ignore the LTTE's killing spree... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Q2 growth slows on drought, output fall, Thursday, September 30, 2004. Sri Lanka's economic growth slowed to 5.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2004 because of a punishing drought and a slowdown in factory output of export goods, the Central Bank said on Thursday... Back to the top

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