US funded Anti-corruption training for SL officials begins

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 13:27 GMT]
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding a training program for Sri Lankan officials and civil society directors to strengthen measures to combat corruption and monitor the spending of tsunami-related assistance, a press release from the US Embassy in Colombo said Wednesday. The program opened officially today at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall at a ceremony attended by USAID Mission Director Dr. Carol Becker.

Full text of the press release follows:

COLOMBO, March 24, 2006—The United States announced today that it is funding a training program for Sri Lankan government officials and civil society directors to strengthen measures to combat corruption and monitor the spending of tsunami-related assistance.

The program will involve building capacity, increasing citizen participation in monitoring and reporting on tsunami programs, and conducting an awareness campaign to combat corruption. It will also provide technical support to Sri Lankan organizations to ensure accountability and transparency of post-tsunami relief and reconstruction programming.

Supported by special post-tsunami funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Sri Lanka Anti-Corruption Program opened officially today at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall at a ceremony attended by USAID Mission Director Dr. Carol Becker, Sri Lanka Auditor General S.C. Mayadunne, and Justice Ameer Ismail, chairman of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

“Anti-corruption programs require a multi-faceted strategy to combat corruption effectively,” Dr. Becker said at the launch. “Strengthening the capacity of the local institutions enhances their public credibility, and helps them improve the quality and efficiency of their activities as well as their responsiveness to public complaints.”

The program encourages investigation and prosecution of wrongdoers, and promotes efforts to prevent corruption through the institution of internal controls; timely financial auditing of projects and programs; performance evaluation of project and program effectiveness; greater public participation in project oversight and performance review; and creation of a transparent culture of honesty, integrity and accountability in public administration. These strategies are expected to achieve meaningful results and establish trust and faith in the institutions of government.

The project will run until September 2007. Core partners include the Auditor-General’s Department and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption. Other key partners will be involved through a Consultative Council that includes representation from a broad range of professional associations, chambers of commerce, religious groups, unions, and other civil society organizations. It will also provide awareness training and grant assistance to twelve local communities in the tsunami impact zone, and conduct a series of public awareness workshops.

The program is being implemented by the Associates in Rural Development (ARD), Inc., a private consulting firm based in Vermont, USA. Local partners include Transparency International/Sri Lanka, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Free Media Movement.

 

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