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BASL in JICA-funded anti-corruption study controversy

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Eyebrows raised over Rs 21 mn project

Several senior members of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association have sought an explanation as regards a study undertaken by a five-member group, including two President’s Counsels, on behalf of JICA, allegedly without following proper procedure, The Island learns.

The issue was raised at an Executive Committee meeting held at the BASL room at the OPA Secretariat over the weekend.

JICA engaged the team comprising members of the BASL late last year to conduct a study on bribery and corruption. The BASL has received a grant of over Rs 21 mn from JICA and, of that amount, over Rs 19 mn was allegedly divided among the five-member team.

However, before some irate members of the Executive Committee raised the issue at the May 11 meeting, two of the five recipients had ‘donated’ their share to the BASL.

Members queried as to why the five members had not obtained approval from the Bar Council and its Executive Committee before undertaking the study.

The issue is expected to be discussed again next Saturday when the Bar Council is having a meeting.Several years ago, The Island revealed that in 2016 the BASL had secured a sponsorship from Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), which was under investigation for Treasury bond scams. (SF)


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