Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne cautioned the prisons officials to refrain from getting involved in corruption and also supporting the convicted underworld criminals in the prisons as the law enforcement authorities had already commenced investigations on such officers.
“We have already commenced investigations on such prisons officials who have links to corruption and to the underworld criminals. If we continued to investigate on such officials, the blame shouldn’t come to us,” he said adding that he is not threatening to the officials but made a request to do their duties in a respectable way.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne reminded that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, other government officials and the public were looking forward to seeing a corruption free and respectable service from the prisons officials.
Addressing top officials of the Prisons Department in Colombo, on Thursday (June 18) the Defence Secretary urged the prisons officials to render their services according to their conscience to make a corruption free prisons system without getting caught to the underworld criminals.
“Never let yourself repent on the deathbed over feeding and educating your children with money given by organised criminals like ‘Wele Suda’ or ‘Kanjipani Imran’. You will regret in your retirement,” he said.
He said although the department is functioning under the Justice Ministry, he has a right to get involved in issues related to the department as over 27,000 prisoners in the island-wide prisons were apprehended by the officers who were attached to the Defence Ministry.
“Police officers, including the STF are taking risks despite their threats to lives to nab criminals in the country to maintain the law and order,” he said explaining the huge responsibility lies with the prisons officials in creating a lawful environment for the future generations to live free of crimes.
“It is the public opinion that there are lots of good officers and lots of corrupted officers among you. When the President was elected, he told me that the condition of the Prisons was deplorable and the underworld activities and organised drugs smuggling are operated in the prison,” he said adding that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) has analyzed thousands of telephone calls originated from prisons.
The Defence Secretary asked the prisons officials to continue to work by rectifying the mistakes they had done in the past to strengthen the prisons system to make it more viable to correct the wrong doors without getting involved in corruption.
“Today the entire prisons system is being criticized everywhere in the country. If a remanded drug user comes out of the prison after a few months as a drug dealer, there is something radically wrong in the system. Ask your conscience whose fault it is. Your heart will answer you,” Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said requesting them to leave the prisons service, as a member of a respectable and proud profession, one day.
Meanwhile, the Defence Secretary requested the officials to treat the inmates equally. “ Majority prisoners in prisons are innocent. All inmates should be treated equally. When one sleeps uncomfortably on the floor, another cannot sleep on a double layer mattress. Look into their problems, then they will start loving you from their heart,” he said.
He said that the officers who perform genuine service would face threats and difficulties but never turn back as the Defence Ministry was there to protect them.
Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya, Secretary to the Justice and Law Reform Ministry Marina Mohommed and DIG Ajith Rohana were among those who were present at the event.