A Brief Overview on the Anti-Corruption Act No. 9 of 2023


A Brief Overview on the Anti-Corruption Act No. 9 of 2023

The Anti-Corruption Act No. 9 0f 2023(hereinafter referred to as ACA) was certified on 08th August 2023. The ACA has repealed the Bribery Act No.11 of 1954, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Act, no.19 of `1998 and the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law no. 1 of 1975.  

The objectives of the Act are set out in Section 3, which are as follows:

  • Enhances transparency in governance, increase accountability and establishes an independent commission to exercise and perform the powers and functions under the Act
  • Allows the commission to detect and investigate allegations of bribery, corruption and offences related to the declaration of assets and liabilities and associated offences and institute prosecutions thereto.
  • Gives effect to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and other internationally recognized norms, standards and best practices.
  • Introduces effective system for the declaration of assets and liabilities in order to curb illicit enrichment by public officials.

The Act introduces an independent Commission which acts as a regulator:

  • The commission compromises of 3 members. One of the members will be appointed as the Chairman of the Commission.
  • Two of whom shall be retired Judges of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeal and one of whom shall be a  person with wide experience relating to the investigation of crime and law enforcement, Engineering, International relations and diplomatic services, Management of public affairs or Public administration. 
  • Each member shall hold office for a period of five years and shall not be eligible for re-appointment.
  • The President also appoints a Director-General who shall be the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Accounting Officer of the Commission.

Powers of the commission- Sec 32- 40

  • The commission can make its own rules in relation to: appointment, promotion, disciplinary control and dismissal of the officers and employees of the commission. 
  • Acts as the central authority on declarations of assets and liabilities; 
  • Take all possible measures to give effect to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and any other international obligations which Sri Lanka has undertaken to prevent corruption. 
  • Examines the laws and procedures of public authority to discover acts of corruption.
  • Provides advice and assistance to public bodies to eliminate corruption.
  • Provides recommendations to the government for legislative reforms to minimize corruption. 

Declaration of Assets and Liabilities
Objects – Sec 79

  • Compel all public officials to make periodic declarations of their assets and liabilities within and outside Sri Lanka.
  • Provide authorities to conduct investigations upon receipt of such information against any person to which this part applies.
  • Provide for appropriate measures to be taken in respect of late submissions and non-declaration of assets and liabilities and for furnishing false declarations.

Who can make a complaint?

Any person can make a complaint or information relating to the commission of the offence under this Act to the Commission, against a person whether such person is employed or not on the date on which the complaint or information is received by the commission.

The complaint can be made orally, in writing or via electronic communication to the Commission.


      1. Preliminary Inquiry – Sec 42

  • The commission will conduct a preliminary inquiry upon receipt of information, complaint, a motion by the commission or based on material received by the commission.
  • If there is reasonable grounds to believe that an offence had been committed under this Act, the Commission shall direct the Director General to conduct an investigation.

      2. Prosecutions –Sec 65

  • The commission shall direct the Director General to institute criminal proceedings against such person in the appropriate court.
  • The Director General shall have power to institute proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court through a charge sheet signed by the Director General.
  • If the accused pleads guilty, Magistrate can record a verdict of guilty and pass a sentence according to the relevant law.
  • If he does not plead guilty, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act No. 15 of 1979 shall apply with necessary changes being made to the proceedings in the Magistrate Court.


       3. Appeals – Sec 68

      The Director General shall have the right to appeal against a judgment, order or sentence of such  High Court/ Magistrate Court.

Who can conduct the prosecution at a trial of an offence held in Magistrate Court/ High Court?

  1. Officer of the Commission authorized by the Commission
  2. Attorney General upon request of the Commission
  3. Attorney-at-Law

The Act provides protection to informers, whistleblowers, witnesses, and other persons assisting the Commission (Chapter V – Section 75-78).


The Act lays down various offences for Declaration of Assets and Liabilities (Part II Sec 90), Bribery (Part III Sec 93- 116) and penalties for the same as well as procedural offences (Part III Chapter II – Sec 118- 129). A few of these offences are listed below:

  • Any person who commits an offence against Whistleblowers under this ActAccording to Sec. 74(2), on conviction by the High Court be liable to a fine of 1 million rupees or a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years or to both fine and imprisonment.
  • Failure to submit the annual declaration or the post retirement declaration under Sec 82 of this Act on due date, will be liable to a daily administrative fine imposed by the Central Authority.
  • Any person who makes a false statement in any declaration shall be convicted under a summary trial before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine of two hundred thousand rupees or an imprisonment not exceeding one year of both fine and imprisonment.
  • Bribery of judges, members of Parliament, Provincial Councils and Local Authorities; Acceptance of gratification by Members of Parliament a provincial Council or a local Authority for interviewing public officials; Bribery of police officers, peace officers and other public officials will be liable to a fine of one million rupees and to a rigorous imprisonment not exceeding seven years.
  • Any person who makes false allegations to the Commission shall be convicted after summary trial before a Magistrate and be liable to a fine of one million rupees or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both such fine and imprisonment and in addition liable to pay compensation as the court thinks fit to the person whom the allegation was made.
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