Sri Lanka

‘Assistance’ or Espionage?

Jan 7, 2017

Recent media reports revealing that a $13.7 million USAID programme for ‘democracy and accountability’ is to be implemented by a private US company alleged to have links to the CIA, raise several questions regarding the nature of the government’s relationship with the US. 

A leading newspaper cited on its January 2, 2017 edition that the US Embassy in Colombo confirming that the company Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) ‘would work closely with the Parliament, Independent Commissions and related ministries’ to carry out the project. Another leading TV channel bulletins of 2, 3 and 4 Jan. 2017 also exposed the company’s alleged links with the CIA.

An alarming aspect of the expose is that so few parliamentarians are even aware of the project’s existence, leave alone details of the bilateral agreement signed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya last September in Washington, with a government delegation. The ‘Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project’ (SDGAP) as it is described, is not subject to Sri Lankan law but to the laws and regulations of the US, under the terms of the agreement. It does not come under the purview of Sri Lanka’s Auditor General - the Auditor General’s Department itself is apparently under scrutiny under another USAID (US Agency for International Development) project. It would be relevant to ask whether there has not been a serious dereliction of responsibility by political leaders, in allowing politically sensitive internal reforms to be ‘outsourced’ in this manner to foreign agencies. The fact that the contractor has alleged links with funding the country’s intelligence agency makes matters worse.   

Read more at:

Daily Mirror, January 7, 2017

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