Sri Lankan Cabinet today extended the term of the country's anti-corruption panel, which is probing serious graft charges against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members.
The Cabinet approved the proposal to continue the operations of the Anti-corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) until a new institutional structure is introduced, Minister of Information Gayantha Karunathilake said.
The ACCS was established on a decision made by the Cabinet in 2015 to receive and facilitate complaints on serious fraud and corruption.
It was proposed to restructure the anti-corruption institutional structure of the country and to establish a fully-powered Serious Fraud Office which is similar to the Serious Frauds Office in UK.
The move to set up ACCS, which was a major election pledge of the President Maithripala Sirisena, was criticised by the opposition backers of Rajapaksa.
The opposition alleged that the secretariat as well as the police's special Financial Crimes Investigation Unit (FCID) had not been legally constituted.
The Rajapaksa family members and its associates have faced allegations of corruption since the advent of Sirisena, who has also set up a special presidential panel to probe corruption.
The second son of Rajapaksa and his younger brother Basil who functioned as the powerful economic development minister was arrested and later released on bail.
The senior Rajapaksa has also been quizzed by the presidential probe over unpaid bills at a state television on his election propaganda during the presidential election of January 2015 which he lost to Sirisena.