Corruption - Page 2

Inside Story: Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka


This investigative report is open for response as the accused have been named by the reporter-editors

As funny, stupid and pseudo-intellectual as it may sound, the above title of this article is not what I initially intended to give it. The originally intended title is along the lines of “A Case of Serial Plagiarism…” or something like When the Vice Chancellor is a Plagiarist – more on this in the later parts. Now welcome to some enlightenment.

Presented below is a summary of findings we had the misfortune to make after having a compelling urge to study the academic profile of this intellectual from South Eastern Sri Lanka: Professor Aboobacker Rameez. A. Rameez is currently the Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka since 2021 and a professor in sociology at this higher education institution since 2019. Some readers would also be familiar with the name from many op-ed articles he has authored for Colombo Telegraph, references to which can also be found at his Google Scholar profile page and Research Gate profile – maintained for a delicate balance between keeping it clean and being still stocked with stuff, reportedly due to Webometrics ranking requirements. Some of his newspaper-published scholarly works being listed in these research database profile pages were published by the online Tamil news website      

While lacking the necessary tools and this being a pastime activity triggered initially by personal pursuits, and despite the attempts of the university administration headed by A. Rameez himself to repeatedly deny information on his publications he used for his promotion as a professor by merit in response to right-to-information requests, we were still able to find to our own shock and surprise the fact that serious acts of plagiarism and academic-mafia-like practices had been freely allowed in the most carefree ways.

Evidence in summary:

  • A. Rameez stole nearly 80% of the abstract of a published journal article covering actual research conducted in Nigeria and he published it as an abstract of his own work carried out in Sri Lanka
  • A. Rameez stole written content from another published, properly peer-reviewed Scopus-indexed journal article and composed about 3-pages long content, without a single modification, for his own article submitted to the journal run by his own faculty

A formal complaint regarding this matter has been made to the Council of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka via the Registrar of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. All the council members of SEUSL have been presented with evidences of these offenses, which are termed Research Fraud in the language employed by UGC for describing offenses of this nature.

An extended summary of our findings is presented below for the amusement of the general public who are contributing financially and in various other ways directly or indirectly for the proliferation of activities of the sort that is being reported here.

  1. A. Rameez plagiarized nearly 80% of the abstract of O. Odaman et al. (2014)

A. Rameez, being the primary and corresponding author has published an abstract in the South Eastern University Arts Research Session 2015. The title of the Abstract is “Ageing and Health Seeking Behaviour: A Medical Sociological Approach to Nintavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka”. The following table shows a side-by side comparison of passages extracted from the abstract submitted by A. Rameez for publication against the abstract of a research article that had already been published.

Rameez et al. (2015)Odaman et al. (2014)
It focused on the most common health related problems of elderly: revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick, and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.It focused on the most common health related problems of the elderly; revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick; and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.
The findings show that, the majority of the elderly persons had age associated physical illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.Majority of the elderly persons (62.7%) had age associated illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.
More elderly males than female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visit chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.More elderly males than their female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visited chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.
This research suggested that, the government should puts in place programmes that would ensure good health behaviour and elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and other health care centres.It is recommended that elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and health centers because they would utilize the health services when available, accessible and affordable.

Notice that the work allowed to be published by the editorial committee of the Book of Abstracts of South Eastern University Arts Research Session (2015) makes the suggestion, as an outcome of the supposed research findings, that the elderly people should be provided free healthcare in Sri Lanka! We believe that it’s needless to say that unlike in the case of Nigeria, the Governments of Sri Lanka have been providing free healthcare for all of its citizens in all of Sri Lanka not only at the time this abstract was being presented and was being issued in print, possibly out of public funds, but since long before that until now and far into the future for sure.

If word counts are to be used as a crude estimate to indicate the severity of the rogue academic conduct with such a shallow level of sophistication in carefree plagiarism, we observe that of the 185 words that have been originally used for composing the abstract of Odaman et al., the abstract of Rameez et al. employs more than 80 percent of the words (149 out of 185) to compose itself.

The abstract published by Rameez et al. can be found in the Book of Abstracts published by SEUSL on 22nd December 2015.

This abstract can also be found at

The figure below portrays A. Rameez in the act, with hijacked text highlighted in yellow:

The work published by Odaman et al. can be found here. The article has been published in Vol. 7, No. 1 (2014), pp. 201-210 of International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities (ISSN 2248-9010 (Online), ISSN 2250-0715 (Print)).

The figure below shows how A. Rameez et al. did a stealth-mode robbery of the intellectual effort of Odaman et al., with the stolen text highlighted in yellow:

Anyone serious enough to access and look at the actual content of Odaman et al. would appreciate the true effort the original authors have put into their work despite what the title and abstract look like. And those familiar with social sciences will admit that often text itself is the very embodiment of ideas.

  1. A. Rameez published a journal article with 3 pages long content stolen straight from a journal article by Hazleton & Kennan (2000)

A. Rameez, being the sole author has published an article in KALAM -International Research Journal, Faculty of Arts and Culture, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Volume X Issue 1, 2016. The title of the Article is “Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis”.

A. Rameez’s Publication is available at  (available at SEUSL e-repository).

The figure below of the article by A. Rameez, with the stolen content highlighted in yellow, should indicate the proportionality of the content discovered to have been stolen word-for-word from just one single source (other stolen content not indicated):

A. Rameez has plagiarized for his publication from here (Scopus entry: Here )

A. Rameez’s publication (Page numbers 05 to 08 highlighted in Yellow) has copied the above mentioned publication by Vincent Hazleton and William Kennan (Social capital: reconceptualizing the bottom line; Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Number 2 . 2000. pp. 81-86) word for word from page numbers 82-84.

The figure below shows the proportionality of the content stolen word-for-word from the work of Hazleton & Kennan, with the portions in yellow being the stolen content.

Of about nine pages of writing contributed by A. Rameez for this journal issue, about three pages come straight from the composition of Hazleton and Kennan verbatim, even with citations as they appear in the work of the original authors, but without being listed in the list of references of the publication by A. Rameez! For example, we see the original article of Hazleton from year 2000 referring to articles by themselves from 1993, 1998 and 1999; but the article by A. Rameez only has the one by Hazleton from 2000 in his list of references, meaning that the readers (and obviously the reviewers of this SEUSL journal) would have no idea what those articles of Hazleton from 1993, 1998 and 1999 actually were/ are. Other examples include such questions of curious readership of Rameez on where they can actually locate the original works referred to as Monge (1987), Garfinkel (1967) etc., all of which, interestingly are properly listed at the end of the original, genuine work of Hazleton and Kennan (2000). Apart from this 3 pages long direct stealing of written scholarly work by Hazleton and Kennan that I have brought to light here, there are various other curiosity-provoking pointers to other possibly interesting findings that are possible from a thorough investigation on the rest of the 6 pages of this publication by A. Rameez; one such pointer for example is the curious question of what exactly Portes published along with Landolt in year 1996.

These two items above bring to light the evident lack of academic honesty & integrity on the part of Prof. A. Rameez and the evident lack of scrutiny and review practices of any level of rigor concerning the two publications above. It is interesting to note that we don’t see A. Rameez having published any work on healthcare seeking behaviour of the elderly other than the single abstract above plagiarizing the work of Odaman et al. It is also interesting to note that A. Rameez obtained his M.Phil. degree in 2010 by writing a dissertation titled “The Role of Social Capital in Disaster Management: A Study of a Tsunami Affected Coastal Village in Eastern Sri Lanka”, a work possibly very similar in theme to his publication in item 2 above (Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis); yet we find him after five years with the necessity to plagiarize to produce 3-pages long content for a journal article on a related topic.

Under these circumstances, it is evident that the intellectual con artist who produced the two fraudulent publications above is guilty of one of the gravest academic offenses: Plagiarism. Being non-hesitant, uninhibited and not-insightful about copying the published, reviewed works of other academics and scholars is a major evidence of academic bankruptcy of the person in concern. With such a history of Research Fraudulence, Professor A. Rameez being a Vice Chancellor of a Higher Education Institution, and thereby being the head/ chairperson/ overseeing authority/ supervising authority on almost all of its academic, academic-administrative and academic-disciplinary matters, can severely affect the academic and administrative integrity of the institution in question. This can lead to demolition of high standard academic culture, accountability and transparency in research and dissemination and the quality of the academic programs offered at the University.

Questions for the readers are below:

  1. What are the roles played by editors and reviewers (if any) of books of abstracts and journals published by the Faculty of Arts and Culture of SEUSL?
  2. What are the impacts on the undergraduate education and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  3. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  4. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  5. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  6. What are the impacts on the postgraduate education, postgraduate research programmes and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  7. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  8. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  9. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  10. What are the impacts on the academic administration processes including recruitment of BEST OF THE BEST academic staff and appointment of directors & heads of various divisions & departments at this Sri Lankan state university
  11. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  12. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  13. What are the impacts on the disciplinary processes in academic matters at this Sri Lankan state university
  14. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  15. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?

Exclusive:  Booker Prize Winner Robs My Manuscript – Rajpal


“The recent Booker prize-winning book Seven Moons of Mali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilleke of Sri Lanka was blatantly plagiarized from a manuscript I sent the author in 2009. I sent it for review purposes only and I have the necessary documentation in this regard,” Rajpal Abeynayake, Attorney at Law, former Editor in Chief of Daily News and former Deputy Editor of Sunday Times, both are national newspapers in Colombo, told the Sri Lanka Guardian.

This is a very serious matter,” he pointed out. “Copyright law is in existence for a reason. Nobody can profit off the labours or the creativity of another person,” a lawyer by profession who is one of the most senior journalists in Sri Lanka, Mr Abeynayake added.

“In the West institutions such as the Booker Prize Committee would understand that rectitude and propriety in these matters are vital. Imagine if writers and other persons in the arts are given the lisence to crib from anyone as they please,” he observed.

“About this specific matter, yes, Shehan Karunatillaka stole my manuscript and based his novel on my work making cosmetic changes. It’s unconscionable. He should be held to account,” he demanded.

Crisis in Sri Lanka: The Root Cause

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report on Sri Lanka recognized that for Sri Lanka “the promotion of human rights and the prevention and fight against corruption are mutually reinforcing, that corruption can have serious negative impacts on human rights and the poor and those in marginalized situations, including women and girls.” She demanded the prosecution of the corrupt. The Sri Lankan delegate dismissed this statement as exceeding the mandate of the Human Rights High Commissioner.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador, Mr Chandraprema, suggested presumptuousness of the High Commissioner. The Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ali Sabry, the lawyer who defended former President Gothabaya Rajapakse against the charges of corruption made against him, stated: “It is observed that the High Commissioner’s report makes extensive reference to “economic crimes”. Apart from the ambiguity of the term, it is a matter of concern that such reference exceeds the mandate of the OHCHR”.The Minister of Justice was pictured sitting by Sabry’s side as Sabry was giving the Council the benefit of his wisdom.

The link between corruption and human rights was not made exclusively in the context of the report on Sri Lanka. Concern over corruption and its impact on human rights had been expressed within the Human Rights Council from 2005. A document of the Human Rights Council in that year stated that the Council was “deeply concerned that the enjoyment of human rights, be they economic, social and cultural or civil and political, is seriously undermined by the phenomenon of corruption”. Since then several documents of the Human Rights Council as well as other UN documents have drawn the link between corruption and human rights. The use of the more embracing term, “economic crimes” includes corruption but also draws in other offences committed by those with public and private power abusing such power in a manner that offends the criminal law.

The concern in the area was with countries like Syria, Somalia and Sudan which had high levels of corruption along with massive violations of human rights. Now, Sri Lanka has joined these ranks. Events in Sri Lanka constitute a microcosm within which the linkage can be easily demonstrated. Successive Presidents from President Kumaranatunge, President Rajapaksa, President Sirisena and President Wickremesinghe (as Prime Minister during the Central Bank scam) have demonstrated the linkage between corruption and the violation of human rights. Their cronies and associates profited from the climate of corruption that these Presidents had created. These persons unfairly enriched themselves by stealing the wealth of the public and creating an unequal society in which many were driven into dire levels of poverty. The resulting inequality in itself is emblematic of the linkage between corruption and human rights violations.

Each of the Presidents demonstrated the need for the linkage to be made. I merely state the cases that constitute the tip of the iceberg of corruption in each Presidential regime and their links with human rights. The corruption became deep-seated after President Kumaranatunge. She was found guilty of corruption in the Water’s Edge Case which involved the eviction of several poor families from an area on which a golf course was to be built.

Corruption became a storm under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. His style of ruling was through patronage and reward, ensuring that his cronies amassed wealth while a part of it reached his family coffers. Mahinda Rajapaksa was alleged to have channelled the tsunami funds collected through charity into private accounts. The defalcation led to several victims of the tsunami being deprived of their right to housing and livelihood. The former Chief Justice, Sarath Silva, apologized for exonerating Rajapaksa from corruption charges, in the Helping Hambantota Case (Mahinda Rajapaksa v Chandra Fernando).

President Kumaranatunge had appointed her one-time crony, Sarath Silva, as Chief Justice by passing Justice Mark Fernando, a legendary judge noted for scholarship and independence- an instance of the subversion of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. An independent judiciary is the cornerstone of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Kumaranatunge committed a corrupt act that more than establishes the linkage between human rights and corruption by compromising the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. Sarath Silva delivered the judgement in the Sinharasa Case condemning a man to imprisonment without justification and earning international opprobrium. Naked interferences in judicial appointments during later Presidents are well known including the ousting of a Chief Justice who did not comply with the dictates of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Interference with the judiciary had commenced earlier with Felix Dias Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene.)

The two Rajapaksa Presidents have been accused of large-scale nepotism and corruption. Their family was responsible for the expenditure of large chunks of the budget as ministers of the government. The opportunity for corruption was immense. They created opportunities not for themselves alone but for their business cronies of the Viyathmaga. Many of the cronies found their way into Parliament and were rewarded with ministries with attendant perks. They profited from scams like the sugar scam.

As public service employment and transfers became a privilege conferred by members of parliament, each member of parliament had great opportunities for accepting bribes. Corruption became endemic in the culture of Sri Lanka. Public appointments influenced by bribery denied people with merit access to employment. They were denied equal treatment under the law. The link between corruption and violation of human rights in such situations was clear.

In the interim, we had that yahapalana circus of Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. The former used his presidential power to release a convict found guilty of murder. He appointed his relatives to high positions. His son and daughter became prominent in government circles. Wickremasinghe was accused of the Central Bank scam. The man who was the alleged central figure in its sojourns in Singapore. The people were deprived of the public money that was involved in the scam. No one has been held accountable for this crime.

Despite all this chain of corruption, the men sent to Geneva by the Government of Sri Lanka blame the UN Human Rights Commissioner for linking corruption with human rights, when one of the best examples of such a linkage happens to be their country. The UNHRC is not motivated by any malice toward Sri Lanka in seeking to link corruption and human rights. They prescribe what would be welcomed by the people of Sri Lanka – the prosecution of the corrupt and the prevention of the corruption that has continuously afflicted the public life of Sri Lanka. The people of the country face starvation as a result of the economic crimes committed by their politicians.

As an academic who has taught international law all my life, I know that there is a minority of academics who contest the linkage of corruption with human rights on theoretical grounds. The delegation of Sri Lanka was not animated by these theoretical niceties. They were more intent on protecting the corruption of their organ grinders. Every Sri Lankan woman with little money in her bag, searching for cheap food for her starving children, every man who goes to every chemist in the vain search for medicines for his sick mother, every farmer who looks with sadness at his crops wilting without fertiliser knows that the root cause of his or her misery is the corruption initiated and continued by successive presidents. The delegation sent to Geneva was not sent there to defend the corrupt but accept the reasons given by the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the suffering of the people they were to speak for. Instead, they are defending the indefensible, corrupt politicians of Sri Lanka. The public is entitled to ask whether these men are themselves corrupt, obtaining a trip to Geneva and its attendant perks in exchange for defending the corruption of their masters.

Bankrupt Sri Lanka: Newly Chosen State Ministers Demand More Perks  


Thirty-seven newly installed state ministers to run bankrupt Sri Lanka have urged to allocate 296 government vehicles, fuel and drivers to serve the vehicles, according to highly placed government sources.

Sources confirmed that arrangements are currently being made to allocate 8 vehicles to each state minister from their respective ministries.

“Several state ministers who were appointed yesterday have already requested vehicles from their respective ministries and they have emphasized to the authorities about their vehicle rights and their need by showing the circulars that have been issued so far,” reliable sources say.

Accordingly, they have said to provide two vehicles to the Minister of State, one vehicle to the Private Secretary, personal coordination secretaries, personal assistants and media secretary to be given respective vehicles and prescribed fuel allowances.