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ASP Eric’s transfer: 20A faulted, explanation sought from govt.



‘State Minister Arundika made his move the day Prez constituted new Police Commission’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) yesterday (1) alleged that the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution had enabled the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) government to interfere with the police with impunity.

The recent transferring of ASP Eric Perera based at Wennappuwa in the Chilaw police division on political grounds wouldn’t have been possible if the 19th Amendment had been intact, SJB Colombo District lawmaker Mujibur Rahman told The Island.

Along with the tough talking ASP, five other law enforcement officers who served under him received transfers.

A letter dated Dec 3, 2020 written by the then State Plantation Minister Arundika Fernando (SLPP/Puttalam District) requesting Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera to transfer the officer was in the public domain, MP Rahman said.

The SJB spokesman pointed out that State Minister Fernando on Wednesday (31) at a media briefing acknowledged him seeking the Public Security Minister’s intervention. The endorsement of the State Minister’s letter by the Police Headquarters, too, had been released, the MP said. Therefore, there couldn’t be an issue, the SJB member said, pointing out the absurdity in State Minister Fernando requesting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne to inquire into how the media got hold of the letter.

Eric Perera formerly of the elite Special Task Force (STF) received appointment in 2019 as ASP Wennappuwa, which the police headquarters has categorized as a red zone known for unbridled vices.

Those who voted for the 20th Amendment enacted in Oct 2020 at the expense of the 19th introduced by the previous administration in 2015 should be ashamed of themselves. Over a half a dozen lawmakers elected on the SJB ticket and one National List MP also of the same party voted for the 20th Amendment, MP Rahman said.

Appreciating the media and social media platforms for the reportage of the ASP’s transfer, MP Rahman emphasized that the National Police Commission (NPC) owed an explanation as regards its stand on the ASP’s transfer. If police transfers no longer came under its purview, the NPC should acknowledge that blatant truth.

The NPC consists of former IGP Chandra Fernando – member and Chairman, S. Liyanagama, A.S.P.S. Priyantha Sanjeewa, N.S.M. Samsudeen, Gunapala Wickramage, Premasiri Perera and T.P. Parameshwaran.

MP Rahman said that the NPC had been appointed on Dec 3, 2020 in terms of schedule one of Chapter VII (a) of the Constitution. Mrs. Samanthi Mihindukula functions as the Secretary to the NPC.

Rahman urged the nine-member expert committee now formulating the new draft Constitution to pay attention to the ASP’s transfer. It would be a grave mistake on the part of the NPC as well as the expert committee chaired by Romesh de Silva, PC, to ignore the incident that reflected the transformation of the NPC. “The 20 Amendment reduced the NPC to a toothless tiger,” the former UNP lawmaker said, underscoring the fact that the new law made the all independent commissions redundant.

MP Rahman admitted that their governments, too, interfered in police matters and such interferences were not acceptable to the public.

Defence Secretary Maj. General (retd.) Kamal Gunaratne in his widely read ‘Road to Nanthikadal’ mentioned Eric Perera’s heroic response to LTTE threats to Kanchankudah STF detachment in the East during the Norway arranged Ceasefire Agreement that came into operation in Feb 2002.

According to State Minister Fernando, he wanted the Public Security Minister to transfer ASP Perera along with those who served under his command out of the Chilaw Division. ASP Perera received a transfer to the neighbouring Negombo police division.

Rahman questioned the government’s grandiose plans to eradicate crime and corruption when honest officers couldn’t perform their duties without being harassed. The SJB spokesman pointed out that a leaked audio carried by television stations and posted on social media revealed the State Minister asking ASP Perera not to take action against those whom the minister described as small time moonshine dealers. The ASP had the courage to turn down the request made at a discussion at a Wennappuwa development meeting in Feb this year. ASP Perera underscored such a policy couldn’t be adopted under any circumstances and if implemented would be exploited by all. The top law enforcement officer admitted that some of his colleagues serving with him cooperated with those engaged in vice.

Police headquarters, Director Media and spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa told The Island that the power to transfer police officers had been vested with the Public Service Commission (PSC) at the expense of the NPC. According to him, the ASPs and above, in respect of disciplinary matters and service requirements, those powers were exercised by the Secretary to the Public Security Minister.



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President requests the opposition to support the implementation of the IMF agreement




President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the Opposition to unite and disregard political differences to assist in carrying out the IMF agreement, which would aid in the development of Sri Lanka’s economy.

The President emphasized that his duty is not to condemn previous administrations but to concentrate on the development of the country. He also declared his dedication to constructing a better future by creating laws and frameworks that prevent the recurrence of past errors.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered this message in a special address to Parliament this morning (22) regarding the receipt of the Extended Credit Facility from the International Monetary Fund.

He stated that despite allegations being leveled against him that his objective was not to rescue the country from an economic crisis but to safeguard the Rajapaksa family, the international community had acknowledged his efforts to carry the country across the economic vine bridge.

The President further said that he had faith in rebuilding the beloved country where he was born, brought up and educated, and said that many past experiences were the reasons for confirming that faith.

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SJB, JVP move SC against Finance Secy. for contempt of court



The main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (21) moved Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana over his failure to provide funds required by the Election Commission to conduct the Local Government polls, ignoring an interim order issued by the apex court, on 03 March.

Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, is the petitioner for the SJB and Vijitha Herath, MP, moved court on behalf of the JVP, the leading party in the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB).

Two Opposition parties declared action against Siriwardana the day after the Freedom People’s Alliance (FPA) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Secretary to release the funds.

EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa is on record as having said that in spite of SC directive he didn’t receive fresh funding.

The petitioners sought the issuance of summons on Siriwardana for contempt of court over failure to carry out its interim orders, given on 03 March.

The petitioners want the Finance Secretary punished in terms of Article 105 (3) of the Constitution.

The SJB stated that Siriwardana had refrained from carrying out the March directives, on the basis of a Cabinet decision, taken on 13 Feb., 2023. The SJB also pointed out that the offensive conduct of the Treasury Secretary, inter alia, causes grave prejudice to the esteemed authority of the Supreme Court and in turn disturb the public confidence in the authority of the highest Court in the country. (SF)

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Minister indicates reduction in fuel prices in April



Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told Parliament yesterday that fuel prices would be reduced considerably according to the fuel price formula at the next fuel price revision, due in April.

The Minister said that the government would be able to procure fuel shipments, at lower prices, during competitive bidding, with the receipt of the IMF bailout.

There had been practical issues, and problems, in opening Letters of Credit, and obtaining credit facilities, in the recent past, as Sri Lanka could not give a guarantee to fuel suppliers, Minister Wijesekara said.

“We could not open LCs and obtain credit facilities when procuring fuel. After the IMF bailout, we will be able to procure fuel at lower prices during competitive biddings. We will be able to obtain a long-term credit facility as well. Fuel prices in the global market seem to have declined and the rupee has also gained strength against the US Dollar. Having considered all these factors, fuel prices will be reduced by a considerable margin which could be felt by the people,” he said.

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