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Govt. MP moves SC to cancel SLIIT deal, action against ex-Minister et al



“CIABOC slept on my complaint regarding loss of Rs 23 bn’

SLPP Colombo District lawmaker Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, has moved the Supreme Court in terms of the Article 126 and Article 17 of the Constitution requesting the cancellation of agreements between the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund and Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT).

Former Justice Minister and also the former President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), having named Cabinet of ministers, including the PM, Members of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, IGP, Attorney General, members of the SLIIT and the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund as respondents, asked for issuing of notices to them and most importantly an order directing Attorney-General to charge and indict Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Dr. Wickrama Weerasooriya (deceased), Anil Rajakaruna, Prof. Lalith R. Gamage, Prof. Luxman Rathnayaka and Manjula Sagara Ellepola in line with the recommendations made by a Presidential Commission that inquired into the matter.

MP Rajapakshe has also requested the SC to direct the CIABOC to initiate legal action and indict Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Dr. Wickrama Weerasooriya (deceased), Anil Rajakaruna, Prof. Lalith R. Gamage, Prof. Luxman Rathnayaka and Manjula Sagara Ellepola

The President’s Counsel in his petition said that those responsible should be charged and prosecuted under Sections 452, 454, 388 and 389 of the Penal Code and also prosecuted for the offence punishable under section 70 of the Bribery Commission Act.

Appearing before the SC in person, MP Rajapakshe said that the Attorney-General had been made a party to represent the President in terms of Article 35(1) of the Constitution.

MP Rajapakshe moved SC in the wake of parliamentary watchdog committee COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) calling for government intervention to take back SLIIT.

The petitioner stated that on examination of relevant documents it was revealed that Prof. Laxman Ratnayake (34th Respondent) and Prof. Lalith R. Gamage (35thRespondent) received appointment as directors of said company in their capacity as employees of the Moratuwa University, and the 35th Respondent has been appointed in view of the fact that he is the son-in-law of late Kingsly Wickremaratne, who was the Minister in Charge of the Mahapola Trust Fund at that time.

The petitioner stated that he found that the Prof. Laxman

Ratnayake and Prof. Lalith R. Gamage had surreptitiously, gradually and fraudulently got the non-State actors appointed as directors whenever vacancies occurred due to retirement of the ex-officio directors and finally it was ended up with all the directors being non-State actors who were not holding any public office.

The petitioner alleged Prof. Laxman Ratnayake and Prof. Lalith R. Gamage (had acted in collusion with late Dr. Wickrama Weerasuriya, who was a newly appointed member of the Mahapola Trust Fund, and upon being questioned and convinced about the fraud committed the petitioner, in his capacity as the Higher Education Minister ordered him to resign from the trusteeship of the Mahapola Trust Fund and also from the membership of the University Grant Commission forthwith and accordingly he resigned.

The Petitioner stated that the Auditor General’s Department after having a special investigation into the issue at hand in a report dated 07.09.2018 asserted that the trustees of the Mahapola Trust Fund were responsible for causing a loss to the fund amounting to over Rs. 1,645,494,237 by handing over ownership to another party.

The petitioner alleged that though he made a complaint to the CIABOC on 25 February 2019 that the loss caused to Sliit as a result of the corrupt transaction at that time was about Rs. 23,000,000,000. (Rs. 23 billion), the outfit did nothing except for recording statements from him twice. (SF)

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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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