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Magistrate tells Priyamali’s lawyers he cannot gag media



Thico Group owner, her partner, and Sirisumana Thera remanded till Nov. 16

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (02) remanded the owner of Thico Group of Companies (Pvt.) Ltd., Thilini Priyamali, her business partner Isuru Bandara, and alleged accomplice Ven. Borella Sirisumana Thera, till 16 Nov.

They were arrested for allegedly defrauding businessmen to the tune of three billion rupees.

First, Thilini Priyamali and Isuru Bandara were presented before the Magistrate via Skype. The Magistrate rejected bail applications filed by the defendants.

Then Sirisumana Thera was presented before the Magistrate. Investigators said that the monk had been arrested on Monday and the preliminary inquiries were not over. Future investigations would be hindered if the Thera was granted bail, CID investigators said.

It was revealed that Carom de Silva, a businessman, had visited the monk’s temple with Bandara. During such visits, the monk had pretended to be in a trance and asked the businessman to invest in Priyamali’s company. The businessman sold several lands and vehicles and invested Rs. 750 million, the Court was told. The businessman had been told that his money had been used to buy shares of top Sri Lankan companies. However, the money had not been invested in stocks, the investigators told the Court. De Silva had also donated a number of valuable gifts to the monk, the investigators said.

Chief Inspector Niroshani Hewapathirana told the Court that eight gold-plated brass bars had been found in Bandara’s house. These were used to convince investors that Priyamali was extremely wealthy, she said.

CI Hewapathirana told the Court that they had found Rs. 15 million in the possession of Bandara’s mother and she had told the police that the money belonged to Bandara. She also said Bandara had deposited seven million rupees in two private banks and the CID requested the Court to freeze the accounts. The request was granted.

The investigators told the Court that Priyamali had smuggled in a mobile phone to prison and she had made 11 phone calls. Six persons she called had been asked to make statements. However, none of them had visited the CID, the court was told.

Lawyers representing Priyamali told the Court that mainstream media and social media sites were circulating false information about their client and asked him to issue an order preventing the media from doing so.

Magistrate Gamage said that the Court could not instruct the media on what they could and could not publish.


Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman




Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand




At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night



President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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