Connect with us


Nagananda seeks SC intervention, bribery probe



2019 presidential election:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku, in his capacity as General Secretary of Vinivida Peramuna, has moved the Supreme Court against the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), current members of the CIABOC, former members of the Election Commission (EC), SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, and Chamal Rajapaksa, MP against the EC’s failure to disqualify SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the basis that he had not renounced his US citizenship at the time the EC accepted nominations.

The application in this regard has been made under Article 140 of the Constitution considered with Section 24 of the CIABOC Act No 19 of 1994.

Kodituwakku has alleged that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nomination as the SLPP presidential candidate, was accepted whereas the EC rejected him though he renounced his British citizenship. Kodituwakku was to join the fray as the candidate of Okkoma Rajavaru Okkama Vasiyo, a registered political party though the party withdrew support at the last moment.

Public interest litigation activist Kodituwakku named former EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, who is now the Chairman of the Delimitation Commission as the sixth respondent. The petitioner held Deshapriya accountable for the EC’s conduct in that regard.

The petitioner requested the appointment of a Special Bench in terms of Article 132 (3) (iii) to hear and determine his application, direct the CIABOC and /or members of the Commission, Eva Wanasundera, Deepali Wijesundera, Chandra Nimal Wakista (2,3 and 4 respondents, respectively) and its Director General Kanishka Wijerathna (5th respondent) to initiate a credible and independent inquiry into complaints made by the petitioner on the corruption charges levelled against the 6th respondent, as expeditiously as possible and direct the current CIABOC to instruct the 5th respondent to initiate criminal proceedings against the 6th respondent.

Kodituwakku stated that before the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in Oct 2020, dual citizens had been disqualified from contesting the presidential election in terms of the Article 91(1) (d) (xiii) of the Constitution.

Kodituwakku, however acknowledged in his petition that the Secretary of Okkoma Rajavaru Okkama Vasiyo, blocked his candidature by withdrawing backing of his party at the last moment.  Kodituwakku has charged the said official in the Nugegoda Magistrate court over what he called a criminal breach of trust and the case is pending.

The law prohibits anyone other than a person nominated by a registered political party, a member of Parliament or a former member of the Parliament from contesting the presidential election.

Kodituwakku has referred to a sworn statement dated May 18, 2021 made available to him by former EC member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole (7th respondent) to confirm the discussion he had with the 6th respondent also on May 18, 2021.

The EC accepted Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nomination after the Court of Appeal dismissed a high profile case in which two civil society activists asked the court to withdraw Rajapaksa’s citizenship, on the basis he renounced it in 2003 to become a citizen of the United States and regained it two years later in an irregular manner.

The three-judge panel on Friday unanimously rejected the case. The Court of Appeal declared that it had no merit.

In his petition, Kodituwakku made reference to a dispute between Deshapriya and Prof. Hoole over the SLPP presidential candidate’s credentials, the former getting in touch with what he called Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s camp and the academic being accused of being an LTTE sympathiser  by a section of the media.

According to the petition, the bone of contention is the failure on the part of the SLPP candidate to produce a certificate of renunciation of his US citizenship.

In the run-up to the presidential election, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris refuted accusations against the party candidate. Prof. Peiris explained the circumstances their candidate had renounced his US citizenship to pave the way for him to join the fray.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Self-Employed Traders petition SC over govt. favouring liquor dealers



By A.J.A Abeynayake

The Supreme Court has decided take up, on 04 Oct. for hearing a petition filed by the Association of Self-Employed Traders against the opening of liquor stores during the current lockdown.

 The traders have requested the apex court to order the government to allow members of their union to engage in business activities since the liquor stores had been allowed to reopen during the lockdown.

The petition was taken up before a three-judge bench comprising justices L. T. B. Dehideniya, Shiran Gooneratne and Janak de Silva, yesterday.

 The State Counsel appearing for the respondents said he had received the relevant documents pertaining to the case only last Friday evening. Therefore, the State Counsel requested the court to give him time to seek advice from the respondents who were many.

Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva, appearing for the petitioner at the time, said about 7,000 members of his client union had lost their livelihoods due to the decision by the respondents.

Therefore, Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva requested the court to give an early date for considering the petition.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court decided to take up the petition for consideration on 04 Oct and directed the lawyers of the petitioners to take steps to send notice to the respondents before that date.

The petition was filed by the President of the United National Self-Employed Trade Association G.I. Charles, its Vice President P.G.B. Nissanka, and Secretary Krishan Marambage.

The petition names 47 respondents, including the Director General of Health Services, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Excise.

The petitioners allege that under the quarantine law, the Director General of Health Services, who is the competent authority, issued a notice on Aug 20 prohibiting the opening of liquor stores.

The petitioners point out that steps were taken to open liquor stores countrywide contrary to the regulations of the Health Authority.

The Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner General of Excise and the Inspector General of Police have stated that they have not allowed the reopening of liquor stores.

The petitioners have also requested the Supreme Court to issue an order to the respondents to allow the members of their association to engage in business activities as the liquor stores are allowed to remain open.

Continue Reading


Lankan born newly elected Norwegian MP Gunaratnam calls for investments here



Newly elected Norwegian Labour Party MP, Lankan born Kamzy Gunaratnam says she will ask the new Norwegian government to continue engagement with the country of her birth.

 Speaking at a virtual media conference on Sunday night, Gunaratnam said that she does not believe that boycotting Sri Lanka is the way forward.

“I don’t believe in boycott. There needs to be investments. Only that will ensure employment,” she said.

Gunaratnam said that she is also prepared to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, if invited, for talks.

She said that Norway must continue to assist Sri Lanka through trade, education and in other ways.

Gunaratnam said that she will also discuss with her party and the new Norwegian Foreign Minister, as well as the Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka and see how best Norway can assist the country.

Gunaratnam said that Sri Lankans must also decide the best solution for Sri Lanka and not any foreign country. She said that Sri Lanka must not wait for foreign pressure to work on a solution.

The newly elected Norwegian MP also said that minority rights in Sri Lanka must be protected.

As a Norwegian MP she said that her main focus in the Norwegian Parliament will be to push for equality in Norway.

Continue Reading


Going to IMF best solution, says Ranil



UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe insists that a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is necessary to mitigate impact of the growing debt repayment crisis; homegrown solutions are not effective.

“Unlike in the past, Sri Lanka’s debt problem has increased at a time when there is a global debt problem. This makes the situation more challenging and complex. Sri Lanka is a highly import-dependent economy,” Wickremesinghe said during a panel discussion, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The UNP leader said that the government shouldn’t sell state assets to ease off the shortage of foreign exchange to have breakfast but reinvest those proceeds back in the economy. “Going to the IMF is the best solution,” Wickremesinghe said.

With reference to homegrown solutions, he referred to the mess caused by the government in promoting Dhammika peniya as one of the failed measures earlier on to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka should use the current situation to forge ahead with structural and public sector reforms which were postponed due to political considerations in the past.

The former PM suggested that the re-opening of the country be delayed till mid-October.

In responding to the issue of debt management in Sri Lanka, the UNP leader said that the most pressing concern is addressing the dwindling foreign exchange reserves of the country.

He explained that the regional foreign exchange reserves were projected to increase over the course of the year, however, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves were on a downward trend.

He also said that economic recovery based on a resurgence of the tourism industry would be uncertain, and until airline ticket prices were reduced it was unlikely that tourist arrivals would increase significantly.

Continue Reading