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SJB threatens to move SC against recommendations of PCoI on political victimisation

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday said that the SJB would move the Supreme Court against the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimisation.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo, MP Kiriella said that the party had consulted its legal advisors to explore the possibility of filing a case against the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization for exceeding its mandate. “We have not yet received the report officially. When we get it we plan to take legal action against it. We have requested the Speaker for a copy of the report. He said he would do so. He is duty bound to make a copy available to Parliament.

“We first asked the Speaker for the report on Jan 28. As per the Constitution the President is responsible to Parliament therefore he has a duty to send the report to MPs through the Speaker.”

When it was pointed out the yahapalana government of which MP Kiriella was a leading member too had appointed anti-corruption Commissions which could not deliver results and caused a waste of public money, the MP said those Commissions had been tasked with only fact finding.

“Thereafter, those facts should have been forwarded to the Department of Attorney General and the Bribery Commission for further actions. There has been a delay in that process but the Commission completed its fact finding mission.”

The Chief Opposition Whip said: “There is a discussion in the media on attempts to deprive some prominent person of their civic rights. This country has a legal system that has provisions to take punitive actions against anyone who had committed an offence or political victimization. The government has to abide by the law. We have set an example in this regard. When we came to power in 2015 there had been requests from various quarters to appoint commissions to investigate the wrongdoings of some politicians and to strip them of their civic rights. But the then President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated clearly that there was a legal system and the law should take its own course. They stood by the decision that there were the police, attorney general department and judiciary and those institutions were sufficient to implement the law and did not move to appoint special presidential commissions to take actions against their rival political parties. Opting to make use of such commissions to punish political rivals is actually an outdated mechanism.  It was former President JR Jayewardene who introduced the practice of depriving political opponents of their civic rights. That goernment incurred international opprobium That was why no government since 1981 has resorted to such action, but the incumbent government seems to be convinced otherwise.”

 

 



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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