BY Natasha Siribaddana Courtesy  Ceylon Today

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday handed over a No-Confidence motion against Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake to the office of the Secretary General of Parliament.

Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of Parliament, Neil Iddawela confirmed that MPs Bandula Gunawardena, Ranjith Soyza and Mahindananda Aluthgamage on behalf of the JO had handed the motion document to him.

The motion drafted by MP Bandula Gunawardena was circulated among all 51 UPFA MPs representing JO who were at the wedding of the son of the former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Ramith, to collect their signatures.

However, only 32 JO members signed the motion which was hurriedly taken to Parliament last afternoon.

A special session will be held today in Parliament to celebrate Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe completing 40 years in politics and as a Parliamentarian.

“A ‘No-Faith’ motion only requires 20 signatures. We collected 32 but former President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not sign it,” MP Soyza said. The main reason for the motion is that Minister Karunanayake has allegedly accepted financial perks from Arjun Aloysius who is a main suspect in the Treasury Bond probe. Professor G.L. Peiris stated that “Minister Ravi doesn’t have a clue about the transactions that have been made. He has been living on rent for over six months in a luxury residence. The minster has told the Commission that he did not know anything about the deal and has pointed out that his wife was the person who handled everything. In this case there should be investigations into his wife’s and children’s income.”

The Bond scam has been a massive blow to the country’s pride. Prof. Peiris added that President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Ravi Karunanayake as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The President is the one who is responsible for giving such a position to a person who is already in such a mess.

A Cabinet Spokesman has indicated that they were seriously looking at the option of allowing the Members of Parliament a conscience vote on the ‘No Faith’ motion against the Foreign Minister. The President needs to take a stand on this. According to the Constitution of the country only one person is empowered to appoint a minister and allocate a subject to him and that is the President. This raises the question of credibility. He is the country’s interface to the world. The President cannot evade his responsibility. He must decide on this without palming it off to Parliament.”

SLFP Parliamentarian Vidura Wickremanayaka added that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was consulted prior to drafting the ‘No Faith’ motion. He went on to note that the signatures for the motion were collected in Rajapaksa’s presence.

(Additional reporting by Shaahidah Riza)