DONATIONS TO POLITICAL PARTIES IN A DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION
Posted on July 1st, 2018

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Political parties are an integral part of the democratic system and a symbol of democratic political administration.  Sri Lanka invented party politics during the British rule with the adult franchise and no decree was enacted by colonial rulers that donations to a legally registered political party were a punishable offense or a corrupt activity. According to the knowledge of the general public, making donations to a political party is not illegal activity from the point of view of the donor as well as the receiver. After the independence, no elected government either in UNP or SLFP attempted to criminalize a donation to a registered political party, even the yahapalana government elected in 2015 has so far not interested to criminalize donations to a registered political party, in spite of Mr. Rajitha Senaratne wants to decriminalise Cannabises.  As we fully aware, companies and individuals donate funds to registered political parties in America, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines and there are different rules using such donations for tax deduction purposes in various countries.  In Australia, there was a controversy that a party leader also donated Millions of dollars to his own political party and when Mr. Bill Clinton and George Bush were in politics, they received donations not only from the USA but also from other countries.  In the USA, nomination criteria to US Senate or Presidentship in political party base on fundraising for the party.

As in the democratic world, political parties treat as a symbol of democratic administration and legally valid device of politics and political parties have rights to accept donations from individuals or corporate institutions or non-government organizations. No political party can cover the operational cost from membership fees.  The existence of political parties would be depended on the availability of funds for spending during the election period. The opposition political parties have similar rights to accept donations but accepting donations by unregistered political parties such as LTTE is illegal, therefore America and many European countries proscribed collecting funds to LTTE as it was an illegal act.  Many religions and associated humanitarian projects are legal in the democratic world and accepts donations to continue the service to the society. The similar way political parties in the world accept donations to provide their services and, in some countries, political parties irrespectively whether they are in government or in opposition, are provided funds by the government, which is not illegal.

The administration and constitutional laws of Sri Lanka have not stated that donation to a registered political party is contrary to the law of the country. If it is illegal, more than a half of Sri Lanka’s population and other democratic countries must be imprisoned as many people donate money to political parties. Donations to legal institutions are not subject to litigation or investigation by commissions under the current law.  People donate to Buddhist and Hindu Temples, Muslim Mosques, Christian Churches and many charity organizations but they are not illegal, if so how can be determined, donations to registered political parties are fallacious acts.  I have seen a media report in Sri Lanka that New York Times published an article that a Chinese company owned by the Chinese government has donated money to former President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as he was the leader of SLFP, which was a registered political party in Sri Lanka for election spending in 2015. At that time, Mr. Rajapaksa was the leader of SLFP and it is quite correct that money was donated to Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which was a registered political party in the country. We have no idea whether this article in NYT contained true information or mere fabrication against Mr. Rajapaksa.  There were many open views about the style of behavior of America media and I read an article in news media of Sri Lanka that many incorrect views have published in New York Times against Russian President and the information published about Mr. Rajapaksa too similar to fabrications against Mr. Putin.  Before we go to analyze the New York Times article, it needs to understand that New York Times is not a heavenly God, which is the truth, the way, and the life.

If making donations to a registered political party in Sri Lanka, receiving a donation as a leader of SLFP which a legitimate position of a registered political party was and spending such money for an election was not an illegal act.  The similar way all other political parties received donations for election spending and they were not illegal acts to go to the court.  Why NGOs and some government members are barking toward the accepting political donations, which is legally allowed matters.  If the government and NGOs are committed to law and order, and to safeguard the democracy and the good governance, they must not be barking for legal matters but the government members also accepted money from perpetual treasuries, which was not legally accumulated funds as they were stolen money through a bond scam.

Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka clearly stated that the transaction was related to private business to private business of a company and also expressed that NYT report was inaccurate and bias against Chinese company.  According to diplomatic conventions, nobody can go to court against the statement of Chinese Embassy. It is illegal and diplomatic right.  That is why Mr. Ranil Wickramasignhe is silent on this matter as he knows the law relating to this matter. Sometimes, he also may have accepted donations from Chinese companies.  However, it is published that Mr. Ranjan Ramanayake went to FCID on this matter without knowing legal implications as he is not an educated person (nobody knows his qualifications), with legal knowledge and that is why he created legal problems to himself criticising judges of courts outside the parliament, which was purely illegal activity. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa needs to understand that he should not allow stupids like Mr Ranjan Ramanayake to come to the parliament in the next election.

The report of NYT would have focus to kill two birds from one shot but the reporter has done a work without focusing on different aspect the issue merely looking at the possibility of disturbing voters in Sri Lanka, however, it led to creating opinion against the credibility of NYT and the journalist herself. Sometimes, this particular journalist would subject to disciplinary action because he/she has relegated own employer to disgrace in a developing country.

Many Western journalists attempt to insult China through their writings.  Journalists can write any rubbish otherwise they will lose their earnings and people do not interest in litigating them unless they made legally provable defamation. Recently I read a book, McMahon, D (2018) CHINA’S GREAT WALL OF DEBT. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  I was surprised about information is given in the book. It is the nature of this world. Whatever, information published China would not worry as it is an economic giant in the planet earth.

The significant point that needs to be elevated in regard to this matter is why FCID did not present its investigation to the court on the corruptions of Rajapaksa regime as this this government expressed in the political platform.  Most probably, those who made complaints to FCID may have no legally provable practical evidence in support of the complaints.  The only case trialed in the court, the judge stated that there was no evidence found that the president secretary used SIL REDI for his personal use and many educated lawyers stated that although it was a criminal case the significant criminal law principle of MENS REA was not proven by the accuser and the judge the court did not take into consideration this criminal law principle making decision.

One Response to “DONATIONS TO POLITICAL PARTIES IN A DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION”

  1. Christie Says:

    Dollar democracy?

    In most of the democratic countries the rich and the powerful maintain their supremacy with political donations so they can harvest votes of the poor and innocent.

    In our country as soon as democracy was introduced who were rich and powerful; the Indian Colonial Parasites started financing the likes of N M Perera, Phillip Gunawardana and the likes. The financiers were Captains, Gnanam, Handys etc.

    The UNP was financed by they themselves.

    Banda was financed by India and other Indians like the ones above.

    In the West Jews generally finance politicians but now there is a new player in the game that is Indians.

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