Wijeyadasa alleges House blocked swift legal action Treasury bond scams:
Posted on January 1st, 2019

UNP MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, yesterday said that the passage of the Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act should be the priority for parliament in 2019.

Colombo District MP Rajapakse said that in fact the House owed an explanation as to why all political parties represented in parliament unanimously agreed to defer the vote on Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act.

Rajapakse said that it was meant to empower the CIABOC (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption) to utilize available evidence to prosecute those involved in corruption.

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Responding to a query by The Island, the UNPer said that he had presented the proposed Amendment Act in parliament on Oct. 12, 2018 on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena.

President Sirisena expected Amendment Act to be ratified fast as it was aimed at enabling the CIABOC to prosecute those allegedly involved in Treasury bond scams perpetrated in Feb 2015 and March 2016.

Rajapakse said that though the President was the head of government, the other MPs of the UNF except him had refrained from speaking during the debate.

Rajapakse challenged political parties to give one good reason why a vote was required on Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act, introduced to expedite judicial process in respect of the Treasury bond scams involving disgraced primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL). It should have been ratified unanimously if everyone had been sincere in fighting corruption, he said

Parliament is scheduled to meet on January 08, 2019.

Rajapakse alleged that in addition to the UNF, which scuttled the President’s move, none of the other recognised political parties and groups in Parliament had backed the proposed Amendment.

Now that President Sirisena had declared that the main focus in 2019 would be the introduction of a cohesive anti-corruption strategy, it would be the responsibility of Parliament to empower the CIABOC without further delay.

“Perhaps, the JO felt that it, too, could be affected by unprecedented powers given to the CIABOC.”

Rajapakse emphasised that President Sirisena’s decision to sack the UNP led administration on Oct. 26, 2018 should be examined against the backdrop of political parties represented in parliament collectively working together to thwart President Sirisena’s bid to expedite judicial inquiry into the Treasury bond scams.

The JVP had refrained from backing the vital piece of legislation though one of its MPs headed the second COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) probe on Treasury bond scams, Rajapakse said.

Rajapakse said that he had been quite surprised when Joint Opposition Leader in parliament Dinesh Gunawardena, at that time, queried why the Amendment Act had been presented by him in his capacity as Higher Education and Cultural affairs Minister instead of Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale.

Rajapakse said that an Act proposed by the President could be presented in parliament by any minister.

Responding to another query, Rajapakse said the President had blamed Thalatha Atukorale for deliberately delaying the Amendment Act. President Sirisena taken up the issue at a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat on Dec 16 afternoon attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Rajapakse said. Ravi Karunanayake, Malik Samarawickrema and Kabir Hashim had also been present at the meeting, Rajapakse said.

It would be the responsibility of party leaders’ committee, chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to ensure the passage of the amendment unanimously or set an early date for a vote, Rajapakse said.

The President’s Counsel noted that a statement, issued by the Presidential Secretariat on Dec 21, blamed the relevant Sectoral Oversight Committee in Parliament for deliberately delaying the process.

Rajapakse explained that the Amendment would enable the CIABOC to use evidence gathered by the K.T. Chitrasena P CoI. Otherwise, the CIABOC would have to collect evidence afresh thereby prolonging the judicial investigation, Rajapakse said, adding that Parliament, instead of spearheading the anti-corruption drive, was undermining it.

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