Delay in empowering CIABOC: Prez-Speaker powwow soon Treasury bond scams
Posted on January 9th, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

President Maithripala Sirisena will soon request Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, in writing, to take tangible measures to enact the Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act to enable the speedy prosecution of those responsible for treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016.

President Sirisena will take the issue up with the party leaders via the Speaker against the backdrop of the President himself accusing parliament of sabotaging his efforts to amend the law for over six months.

SLFP spokesman MP Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday briefed the media of steps that were to be taken by the President to expedite the process.

Samarasinghe said that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) couldn’t move expeditiously unless it was empowered to utilize evidence/information gathered by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) that probed the treasury bond scams.

The P CoI handed over its report in late Dec 2017 to President Sirisena.

Addressing the media at SLFP office at T.B. Jayah Mawatha, the former Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the passage of the Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act would be a priority this year.

Samarasinghe lost his ministerial portfolios due to the UPFA quitting the UNP led United National Front Government.

The parliament on Oct. 26, 2018 deferred a vote on the Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act, indefinitely.

Samarasinghe said that the proposed law should be unanimously endorsed by parliament comprising 225 lawmakers.

The Island asked Samarasinghe whether he really believed all lawmakers would back the Presidential Inquiry Commission Amendment Act as some of them were alleged to have received kickbacks from disgraced primary dealer, Perpetual Treasures Limited (PTL), the SLFP spokesman said that no one had been found guilty in a court of law. Samarasinghe said that he didn’t know who received money.

During the inquiry, it transpired that lawmakers, UNPer Sujeewa Senasinghe and SLFPer Dayasiri Jayasekera received Rs 3 mn and 1 mn, respectively. UNP MP Sarath Fonseka revealed that he received Rs 100,000 during the last parliamentary polls campaign.

Samarasinghe said that President Sirisena was a member of the cabinet. The cabinet was collectively responsible for ensuring President Sirisena’s proposals, in this case enactment of new law to ensure expeditious prosecution, Samarasinghe said. The former minister said so when The Island sought an explanation whether with the presidential election expected to be called in coming late Oct or November, in addition to Provincial Council polls this year and parliamentary polls next, President Sirisena would receive the UNP’s cooperation.

Samarasinghe said that those who sought to deliberately delay judicial inquiry would receive the wrath of the electorate.

Responding to a spate of questions as regards their prospective presidential candidate, Samarasinghe emphasized that the SLFP backed President Sirisena for a second term. The SLFP believed President Sirisena’s candidature would be backed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Samarasinghe said, asserting there couldn’t be any ambiguity over the SLFP’s stand on President Sirisena’s candidature.

Samarasinghe said that President Sirisena, in his 2015 presidential polls manifesto, never promised to abolish the executive presidency. The then common candidate promised to dilute presidential powers, Samarasinghe said. The former minister, however, acknowledged that President Sirisena, in his funeral oration to late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha thera promised to abolish the executive presidency.

Asked whether the President Sirisena would call early presidential election, Samarasinghe emphasized the election would be called at the right time. The MP ruled out early presidential poll under any circumstances, though the President, in terms of the 19th Amendment could call fresh election once he/she completed four years.

President Sirisena completed four years in office yesterday (January 09).

Responding to another query, Samarasinghe said National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Minister Mano Ganesan on Tuesday queried President Sirisena whether Governors of provinces were replaced in preparation for forthcoming elections. The issue was raised at lunch when Ganesan walked up to President Sirisena after the inauguration of the latest phase of the Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga project.

Samarasunghe said that President Sirisena was not in a hurry.

In terms of the 19th Amendment, presidential poll can be called on completion of four years out of the five-year term. Parliament can be dissolved after completion of four and half years out of five year term, in accordance with the 19th Amendment. Parliament enacted 19th Amendment on April 28, 2015.

Samarasinghe pointed out that those who had taken SLPP membership repeatedly declared that they remained loyal members of the SLFP. Therefore, there couldn’t be any issue as regards the SLFP and the SLPP backing President Sirisena’s candidature.

Responding to another query, Samarasinghe asserted that their victory depended on the SLFP and the SLPP backing President Sirisena’s candidature. Referring to the percentages of votes received by the SLFP and SLPP at the last local government polls in February, 2018, the President’s spokesman said that the victory could be theirs only if they reached consensus on President Sirisena’s candidature.

Samarasinghe emphasized the pivotal importance of securing the minority vote at the presidential election. According to him, President Sirisena had the required backing among Tamil and Muslim communities and was likely to further consolidate his position as a result of post-war ongoing development in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Asked by The Island who the SLFP preferred to face in case the UNP-TNA-JVP-SLMC combine backed a candidate as they did in 2010 and 2015, Samarasinghe expressed confidence combined SLFP-SLPP led grouping could defeat anyone put forward by the UNP led side.

One Response to “Delay in empowering CIABOC: Prez-Speaker powwow soon Treasury bond scams”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Samarasinghe’s replies are all to do with how he can survive in a future administration. Sirisena has the chance of a snowball in hell in getting appointed as the President again! He has been a disgrace to the entire Sinhalese and in general to all Sri Lankans.

    Podu Jana Peramuna must have the courage to go before the people and explain all the frauds and mismanagement of the Jada Palanaya since coming to power in Jan 2015. SLFP is already dead and it is up to the Pohottuwa faction to attract all those disgruntled SLFPers and UNPers to support them if only to save the nation from dismemberment and perpetual war and the end of Sinhalese as a race.

    Leadership is not collecting votes – come where they come from – and then sell away the rights of the majority to the Shylocks of the minorities just to grab and stay in power. There must be a concerted effort to call upon all patriots to actively see what is happening in the country and decide for themselves.

    Sirisena’s 4 years is nothing to brag about. He has now changed sides only to save his skin from blame during the last 4 years in office. Sirisena is equally responsible for all frauds and misdeeds of the Jada Palanaya – him being the head of the Cabinet.

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