SLPP steps up pressure on UNP, highlights Avant Garde’s Ukrainian Captain’s plight Dilrukshi affair:
Posted on September 24th, 2019

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

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SLPP Chairman Prof. G. L. Peiris, yesterday, said that the recent shocking admission by top Attorney General’s Department official Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) during her tenure there as its Director General, acted at the behest of politicians in respect of Avant Garde case revealed extremely sorry state of affairs.

 At the time of the releasing of a recording of Wickramasinghe’s conversation with Avant Garde proprietor Nissanka Senadhipathy, the former functioned as the Solicitor General.

 Warning of dire consequences as a result of what the former External Affairs Minister called prostitution of the entire criminal justice process; Prof. Peiris said the thorough inquiry was required to ascertain the other cases filed following the change of government in 2015.

 The former law professor of the Colombo University said so in response to The Island query whether the SLPP/JO intended to push for examination of all cases filed against ministers and officials of the previous Rajapaksa administration.

 The SLPP Chairman said that it would be the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Department and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish as to why Wickramasinghe declared her power to function even over the parliament. Prof. Peiris pointed out that what Wickramasinghe meant by her statement that she could make or break laws was obvious.

 Prof. Peiris said that politically motivated police investigations and judicial measures deprived the country of an extremely valuable large revenue source. Over 4,000 personnel who served Senadhipathy’s outfit lost employment, Prof. Peiris said adding that a high profile operation undertaken by Sri Lanka on behalf of the UN was ruined by the current dispensation.

 Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris said that not only Wickramasinghe but the government owed an explanation regarding the Solicitor General’s revelations and accusations.

 When The Island pointed out that one-time Attorney General Tilak Marapana PC, who held the law and order portfolio in President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day government had to quit in Nov 2015 over him defending Avant Garde both in and outside parliament, Prof. Peiris, too, acknowledged crisis caused by probes influenced by politicians.

 President Sirisena named Sarath Jayamanne, PC, as Wickramasinghe’s successor after she resigned in Nov 2016 after the President flayed her over handling of the Avant Garde case.

 Prof. Peiris pointed out that Ukrainian captain of the MV Avant Garde ship, Captain Gennadiy Gavrylov arrested on 23 June 2016 continued to be held here as the government as the then CIABOC Chief admitted played politics with cases.

 Commenting on the CID probing Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s conduct during 2005 presidential election, Prof. Peiris said that the government and the political police should be ashamed of what was happening. Prof. Peiris said that the UNP feared to face Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 2019 presidential poll. Instead of preparing for the election, the government was working overtime, somehow to disqualify the SLPP candidate. 

Those who lodged a complaint with the CID alleging the then US citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa had engaged in 2005 campaign on behalf of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa turned a blind eye to Western interventions in Colombo to change the government as openly boasted by ex-Secretary of State John Kerry, Prof. Peiris said.

 Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris stressed the need to probe assistance and advice received by the CIABOC from various interested parties following the change of government. The SLPP Chairman said that the CIABOC issue would be taken up in the presidential campaign. The former minister said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been among those targeted by the government as part of its overall project to suppress the legitimate Opposition.

 According to Prof. Peiris a wider investigation was required to establish the truth. Had they intervened to force judicial measures on false allegations targeting ministers and officials of the previous administration, the same lot could have saved the treasury bond thieves, Prof. Peiris said.

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