Former Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala issued a stern warning by the Presidential Commission
Posted on September 11th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing into Political Victimisation, issued a stern warning to suspended Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala.

This was when he appeared before the commission for the first time today. The commission accused him of undermining the judicial process and undermining public confidence.

Nihal Jayatilleke had complained to the Commission that his arrest was due to political pressure in connection with the distribution of subsidies under the Prosperous Housing Program and the payment of compensation and gratuity for employees who resigned voluntarily during the conversion of the Divineguma into a Department. 

Former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Malik Samarawickrema who were named as respondents in connection with the complaint were summoned to the Commission yesterday.

The Commission’s presiding Judge inquired about the National Executive Council approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Good Governance from Mangala Samaraweera and he testified that he did not know anything about the National Executive Council so far.

Former Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne, the Chairman of the Commission, questioned as to how he was unaware of the Cabinet paper on the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Committee since he was a powerful government minister.

“I do not remember exactly whether I attended the relevant cabinet meeting or not,” the former minister said. Samaraweera also admitted at the commission that he should receive the information whether he attends the cabinet meeting or not. He further stated that he was not aware of the Rapid Response Committee functioning under the Anti-Corruption Committee.

He also stated that he was not aware of the fact that he had been appointed as the Chairman of a sub-committee under the National Executive Council.

The Presiding Judge of the Commission inquired whether he had acted as a responsible Minister.

Mangala Samaraweera replied that he thought he had acted in such a manner.

The Commission questioned whether it was acceptable to have a National Executive Council above the Cabinet, to which Mangala Samaraweera said that every government is appointed on the basis of the call to fight against corruption.

However, he expressed frustration that in the end what his government did was to maintain the existing system.

Judge Chandra Jayatilleke asked whether the ignorance of the Cabinet paper was a breach of collective responsibility.

Mangala Samaraweera said that speaking out against the cabinet paper would be a breach of collective responsibility but not knowing it would not be a breach of collective responsibility.

The Presiding Judge asked if he has ever seen such a Cabinet decision in any government. Mangala Samaraweera replied that perhaps the previous governments were not so stupid.

The presiding judge again asked whether the process of administering justice through another non-legal entity could be accepted while the judiciary was there to administer justice in cases of corruption and fraud.

Then Samaraweera stated that this is what will happen even if the 20th amendment is brought forward.

Then the Presiding Judge stated that they will talk about the 20th Amendment in a future government. Attorney-at-Law Senarath Jayasundara asked Mangala Samaraweera about political victimisation against government officials such as Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke. We submitted a cabinet paper to catch sharks, not sprats. “But in the end, it’s has caught the sprats and not the sharks” he said.

Meanwhile, former Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who was named as a respondent in a complaint lodged by the former chairman of the Ratna Lanka Defense Company, appeared before the Presidential Commission in connection with the allegations regarding a floating armory. ‘’

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