Fonseka’s return to Parliament hinges on Attorney Generals opinion – Senaratne

* Ruling expected today



by Zacki Jabbar


Former Army Commander and Ex Member of Parliament Sarath Fonseka who was on Wednesday restored with his Four Star General rank, medals and pension that he was deprived of, following court convictions in 2010 and thereafter, is likely to return to the national legislature today.


Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne asked by "The Island" after he had concluded yesterday’s Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, as to Fonseka’s chances of regaining his parliamentary seat, which he also lost following convictions by both military and civilian courts replied " Depending on the Attorney General’s opinion which has been sought, the General could be re-appointed as an MP tomorrow. Jayantha Ketagoda MP has already indicated his willingness to resign and make way for Fonseka’s return ."


There was a difference of opinion over whether the Ex Army Chief could restrospectively regain his parliamentary seat, even though he had been restored with his civic rights. "We will know by tomorrow what the legal position is. If it is in favour of Fonseka then he is to be sworn in as an MP on the same day", Senaratne predicted.


President Maithripala Sirisena In keeping with his election pledge granted a full pardon to Fonseka in terms of the powers vested in him under Section 34 of the Constitution last week.It, meant any convictions against the former Army Commander by civilian or military courts and ensuing sentences and strictures imposed on him had been removed with immediate effect, entitling him to be restored with his rank of Four Star General, medals, pension and other privileges which he was stripped of in 2010 after being found guilty by an Army tribunal of alleged irregularities in military procurements and sentenced to three years in prison.


Among the other titles Fonseka was stripped of were Rana Wickrama Padakkama, Rana Sura Padakkama, Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya, Uttama Seva Padakkama and Desha Putra Sammanaya.


A few months after the defeat of the LTTE on May 19, 2009 Fonseka was elevated to the rank of Four Star General and appointed Chief of Defence Staff. He retired shortly thereafter complaining that it was a move to sideline him and unsuccessfully challenged Mahinda Rajapaksa at the January 2010 Presidential Poll.


The Ex Army Chief was arrested on Feb. 8, 2010 and court-martialled. He, was found guilty of corrupt military supply deals and sentenced to three years in prison. After serving more than two years of his term, Fonseka was released on May 21, 2012 due to a sustained campaign by local and foreign civil rights groups and political parties.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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