Prez responsible for simmering crisis over CIABOC affair

– Ven Sobitha’s group



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Prof. Wijesooriya and Saman Ratnapriya addressing the media at their office at Nawala (Pic by Nimal Dayaratne)


By Shamindra Ferdinando


Alleging that President Maithripala Sirisena had caused a serious crisis at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) yesterday stressed that the President was now responsible for ensuring its smooth functioning.


President Maithripala Sirisena castigated the CIABOC, Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at an event attended by the military top brass at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) on Oct 12.


President Maithripala Sirisena would have to appoint a person more efficient than Mrs Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe who quit the post of Director General, CIABOC in the wake of the President accusing the institution of pursuing a political agenda, NMSJ declared yesterday.


Addressing the media at its Nawala office, NMSJ leader Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya, Saman Ratnapriya and Rev. Father Stanley Fernando emphasized the need to continue with all investigations undertaken by Mrs Wickramasinghe.


Underscoring the role played by NMSJ under its founder Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha at the January 2015 revolution and the subsequent parliamentary polls in August, the NMSJ stressed that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t deviate under any circumstances from what it called an agreed path. Ratnapriya said that the international community, too, had been concerned over the crisis caused by President Maithripala Sirisena.


Ratnapriya also referred to the British government support received by the CIABOC since the January Revolution.


The trade unionist said that a genuine yahapalana administration wouldn’t be a reality unless tangible measures were taken to curb waste, corruption and irregularities.


Mrs Wickramasinghe sent in her resignation on Oct 17. President Maithripala Sirisena accepted it on Oct 19.


Ratnapriya said the CIABOC under new leadership should conduct investigations without political bias. Ratnapriya asserted that in case the CIABOC failed under the new leadership, President Maithripala would have to take the responsibility.


Ratnapriya underscored the need for Mrs Wickramasinghe’s successor to be acceptable to the people. "The international community is watching the situation."


In case the President failed to appoint an efficient person who is even better than Mrs Wickramasinghe, the wrongdoing couldn’t be rectified, Ratnapriya said. "We’ll not remain silent government goes off the track."


Commenting on the relationship between Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) and the then Law and Order Minister Tilak Marapana, NMSJ said their grouping had the courage to demand the UNPer’s resignation. Marapana, a former Attorney General couldn’t have remained in the government after having publicly defended AGMS under investigation for several offences.


Ratnapriya said their position as regards former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s role as well as his son-in-law Arjun Aloysious’ involvement in alleged Central Bank bond scams should be probed.


He accused Justice Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC and State Highways Minister Dilan Perera of trying to undermine NMSJ.


Alleging that Rajapakse and Perera represented those who had been pursuing strategies contrary to yahapalanaya, Ratnapriya challenged them for a public debate.


Recalling AGMS chief Maj. Nissanka Senadhipathi sending him a letter of demand seeking Rs. 50 mn for making a statement defamatory of him, Ratnapriya said the NMSJ was ready to face challenges both in and outside courts. ‘We’ll be able to reveal things which hadn’t been discussed before", he said.


Ratnapriya also accused the President’s Media Division of trying to deprive the NMSJ coverage in the wake of CIABOC crisis.


NMSJ bosses faulted President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for failing to speedily conclude investigations in respect of killing of national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, disappearance of media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda, killing of journalist Sivaram as well as killing of TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj during the previous administration.


NMSJ said that the yahapalana leaders had so far ignored their repeated calls to assign special courts to continuously hear contentious cases. The judiciary acted swiftly and decisively in the case of High court judge Sarath Ambepitiya’s assassination to have the case concluded speedily. Ratnapriya urged the Attorney General to request the Chief Justice to assign special courts without further delay. In case the government needed the special courts to be approved by Cabinet of Ministers, it could do so, Ratnapriya said.


Citing the government decision not to arrest former first lady Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa as well as National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa, Ratnapriya speculated whether some influential party wanted to drag major cases until the next national level polls. Ratnapriya asserted that the handling of the MiG 27 deal and probe on SriLankan Airlines, too, indicated that attempts were being made to delay major investigations.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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