Courts, not parliament or media can find Mahendran guilty - Kiriella

CB Bond issues


by Zacki Jabbar

The government said yesterday that it was the courts and not Parliament or the media that could find people guilty of an offence.

Leader of the House and Minister of Highways Lakshman Kiriella answering questions at the Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, said that the Committee on Public Enterprises ( COPE ) report on Central Banks bond issues of February 2015 and March 2016 would be debated in keeping with parliamentary rules, but it was the Courts that could pass judgment on its findings."

The Supreme Court has already declared that Arjuna Mahendran is not guilty of corruption in connection with the Rs.10 billion 30-year bond issue of February 2015."

The Chairman of COPE Sunil Handunetti and JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, another member of COPE by giving press conferences while the Committee was inquiring into alleged corruption in the said bond issues, have made their report weak and liable to be rejected by courts," he said. "I told them not to be making media statements, but they did not listen. What they did was similar to a judge hearing a case publicly announcing his verdict even before proceedings had concluded. Such a judgement will be weak and liable to be thrown out in appeal."

The Minister said that some media had also jumped the bandwagon and found Mahendran guilty while the COPE inquiry was on, which it was not entitled to do.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, he recalled, had dumped 30 COPE reports which contained allegations against 120 persons into the dustbin. But the current government had promptly referred the COPE report on the 2015 and 2016 bond issues to the Attorney General for necessary action.

Kirielle said that the US media should be ashamed of itself for the manner in which it had backed Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in the recently concluded US presidential election.

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