Mangala promises:
Progress in constitutional reforms and transitional justice



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By Saman Indrajith, Rathindra Kuruwita and Revata S. Silva


Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera promised in Parliament yesterday to show clear progress in constitutional reforms and transitional justice process within this year.


 Taking part in the debate on the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister Samaraweera said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had personally given leadership to Constitutional reforms and transitional justice process.


 "The initial drafts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are now with the Prime Minister. We will present them to the Cabinet and Parliament this year. The legislation pertaining to the Reparation Unit is also being finalised now. The Office of Missing Persons has been established and our Ministry allocated Rs 1.3 billion to operationalize it."The minister said that PM Wickremesinghe had given leadership to Constitutional reforms following the setting up of the Constitutional Assembly on January 8, 2016.


The Matara District MP said the government would "expedite the process and table the draft Constitutional Bill as early as possible this year".  


Samaraweera said new laws would be brought in soon to take over the frozen Perpetual Treasuries assets to the State. "We will not let the bond issue cause any loss to the Government. Unlike in this case, nobody has been held accountable for the Trillions of Rupees that had gone missing when Ajith Nivard Cabraal was the Central Bank Governor and when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Finance Minister," he maintained."Soon after August 2015 election, Wickremesinghe told Malik Samarawickrama and me that the JVP MPs must be appointed as Chairmen of Parliamentary Watchdog Committees. Had we come to power with the intent of stealing public money, this would not have been done," the minister commented stating that the NCM was an attempt to drive the country backwards.


 The minister recalled how posters had been pasted all over the country ahead of the Presidential Elections in 1999 carrying the slogan "Ranilta be" (Ranil can’t). "We did this poster campaign knowing that the biggest challenge to our Candidate Chandrika Kumaratunga was Ranil Wickremesinghe. If we had actually believed that ‘he can’t’ we would not have had to spend millions of rupees for such a poster campaign. Now about 20 years down the line a no-confidence motion as been presented against him because he is the biggest political challenge for the Opposition."


 The minister said the motion was the first step of a political conspiracy, adding that it had been a flop even from the start. The minister also reminded the House how PM Wickremesinghe was selfless in agreeing to make Maithripala Sirisena the common candidate at the January 8, 2015 elections. "Becoming a presidential candidate from either of the two main parties is a significant gain. This was said to me by none other than former President Mahinda Rajapaksa prior to 2005 Presidential polls. He was referring to the money one receives from various donors when contesting the Presidential elections. ‘Win or lose the elections, you will still be a winner’, he told me," Samaraweera quoted former President Rajapaksa as having said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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