JVP ex-NL nominee endorses corporate funding

...stresses need for strict controls



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney-at-law Chrishmal Warnasuriya believes that receiving corporate funding for election campaigns was acceptable as long as recipients were subjected to stringent monitoring and controls.

Warnasuriya called for comprehensive monitoring mechanism to ensure transparency in receiving and usage of campaign funds.

The civil society activist was responding to a query on the continuing controversy over some members of parliament receiving funds from tainted primary dealer, Perpetual Treasuries and its subsidiaries, W.M. Mendis & Co., Walt and Row Associates etc., at the onset of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

Referring to the US system to ensure transparency in handling campaign funds, Warnasuriya emphasized that strict regulation was required to prevent abuse of funds. Warnasuriya said that campaign funds for example couldn’t be allowed to be used to acquire a Toyota Land Cruiser for a candidate’s wife.

Warnasuriya said that campaign funding across the board like in the US should be allowed subjected to monitoring. Warnasuriya, who had been on the JVP National List at August 2015 parliamentary polls said that candidates could not be expected to spend their own money.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) early this week recorded a statement from UPFA lawmaker Dayasiri Jayasekera in connection with him receiving Rs 1 mn from Walt and Row Associates in the run-up to the last general election.

State Minister and attorney-at-law Sujeewa Senasinghe, too, will be soon called by the CID. Senasinghe had received Rs 3 mn well after the election in three separate cheques whereas former tainted Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had accepted Rs 3.2 mn.

Warnasuriya said that the parliament couldn’t be deprived of its right to receive all documents pertaining to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on treasury bond scams.

Referring to Minister and Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Warnasuriya said that he had claimed to have received about Rs. 100,000.

Warnasuriya said that the real issue now was not those who had been revealed as recipients of PTL largesse but other beneficiaries. The lawyer said that he was talking in terms of billions of rupees.

Warnasuriya dismissed some lawmakers’ offer to hand over affidavits to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assuring they didn’t receive PTL money as a media exercise. Declaring that a simple statement in parliament would suffice, Warnasuriya said that anyone deceiving Parliament could be hauled up before the Supreme Court.

The lawyer frowned on the government strategy to secure the extradition of former Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Moscow Udayanga Weeratunga now detained in Dubai. Warnasuriya chided the government bid to convince Dubai authorities merely on the issuance of a note by the Sri Lankan President.

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