Commissions of Inquiry Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament

Commissions of Inquiry Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament

Commissions of Inquiry Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament

Written by Staff Writer

12 Oct, 2018 | 9:46 pm

Colombo (News1st) – The Commissions of Inquiry Amendment Bill was taken up for debate in Parliament today. The vote on the bill will take place in the future.

Minister of Higher Education & Cultural Affairs, Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa speaking in parliament today noted that the amendment bill will empower the Bribery act to take action based on evidence and the findings of special commissions such as Presidential commissions.

JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa joining the debate noted that the Government has failed to act against any of the rogues or criminals of the previous administration over the past 3 years. Jayatissa noted that the Government lost its ability to punish such wrongdoers when it was revealed before COPE and the Presidential Commission that senior members of the Government including the PM, minister of Finance are involved in the treasury bond scam.  The JVP MP questioned how a Government could take action in such a backdrop against wrongdoers of the previous administration.

UPFA MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene speaking in parliament noted that they had submitted a list of complaints to the Bribery commission titled “top 10” over two years ago and noted that no action has been taken to this date. He noted that the Government is now claiming that this amendment bill would speed up the process of catching rogues.

Responding to the statement, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa noted that if this bill is passed it would enable the bribery commission to take action on the bond scam using the evidence and testimonies of the presidential commision. He noted that this bill would also eliminate the need for the commission to conduct their own inquiry into the allegations and scams.

Continuing to speak, JO member Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene highlighted reports regarding a Rs 150mn deposit into the bank account of a Minister. He noted that this was brought up during a Central Bank media briefing and that during this briefing the Governor mentioned that the account has been frozen. He questioned the statement made by the CBSL Governor and pondered whether action was taken in this regard?

The name of the Minister who received Rs.150 million into his account is still a mystery. The Governor of the Central Bank, the Cabinet spokesperson, and many responsible Ministers and parliamentarians show a lethargy to respond to the matter.

Although the Central Bank Governor said he is not privy to the information held by the financial intelligence unit, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said in Parliament recently that when he inquired on the matter from the Central Bank they responded saying there was no such thing. The suspicion that the general public has over this investigation is justified in a situation where ministers receive information that the Central Bank Governor is not privy to.

There is also no sign that investigations into the attempt to defraud a sum of 5 million USD through a Hong Kong bank account when handing out cricket broadcasting rights will be conducted any time soon. The delays in handing over the investigations into the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department created space for evidence to be tampered with or erased.

The Voice against corruption organization a few days ago revealed that although the Police financial crimes investigation Division conducted investigations into an overseas account where 22million USD was deposited, the progress of this investigation is still a mystery. The Voice against corruption challenged the government to release details on the manner in which money was transferred to this account.

Shouldn’t the names of these people involved in large-scale fraud and corruption be revealed to the country?

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