Explaining the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government’s decision to move the Justice Ministry to the World Trade Centre at an astronomical cost of Rs 400 million for a two-year period, Minister of Justice Ali Sabry PC claimed the move was a “big sacrifice” on the party of his ministry.
Minister Ali Sabry who led Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s private legal team for five years as the now president fought off charges of murder, money laundering and financial misappropriation, told a media conference that his Ministry was giving up a great building to accommodate the growing Court of Appeal which Rajapaksa recently packed with 14 new judges.
The Minister of Justice claimed that his ministry was “sacrificing” their premises at Hulftsdorp at the request of the Judicial Services Commission which was concerned that the courts would have to be separated in order to accommodate the new batch of judges and their registrars and court rooms.
According to Ali Sabry PC, the Ministry would move to the judicial complex being constructed on the former BCC land once the project is completed, which the Government estimates will be in two years.
Colombo Telegraph learns based on documents submitted to Cabinet that the Treasury has already allocated more than Rs 400 million for rent for the ministry of Justice for two years.
The President’s private legal team has been on the receiving end of various bonanzas at public expense, with several of Ali Sabry’s junior lawyers being considered for judicial positions, Colombo Telegraph learns.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has extended similar courtesies at state expense to his group of buddies in California, appointing his former travel agent as Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and giving several friends ambassadorial positions in various parts of the world.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph, members of the Muslim community who recall Sabry telling pocket meetings that the failure to vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa would mean the Muslims were “finished”, said the president’s counsel had been an utter failure for the community as minister of justice.
“He is a failure. He promised all kinds of things to the Muslims on behalf of his boss Gotabaya. He said if the Muslims voted for him in the 2019 election he would see us as stakeholders in his presidency. But Ali Sabry has been powerless. He has been reduced to putting status messages on his Facebook page criticizing the government he is very much a part of. He has failed to get Hejaaz Hizbullah released from detention, even though he knows better than most that Hizbullah is innocent. In fact it is Sabry’s cases that Hizbullah took involving the Ibrahims in the District Court that has put him in all this trouble. But even beyond that, he cannot even ensure we have the basic right to burying our dead – Sabry is a failure”, said one prominent member of the Muslim community regarding the Justice Minister. (Chinthika De Silva)