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225 MPs Now Have To Answer My Questions

By Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera

(Personal address deleted)

25 December, 2012

 

Mr. Chamal J. Rajapaksa,

Hon. Speaker of the Parliament,

Office of the Speaker of Parliament,

Parliamentary Complex,

Sri Jayawardnepura.

 

Hon Speaker,

Regarding Declaration of Assets & Liabilities –  Members of Parliament

First and foremost, I wish to convey my appreciation to all 117 Members of Parliament who wittingly or unwittingly placed their signatures to the petition calling for the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Dr. Ms. Shirani Bandaranayake, wherein they have raised the issue of annual “Declaration of Assets and Liabilities” which is also equally applicable to all 225 Members of Parliament. They therefore now have to answer my questions, on their own declarations of assets and liabilities as Members of Parliament since May 2010.

The law says, any and all Members of Parliament who have not declared assets and liabilities can not function, sit in parliamentary sessions and vote. They could also be prosecuted against, for violation of law, in any Magistrate’s Court. I do therefore appreciate your statements made on the strict adherence to Constitutional requirements in parliamentary conduct by all Members and would stress, it is your obligation and responsibility to ensure that only Members who have submitted their annual declarations on assets and liabilities to you, who would participate in the day to day functioning of parliament.

For your easy reference, let me refer to sections of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities (Amendment) Act No. 74 of 1988, that is relevant and which applies to Members of Parliament and to your office as Speaker of Parliament.

Section 2 (1) (a) very clearly says that provisions of this law shall apply to all “Members of Parliament”.  It then says, under Section 3 (1) that assets and liabilities of the MP, his or her Spouse’s and that of the children should be declared. All candidates for LG, Provincial, Parliamentary and Presidential elections, are expected to hand over the declarations at the time of nominations, to the Commissioner of Elections and where such compliance have not been made, if elected, Members (of parliament) should hand over their declaration of assets and liabilities to the Speaker of Parliament under Section 4.(b).

The amended Section 3 also states, “….a person  to whom this law applies referred to in paragraph (dc) of sub section (1) of Section 2 shall be deemed to have complied with the provisions of this sub section if he makes a declaration of his assets and liabilities as at the date of nomination as a candidate for election under any of the Acts referred to in that paragraph on the date of such nomination or before he functions, or sits, or votes….” in parliament, as relevant to this letter. This essentially means, all Members have to submit their first declaration on assets and liabilities, latest at the time of their swearing in as members of parliament, to be sworn in as a MP. Thereafter they have to continue declaring their assets and liabilities annually, before every 31st day of March, every year.

“Assets and liabilities” have been defined under Section 12 of this law as, “assets and liabilities in and outside Sri Lanka, and includes movable and immovable property”.

This law also says, under Section 9 (1) that any person who fails to declare assets and liabilities without reasonable cause, makes false statement or contravenes any provision of this law, shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction after trial before a Magistrate be liable to a fine not more than one thousand rupees or imprisonment of either description not more than a year, or both such fine and imprisonment.

The legal right for any citizen to access such information as declared in a statement of assets and liabilities submitted to the relevant authority, is given in Section 5(2)(3) as. “Any person shall on payment of a prescribed fee to the appropriate authority, have the right to call for and refer to any declaration of assets and liabilities and on payment of a further fee to be prescribed, shall have the right to obtain that declaration.”

On that provision, as the appropriate authority in the parliament, I wish to first have your early answers to the questions below.

  1. Have all those 117 MPs who signed the petition handed over to you on 01 November, 2012 to impeach CJ Bandaranayake, declared their assets and liabilities on or before they were sworn in parliament as Members, after the parliamentary elections held in April, 2010 and if all have not, how many of them have done so ? Can you please provide the 02 name lists of those who have declared and those who have not ?
  2. How many out of the 11 (eleven) Members who sat as the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the impeachment motion, have declared their assets and liabilities and if any have not, who are they ?
  3. How many Members of Parliament from the 225 sworn in, have handed over their declaration of assets and liabilities annually, as required by law and can you please provide the 02 name lists of those who have done so and those who have not ?
  4. Will you as Speaker ensure that it would be only Members who have declared their assets and liabilities according to law, who would be allowed to debate the impeachment report handed over to you on 08 December, 2012 ?
  5. What is the prescribed fee to obtain a copy of a declaration of assets and liabilities of a MP and to whom should that fee be paid to ?

I wish I could have made this request more brief for your convenience, but, as I intend to make this available in the public domain, I believe all relevant details as regards declaration of assets and liabilities needs to be included for the benefit of those who wish to have them.

Shall expect an early response from you to all my above queries.

Thanking you,

Yours most sincerely,

 

Kusal Perera

Journalist

C.c – to all media institutes and organisations

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    This is a very important part of the system of good governance. To declare ones assets before and after assuming the hallowed seat of Member of Parliment. We are beholden to Mr Kusal Perera for raising this issue with the speaker. Lets wait for his response.

    We observe that the honorable members enter parliment by begging for votes from the people but after being elected they never sight the place. They enter like scrawny jungle fowls but after some time in parliment they become as plump as a broiler. Their necks and tummies increase in girth. They acquire sleek and well manicured looks. They travel in fine SUV’s with backup vehicles etc. I would think that their assets too increase proportionately to their physical dimensions.

    The question then arises as to what is the source of their newly acquired wealth. Is it the meager allowance they get from the govt or is it the commissions and cut backs from the several humanitarian operations they undertake? I wonder if the Pres too has to declare his assets and tax record as is required in the US.

  • 0
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    Kusal,
    You are an optimist if you think that you will be informed of the fee required,and,if you pay the fee, that you will be given all information of all assets of all the MPs.
    Either there will be no reply,or some subterfuge will be invented to avoid an answer,or to nullify the law you have quoted.

  • 0
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    Can you ask the parliamentarian , how he saved a million dollars to buy racing cars???? What does he say he owns?

    • 0
      0

      This query must be raised by the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue.

  • 0
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    A commendable move, Kusal. They wax eloquent about the supremacy of Parliament. We have a right to know whether they have at least fulfilled this basic requirement. We should know whether our representatives measure up to their `supreme status’. Now that Kusal has set the ball rolling, let there be more calls for the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities of our MPs!

  • 0
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    Nadooth Rajapaksa ge, badooth Rajapaksa ge…so don’t hold your breath expecting an answer. :)

  • 0
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    Mr Perera should also note that they are required to renew and update their declarations annually. He ( and we) must, therefore, ask to see the most recent declaration. Many of them may have been broke at the time of swearing in but we can expect their assets to show an astronomical increase after being elected.

  • 0
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    Well done. Make sure you follow up.

  • 0
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    Bravo! No one should be above the law. What is Caesar’s should be rendered to Caesar!

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
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      Dr

      From time to time you take a break from your Rajapakses AH licking job to post a comment to pollute this column, don’t you?

  • 0
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    Looking at the spate of shooting at/of Legal personalities, do not
    be surprised if one of the 225 chooses to send a white van your way,
    as is the current culture and you intellectuals are to be blamed in
    SL going this way. If this was not done in the 60 yrs. of Parliament
    rules, why now, unless this is also a foreign conspiracy, as Wimal Wwill say.

  • 0
    0

    Mr Kusul Perera,s opening statement in a recent interview is that he is fighting to protect the Democratic Rights of the Tamil peope.which is highy commendable.

    TNA which also claims to protect the Democratic Rights of the Tamil people are actively engaged in a massive campaign both local and overseas to achive these “democratic rights”.

    The constitutional requirement regarding the assets is clear here.

    But is it a requirement for the the Speaker to hand out this asset list to jounaists like Mr Kusul Perera?.

    Especialy because these journalists are mostly domiciled overseas, are there any precedences, where the Speakers of Western Parliaments handing copies of their asset lists to even neutral or non partisan jouralists?.

    In case the Speaker ignores this demand, will Mr Kusul Perera approach the TNA MP Hon Mr Sumanathiran to get him a copy, as he is appearing as a senior Defence Consul for the CJ in her fight against impeachment?.

    • 0
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      i do not wish to comment on your posts , but this time i’m compelled to response to your misleading facts , ANY ONE can get a copy of any desired MP’s assets merely paying Rs 400 ( or 500 ).

    • 0
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      KAS,
      According to the laws quoted by Kusal,the information should be made available to any citizen of sri lanka.
      Where he lives is irrelevant.
      Why are you so worried about this matter?

  • 0
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    Well done Kusal, this is a very good move.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Kusal,
    You can write any thing from Colombo, rural sinhala yakadayas never going to change. British made big mistake let dumps run the conutry called ceylon. EVen sinhala dumps cant run their own home, let them run countey its jokeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  • 0
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    A very good move indeed. Thank you Kusal.
    N. Shanmugaratnam

  • 0
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    Persist Kusal. Really good move behalf of the people.

  • 0
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    The public has every right to know. What is the big secret the speaker is hiding. If they refuse they should be brought before the courts and their appointments annulled.

  • 0
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    Of course , this is a routine thing . every year before 31st of March , they have to declare again. Apart from that the Electioneer Commissioner (Not the former but the present) sends forms of asset declarations for those holding posts in the political parties.

    As people are sovereign in Sri Lanka and franchise is a reflection of that sovereignty, any voter should have the power to ask for these declarations.

    If he fails to release the documents as requested, I think you can file a case in the form of a writ of mandamus in the court of appeal.

  • 0
    0

    The role of journalist is to ask the hard questions and get to the core of the matter. Following is said about Christian Amanpour one of the leading journalist and news anchors in the world.

    “It is the highest form of patriotism and professional duty to ask the toughest questions at the toughest times even in a situation where your country has suffered tremendous harm”, Christiane Amanpour said after receiving the 28th annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism at a luncheon.

    “Without a strong and rigorous, independent and fair, free class of journalists, I don’t believe that any society can be truly healthy, truly empowered,” she said to a crowd of more than a thousand media professionals, Cronkite School faculty and students.

    “It is not easy for any journalists on any level to sit down and ask the tough, rigorous questions,” Amanpour said. “What we have to do is control our fear and manage our fear and realize we’re speaking on behalf of all the citizens.”

    “This is not a profession you go into just for the money … It demands too much,” Amanpour said. “You have to love it.”

    Some journalists have become too chummy and accommodating in their relationships with political leaders, when a more objective stance of “professional cynicism” would be preferred.

    They opt for the friendly approach to disarm their interview subjects into giving them scoops that can boost their journalistic careers and image, but things often get too chummy—and even subserviently smarmy at times.

    Mr Kusal is giving the lead on how journalist can ask the tough questions and get to the key issues at stake. A good example for all journalists.

  • 0
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    Damn good indictment by Kusul. Let’s keep on pressurizing continuously the old man Speaker to spill the beans. Assets declaration should apply to the old man (old boy police) too.

  • 0
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    Kusul

    What a timely action, thank you. If the Speaker does not respond there should be an application to the high court to seek a reply from him.

  • 0
    0

    Well done Mr Kusal Perera , you have well and truly hoisted them on their own petard. Their response and progress should be verified by the 4th estate and/or any and all independent institutions like the “Transparency International” etc and a precedent created to appeal to the UNO, international commission of jurists and/or the ICC or even a foreign private detective agency or firm hired with a funds raised to probe their foreign bank accounts as well from all the well wishers of Ceylon and SriLanka for sensible and just governance of the G’s of SL now and henceforth.

    Anyone from any part of the planet should be able to contribute for this cause that the Colombo Telegraph and you should jointly spearhead with the likes of Kumar David, Tisaranee Gunesekera, Narendran Rajasingham and all other pseudo and anonymous of much talk and “getting it off their chests” with no tangible action writers and commentators to these columns including me. I am willing to start of such a fund with a thousand US dollars provided it is properly constituted and accountable in itself.

    The ongoing results should published the world over and to the mostly dumb villagers in SL as well as in all the other budding so-called “Arab Spring” and other so-called Democracies of the world such that the Red block countries such as China and Russia too may observe and try emulate without hiding behind the shield and/or mask of doing public good and fighting with the sword and/or gun of self aggrandisement that almost 99% of the psychopathic politicians the world over are well and truly guilty of.

  • 0
    0

    Assets And Liabilities: 225 Members Of Parliament Now Have To Answer My Questions By Journalist Mr Kusal Perera in the Colombo Telegraph of 27th Dec20112.

    My Response,
    Well done Mr Kusal Perera , you have well and truly hoisted them on their own petard. Their response and progress should be verified by the 4th estate and/or any and all independent institutions like the “Transparency International” etc and a precedent created to appeal to the UNO, international commission of jurists and/or the ICC or even a foreign private detective agency or firm hired with a funds raised to probe their foreign bank accounts as well from all the well wishers of Ceylon and SriLanka for sensible and just governance of the G’s of SL now and henceforth.

    Anyone from any part of the planet should be able to contribute for this cause that the Colombo Telegraph and you should jointly spearhead with the likes of Kumar David, Tisaranee Gunesekera, Narendran Rajasingham and all other pseudo and anonymous of much talk and “getting it off their chests” with no tangible action writers and commentators to these columns including me. I am willing to start of such a fund with a thousand US dollars provided it is properly constituted and accountable in itself.

    The ongoing results should published the world over and to the mostly dumb villagers in SL as well as in all the other budding so-called “Arab Spring” and other so-called Democracies of the world such that the Red block countries such as China and Russia too may observe and try emulate without hiding behind the shield and/or mask of doing public good and fighting with the sword and/or gun of self aggrandisement that almost 98 to 99% of the psychopathic politicians the world over are well and truly guilty of.

  • 0
    0

    WELL DONE KUSAL.

    IF THERE IS NO RESPONSE FROM THIS SPEAKER, THEN WE SHOULD ASSUME HE IS DUMB AND CANNOT SPEAK. WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO ORGANIZE A GANG TO RIDE BLACK VANS AND ABDUCT ALL THESE SO CALLED PARLIAMENTARIANS AND SCREW THE HELL OUT OF THEM.

    LET US NOT WAIT ANY LONGER.

    THE QUICKER THE BETTER.

    PRAISE THE LORD, HALLELUIAH, INS-HA ALLAH, AROHARA HARI RAM, HAIL MARY, AMEN, BUDHU SARANAI.

  • 0
    0

    In modern developed democracies, the requirement for declaration of annual personal wealth acquisition (salaries and wages, interest on investment funds, dividends, commissions, royalties, bequeathed inheritances and the like)has to be done via an authorised and independent institution like the department of taxation or inland revenue and independently audited and verified, to prevent deliberate or inadvertent ommissions or commissions.

    Without the above described robustness in accounting practice and procedures, amounts declared do not mean anything.

  • 0
    0

    You may go to Kalkudha ,Parsikuda beaches or Trincomalee to see with your own eyes how the beautiful beach fronts have been divided by the Regime chiefs and their henchmen.See with your own eyes the luxurious hotels coming up in these areas.I happened to have lunch in one of the hotels belonging to a right hand Parliamentarian of MR.Asset declaration is the last in their thoughts.

  • 0
    0

    I am sorry to say that K.A. Sumanasekera has missed the point for his benefit. He shows that he does not understand what Kusal had written there. If the law says that people have a right to ask for declaration of assests why should he not ask for the same.
    The Parliamentarians claim they are supreme because people are supreme.
    If the speaker does not reply to Kusal or make a statement on this issue it will show how undemocratic the Speaker is and how he does not cate about the laws and the constitution.
    Hats off to Kusal.

  • 0
    0

    Assets And Liabilities: 225 Members Of Parliament Now Have To Answer My Questions By Journalist Mr Kusal Perera in the Colombo Telegraph of 27th Dec20112.

    My Response,
    Well done Mr Kusal Perera , you have well and truly hoisted them on their own petard. Their response and progress should be verified by the 4th estate and/or any and all independent institutions like the “Transparency International” etc and a precedent created to appeal to the UNO, international commission of jurists and/or the ICC or even a foreign private detective agency or firm hired with a funds raised to probe their foreign bank accounts as well from all the well wishers of Ceylon and SriLanka for sensible and just governance of the G’s of SL now and henceforth.

    Anyone from any part of the planet should be able to contribute for this cause that the Colombo Telegraph and you should jointly spearhead with the likes of Kumar David, Tisaranee Gunesekera, Narendran Rajasingham and all other pseudo and anonymous of much talk and “getting it off their chests” with no tangible action writers and commentators to these columns including me. I am willing to start off such a fund with a thousand US dollars provided it is properly constituted and accountable in itself.

    The ongoing results should published the world over and to the mostly dumb villagers in SL as well as in all the other budding so-called “Arab Spring” and other so-called Democracies of the world such that the Red block countries such as China and Russia too may observe and try to emulate without hiding behind the shield and/or mask of doing public good and fighting with the sword and/or gun of self aggrandisement that almost 98 to 99% of the psychopathic politicians the world over are well and truly guilty of.

  • 0
    0

    Particularly it would be ineresting to know how many in the PSC have declared theri assets as well as the 117 who signed the impeachment motion. Are they eligible to sit in parliment? For that matter is the speaker eligible if he has not declared his assets.

  • 0
    0

    Yah good move to nail all rogues.

  • 0
    0

    No words to appriciate your action . S I Pandith Sp will raise his sarong and threat you to be sent to the next world This is how they answer the questions raised by people.

  • 0
    0

    Kusal,the main opposition UNP must also be questioned as to
    what kind of SERIOUS action they promise to us against the
    perpetrators.There are provisions in the law for every wrong
    doing or problems, without nobody to put them into practice
    because guardians are the ones breaking it and escaping
    justice.The culture is very bravely and openly exhibiting to
    the ordinary folks that law breakers are above the law.These
    fellows are talking about everybody else but not them.

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