After months of feigning illness in Singapore, where he has spent his days at a luxury hotel since June 2019, former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa is finally headed back to Sri Lanka, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The decision to advance his return to Colombo by a few days came after Attorney General Dappula De Livera reportedly sent Rajapaksa a private assurance that the indictment filed against him in the D.A. Rajapaksa museum case would be amended. The AG has assured Gotabaya Rajapaksa that he will no longer be the First Accused in that case and that several key charges against him would be dropped.
The AG’s decision was conveyed through the family of a state counsel with close ties to De Livera, whose family runs a funeral service and has been long-standing associates of the former Defence Secretary.
Rajapaksa was originally due to return on July 27, after his trial was due to begin.
This would mean that on Friday, July 26 when the D.A. Rajapaksa trial was set to begin, the Attorney General is likely to inform the Permanent Trial at Bar that the indictment against Rajapaksa and others will be amended and refiled. The decision to amend the indictment could set the trial date back by months, sources told Colombo Telegraph.
Interestingly AG De Livera has decided to amend the indictment against Gotabaya Rajapaksa despite the fact that no Court has ordered him to do so.
In fact, when Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s lawyers filed preliminary objections at the Permanent High Court saying the indictments had been erroneously filed, the three judges of the High Court strongly disagreed and ruled in favour of the AG that the indictments would suffice.
However, despite the judges having made no such request, the AG’s Department, on the instructions of De Livera, informed the Supreme Court that the indictments would be amended when Rajapaksa’s lawyers filed an appeal against the Permanent High Court’s rejection of their objections in the Supreme Court.
No reasons have been provided as to why the AG has decided to amend the indictment against Rajapaksa, since De Livera’s prosecutors strongly resisted preliminary objections raised by Gota’s legal team when they found fault with the indictments.
However, legal sources said that De Livera’s conduct has become clearer in recent weeks, specifically with regard to investigations and cases that implicate the former Defence Secretary. De Livera is desperately trying to get the CID to wrap up key investigations into attacks on journalists and other emblematic crimes on the pretext of expediting prosecutions, but suspicions are being raised about his true motives. It is speculated that De Livera may be trying to close those investigations before police can find evidence to irrefutably link the former Defence Secretary to those crimes.
It is unclear if De Livera’s actions are motivated by a desire to buy insurance in case Gotabaya Rajapaksa is made candidate for the SLPP and wins the presidency, or whether his proximity to a family with close links to the former Defence Secretary is driving his desire to save the former President’s brother from prosecution. (By Kamani Ramanayake)