Sending a clear signal to the judiciary, the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has launched social service programmes with the main accused in a major arms trafficking case and notorious ex-army major Nissanka Senadhipathi.
Senadhipathi and eight others have been served indictments by the Attorney General on multiple charges of gun-running and corruption, with trial set to begin by May 2020. Senadhipathi is the main suspect in the case. He evaded arrest late last year, by fleeing to Singapore for “medical treatment” the night before he was to be taken into custody.
In a blatant display of solidarity with a main accused in a major criminal trial, Ministers and SLPP MPs are tripping over themselves to be pictured alongside the Avant Garde Maritime Services Chairman, who has been seized with a desire to provide welfare services to prisons inmates, based on his own experiences while he was in remand custody on the illegal weapons trafficking charge.
Senadhipathi has launched a vocational training project for inmates and “submitted a cabinet paper” for approval, by his own admission.
The Prisons Commissioner General T.M.J.W. Tennakoon and Prisons Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva graced the launch, while Hambantota MP Namal Rajapaksa tweeted, “Very timely initiative by #SriLanka’s Ministry of Justice, Human Rights & Legal Reforms together with Avant-Garde to provide rehabilitation and vocational training for prisoners to integrate them back into society.”
The Prime Minister’s son was also at the opening and seated next to the Avant Garde chairman.
Legal experts told Colombo Telegraph that the hob-nobbing with an accused in a major criminal cases speaks volumes about the message the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants to send the judges who will hear the case. “Basically the Government is saying to the judiciary, Senadhipathi is one of ours and don’t touch him” a senior lawyer said. It would take exceptional courage on the part of judges to convict such a high profile friend of the President the lawyer added. (By Janakie Mediwake)