3 March, 2021

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Mad (Pissu) Commissioners Add To The King’s Madness

Serious questions have been raised about the manner in which the Commissioners who constituted the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization (PCoI) have compromised the independence with which they were expected to discharge their quasi-judicial role. The Commission was appointed by President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa to inquire into and report on acts of political victimization of public officials, corporation employees, police officers and members of the armed services.

According to opposition sources, it is clear that the PCI, chaired by Upali Abeyratne, former Supreme Court Judge who has been a controversial figure had acted on the dictates of the Rajapaksa regime. The other members were Chandra Jayatilleke, a former Judge of the Court of Appeal, who himself courted controversy during his period as Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission and Chandra Fernando, a former Inspector General of Police who was actively involved in the last Presidential and Parliamentary elections on behalf of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. Abeyratne was sacked as a District Judge by the Judicial Service Commission after a panel chaired by Justice Mark Fernando found him guilty of several serious charges. Allegations included improper conduct when handling a divorce case in which Sarath N. Silva, who was then a Court of Appeal judge was a co-respondent. However, after Sarath N. Silva became Chief Justice, Abeyratne ‘appealed’ to the Judicial Service Commission and was re-instated.

The Commissioners have recommended that a large number of persons who are accused in pending criminal cases be acquitted and discharged from such cases. Most of such persons are not public officials, corporation employees, police officers and members of the armed services, the best example being Udaya Gammanpila who is indicted before the High Court for alleged fraud in a purely civil transaction. The worst case is that of Duminda Silva, known to be very close to President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was convicted for murder by a High Court at Bar and whose conviction was unanimously upheld by a five-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising the Chief Justice, a judge of the Supreme Court who later succeeded him as Chief Justice and three present judges of the Supreme Court. The case arose out of a shooting related to local government elections. Ironically, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, who was a member of the bench has now been appointed to chair the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

Several senior lawyers who spoke to Colombo Telegraph were of the view that the PCI report interferes with the process of justice and is a classic example of contempt of court.

The PCI went into the legality of the Anti-Corruption Committee appointed under the Yahapalanaya Government and of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) of the Police set up by the Inspector-General of Police. It found that both were illegal and recommended that the members of the Anti-Corruption Committee be investigated by a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry which can recommend that Parliament take away the civic rights of those found guilty of abuse of power, The list is a virtual who’s who of the present Opposition. It includes pollical personalities such as Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sarath Fonseka, R. Sambandan, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, M.A. Sumanthiran, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rauf Hakeem, Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrama and Jayampathy Wickramaratne, lawyer J.C. Weliamuna, Saman Ekanayake who was the Secretary to the Prime Minister, several Police officers and Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige who was the Attorney General’s nominee in the committee.

The last person whose civic rights were taken away in this manner was Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world’s first woman Prime Minister. It is ironical that the Rajapaksas who claim to be carrying on the mantle of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is using the same draconian law that was brought and used by President J.R. Jayewardene to remove Mrs. Bandaranaike from the political scene so that he could be elected for another term as President without difficulty. It is equally ironical that Ranil Wickremesinghe, J.R.’s nephew and protégé, who voted for the law and for the imposition of civic disabilities on Mrs. Bandaranaike and who defended and bragged about it as a young politician now finds himself at the receiving end of the same law.

Let us go back to the PCoI report itself. The Commissioners hold that the Anti-Corruption Committee and the FCID were illegal. Who appointed the Committee? It was upon a Cabinet decision. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse was the person who complained to the PCoI about the Committee but he was a member of the Cabinet that appointed it! Why has the PCoI not recommended that the entire Cabinet be hauled up before a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry? That would have included President Maithripala Sirisena who was the head of the Cabinet and the likes of Duminda Dissanayake who is now a Minister of State.

At page 401 of the report that is now in the public domain (it has still not been officially published), the Commissioners say that on 05 February 2015, the Anti-Corruption Committee met under the auspices of President Sirisena. A member of the Anti-Corruption Committee confirmed to Colombo Telegraph that although meetings presided over by the President are normally held at the Presidential Secretariat, on that date President Sirisena came over to ‘Temple Trees’, the official residence of the Prime Minister, to chair the meeting. The meeting was on when Sirisena arrived. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe moved out of his chair and Sirisena conducted the meeting, giving instructions to the committee on what should be done. While members of the committee are to be dealt with, the PCoI does not say a word about Sirisena who endorsed the committee, first as the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers that appointed it and then went over to Temple Trees to preside over it.

Colombo Telegraph also understands that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe advised the Inspector General of Police, N.K. Illangakoon to let the Legal Division of the Police to handle the setting up of the FCID. The Legal Division had accordingly taken the necessary steps having obtained legal advice from the Attorney General. In fact, when the FCID was challenged in a number of applications filed in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, senior officials of the Attorney General’s Department had defended the appointment of the FCID in court. At page 474 of the report, the PCoI has found fault with the Inspector General of Police for falsely stating in the relevant Gazette notification that the FCID has been set up by a Cabinet sub-committee when in fact it has been set up by the Anti-Corruption Committee. The IGP who set up the FCID as a division of the Police under section 55 of the Police Ordinance and who, according to the PCoI has made a false statement, has not been named by the PCoI as a person to be dealt with. Neither has Yuvanjan Wijetilleke, Attorney-General at the time who advised the Police Department on the setting up of the FCID been named.

Colombo Telegraph further understands that R. Sambandan and M.A. Sumanthiran had not attended any meetings of the Anti-Corruption Committee.

Also, the PCoI had not even a sent a notice to Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to appear before the Commission. However, Ekanayake has been named as a person to be dealt with. Further, although the Commissions of Inquiry Act requires summons to be served personally through the Fiscal, the PCI has not done so, instead sending notices by ordinary post and registered post.

Officials of the Attorney-General’s Department are perturbed at the silence of Attorney General Dappula de Livera when Thusith Mudalige, a senior official of the Department who had been nominated by the former Attorney General Yuvanjan Wijetilleke to serve on the committee, has been named by the PCoI as an ‘offender’.

Colombo Telegraph has learnt that several persons named by the PCoI are contemplating legal action against the PCoI report. (By Sirimevan Dissanayake)

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Latest comments

  • 36
    1

    In Russia, despite all the insulting things that Navalny has said about Putin, they didn’t dare put him away for 3.5 minus 01 = 2.5 years.

    .
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55910974
    .

    Here poor Ranjan Ramanayake has beengiven 4 years RI for saying that most of our judges are crooks.
    .
    And now they want that Ratnapura District fellow in Parliament despite committing murder.
    .
    These happenings defy all logic.

    • 21
      2

      Dear SM,
      .
      Hope not SRILANKEN putin would do the same regarding AKD or any other opposition men.
      .
      This is unfortunately the ground reality in SL. Today how can they celebrate another aniiversary people not being given the due freedom to speech ?
      .
      I am very sorry for RR, but I think he will be released with Kudu Duminda (Hiru TV channel owners brother) next days, because keeping RR longer in a prison will be very disadavantageous to current men. There are speculations among the northern srilankens that Ranjan should immediately be released.

      What cant happen under former high criminals as leaders ? PEOPLE ARE TO BE BLAMED for this mess.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yh6R9b7wIs

      • 7
        14

        “Hope not SRILANKEN putin would do the same”
        Do you have any proven charges about personal victimization by Putin.
        Putin is tough and had on enemies. But there are rules of the game.
        We readily swallow any Western anti-Russia fabrication without question.
        *
        How many of us know that the verdict by Dutch investigators that East Ukrainian rebels brought down the Malaysian civilian aircraft in midair using Russian missile has been rejected by Malaysia, not any closer to Russia than to the capitalist West.

        • 12
          0

          Aiyoo

          Is there any medicine (preferably Sidha or Ayurvdic) to treat “arrested development”? It appears not much growth has taken place since 1950s.

    • 1
      0

      Typo:
      .
      I meant, of course, to say that that the Russians did not dare to put Navalny away for MORE than those 2.5 years, having made a deduction of a year – for a somewhat complicated reason that readers had better research themselves!
      .
      I think that most readers find it difficultly to locate an article that is no longer on the opening displa, and there’s been a flood of arguments on these few days.
      .
      Too bad. I had placed four comments (almost amounting to an article by itself) here:

      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/narrative-fragments-of-independence-share-a-unifying-sri-lankan-narrative/

      .
      Actually there are many ways to navigate. However, clicking there will work.

  • 32
    3

    I have a serious doubt about the mentality of Sinhala community considering their religion, culture, civilisation and their education level. How come they are not bothered about what is Buddha teach, what is meant by the culture, what is the civilisation they derived over the centuries and what they learned from their education. Can’t they understand what is going on in this country for decades. Can’t they make a choice using their normal brain? What do the governments you selected do? Yesterdays hero’s todays murderers, yesterdays murderers todays hero’s. Are you continue to choose murderers every five years? They waste your money on commissions to take revenge each other and ask you to beg? Every one is now trying to eat our land inch by inch and now whole Srilanka is a branded as murderers, animals, ghosts.

    • 21
      1

      because there is no buddhism anymore. Because the half of the majority community kept quite while the extremist buddhists shouted and harming minorities, stealing public funds, and all the corruption that the extremist buddhist are known for; now there is no more the buddhism that was there a few decades back. The ‘silent majority’ kept their mouths shut (don’t if they though the extremists would throw them a financial bone) and allowed for the extremist to define buddhism. This the case here and abroad.
      .
      Look at burma, now the silent majority in that country are protesting the military but they didn’t say anything and let the extremist voices fill the air when the burmese military were committing genocide of the Roghinya Muslims (before some extremist buddhist says “why aren’t you talk about the Roghinya buddhists who also suffered, why aren’t you talking about the buddhists *crying buddhist baby noises*, the Roghinya were persecuted by the extremist buddhists because they exclusively Muslims)

    • 5
      1

      Ajith, You talk of mentality, culture, education, to which I add philosophy, speech and enlightenment, all functions occupying left side of brain, called soul response of mind, emotions and will. Apart from body and soul we control, there is the human spirit through which spontaneous thoughts. pictures and impressions input from the spirit world from 2 sources, either from Creator God or evil devil, music and art awareness, intuition, 3D forms and imaginations all function through the right side of brain. Scientists confirm that the right side of brain is able to receive this spiritual power after recording EEG while in prayer. When the mentality is confused about right and wrong, they murder and are to be pitied than condemned knowing where their eternal destiny lies in belated judgment and justice.

    • 14
      9

      Ajith
      Many Tamils have expressed ‘ doubts about the mentality of Sinhala community’.
      Regardless of their doubts, there is little that they can do about it.
      *
      Is it not time that they gave some thought to the mentality of Tamil community that has not helped very much to address the problems internal to the Tamil community, without which little can be achieved in dealing what is external to it?

      • 5
        0

        SJ,
        Can you add little bit more on the mentality that has not been addressed internal to Tamil community?

        • 6
          6

          Parochial and caste ridden thinking, male chauvinism, archaic attitudes and regionalism to name a few.
          *
          The serious inability to look at issues from another’s viewpoint links with these.

          • 9
            1

            SJ,
            I dont think tamil srilankens are more narrowminded (parochial) compaered to the sinhalese. Recent elections proved it well as no times in the past. 6.9 millions of gullible voters nevertheless, paved the way Rajaakshes to return All was clear about their high crime records.

            Male chaunism also played a bigger role in SLPP power struggle. Most of those supporters would not care much about anyone other than so called sinhala buddhists. I am also born buddhist, but I dont think I belong to that category. I focuse myself only on ” meditation part” of buddhism.

            And aftermath of EASTER sunday disaster, entire world became clear how sinhala mobs demolished the shops and houses of innocient muslims. If they see it big picture, would they ever have been doing so? And that Dr Sapir on inferterlity of once pregnant mothers related stories which were in the air, but was impossible in real world . This we happened to discuss with BMJ last August 2020. THe kind of stories would go viral only among stupid people.

            • 0
              2

              LM
              Was it broad mindedness that expelled all Muslims from the North in 1990? When just one Tamil political leader had the decency to apologize to the Muslims 20+ years after the event, without exception all Tamil nationalists pounced on him.
              *
              About social attitudes in Tamil society, I doubt if you know enough to comment.
              I am not conducting a beauty contest for parochial attitudes.
              I was asked a question about what ails Tamils, and I responded.
              *
              Take a look again at the sick comments that appear here in defence of Tamil nationalism and draw your own conclusions.
              The ordinary Tamil is as decent as any ordinary Sinhalese or Muslim.
              If the Sinhalese voted for someone to your dislike study the reason rather than curse the voter.
              The same holds for Tamils voting for the FP/TNA from 1956 to 1977 and again since the late 1990s; and not challenging the LTTE.
              *
              Do not defend sick minds with smooth talk. Heal them if you can.: that may need a few harsh words.

            • 0
              0

              My dear leelagemalli.

              6.9 Million voters of Srilanka[ A land like no other ] have ushered the Banana Republic of of Srilanka.
              These 6.9M plonkers had on the day of the WANING moon in the month of adhi nikini in the year two thousand five hundred and forty three of the Buddhist era [2019 AD ] HAD GIVEN THEIR MANDATE to adopt and operate a New Republican Constitution which shall verily be called the Democratic Socialist Banana [ kolikuttu? ] Republic of Srilanka.!

              Upali [kuppadiya!] Abeyratne aka pissu poosa and pirith kottiyas are having a field day on the days of the Waxing moon as well!

          • 2
            2

            The serious inability to look at issues from another’s viewpoint links with these.

            Who is that another? Vasanthi who wrote on her official letter head to support Old Royals? What kind of Aanduwa’s propagandist is this another? Why this another is having problem or inability to explain to others so they can be brainwashed to view in that another’s view instead their rational thinking? Why is this another is doing all these Nariya talks? Do the students have ever understood these Vytherichchal (Heartburn) talks?

          • 2
            0

            What you are saying is applicable not only Tamils but also you and me.

  • 18
    1

    You used the correct phrase “Pissu”. Upali Abeyratne is called ‘Pissu Poosa’ (mad cat) in legal circles. Even judges refer to him as pissu poosa. One day, in the Supreme Court a judge was fixing dates for a case and another judge asked “who is sitting on that date?”. “Pissu Poosa” the first judge inadvertently replied. Lawyers heard the remark and were amused. The judges were embarrassed but did not want to show that they had made a mistake. But all knew who it was about. How many good judgements has he given? None.

  • 7
    0

    Sirimevan Dissanayake & CT: Thank you for bringing to the attention of the readers the “GRAVITY” and the impending “DANGER” that would fall on the “JUDICIARY” and the “LEGAL SYSTEM” of this country and the people. This “Commission” that made the “Recommendations” must be taken to task at the Highest Level and that would be the Supreme Courts. The “CHARGE” must be “CONTEMPT” of “COURTS” (meaning all the courts that are presently hearing and have scheduled to hear) and the SC that has “FINALLY” decided a case, e.g. Duminda Silva. In this context, I don’t think even the Parliament (an Institution PRIVILEGED) can discuss any of those cases that are already decided by the Courts. Compared to this “Commission’s Recommendations”, Ranjan Ramanayake’s is nothing, because all that comprises of a charge of “CONTEMPT” are in “WRITING” and in “PUBLIC”. All the “Commissioners” must be “CHARGED” for “CONTEMPT” of Courts, the Judiciary, the Legal System and the Judges of Courts. Apart from that the “CREDIBILITY” of the “Commissioners” (including the Special Presidential Commission) must be made PUBLIC, so that the citizens of the country could “ASSESS” the “Credibility” of the “APPOINTING AUTHORITY”, in this case, the President of the country who was “Elected” by “6.9 million” votes.

    • 1
      1

      Siri/Simon/CT/Supreme Ct, You have a constructive solution to save legislature of this land instead of destroying it through panic and guilt. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Neither can past be erased through denial and destruction. How about independence presidential pardon.

  • 13
    0

    I think there is no point in going to SL courts anymore to file cases. There should be a mechanism to go to International courts directly to file cases. In SL commissions on top of commissions are appointed in order for the President to get the ruling he wants. Now the commissions also have judicial powers. Are the Judges in the country fast asleep, are they not ashamed? The Judges have become slaves of the Govt.

    The whole world is laughing at Sri Lanka.

  • 11
    0

    Buddhist1: Agreed. Yet that “Avenue” must be made use of while going International. Already, the International Forums have “Assessed” that the Legal System and the Judiciary are corrupt and “Bankrupt” in fair and equitable decision making. Equally with appointing “Commissions” and that as a “TOOL” to “Hoodwink” the Locals PLUS the International Community. This “MINUS RATING” has come about because of the cases referred to the Judiciary seeking decisions. So it is a “MUST” step. Hope you understand. Thank you.

  • 4
    1

    Does, being a Sinhala Buddhist offer immunity from committed crimes? Hell of a logic for a leader.

  • 0
    0

    It is not a surprise, especially in Sri Lanka, where the state machinery (that includes all organs of state, namely, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary) is denuded with a thing called decency. Constitutions and laws cannot address all issues but decency that should be within the human polity can. It is not a surprise, that when a political group comes to power, it must take so called punitive action for “the misdeeds of the past regime”. One can say that it is nothing but political vendetta. Can a country go on like this? NO. I cannot expect anyone to pontificate the politicians with “Hatred does not cease hatred”. The very man who said this in San Francisco in 1951 practiced otherwise in Sri Lanka to eliminate any effective opposition for his re-election as the President of the country. SO, this tirade goes on with many “Pissu” activities of the many who act in the play. But the time has come, in the greater interests of Sri Lanka, for the rats to bell the cats.

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