In a fiery speech in Parliament last Friday (23), JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake revealed the highly suspect behaviour and conduct of the Presidential Commission on Political Victimization, and the ludicrous manner in which it exonerated crooks and criminals associated with the President and his family.
In 75 days, the Commission led by disgraced judge Upali Abeyratne had investigated 136 complaints. In 78 such complaints, the “Pissu Poosa Commission” recommended exonerating and acquitting some Rajapaksa family members, military officials and political associates – even those against whom criminal trials are currently underway in the courts of law.
Among those whose trials the Government is seeking to terminate on the basis of the Abeyratne commission’s recommendations were Nalaka Godahewa and Udaya Gammanpila – JVP leader Anura Dissanayake revealed. The two MPs would perform the unprecedented and historic action of raising their hands to vote in support of ending their own judicial proceedings, he said. “Honourable Speaker, when have such things happened in this country before?”
Dissanayake, during his speech, revealed the lengths to which the Commission had gone to accommodate complaints from Government affiliated stooges.
The Commission on Political Victimization was mandated to conclude accepting complaints on March 7, 2020, Dissanayake said. Seven months after this deadline, and mere weeks before the Commission handed over its report to the President, the Commission heard two complaints, Dissanayake said.
“On October 25, 2020 Thiru Nadesan, a Rajapaksa in law, lodged a complaint before the Commission; On October 23, 2020 Yoshitha Rajapaksa lodged a complaint with the Commission. On the 26th, 27th and 28th of October the cases were heard. The Complaints are lodged today, tomorrow the hearings begin and decisions are reached. The Commission’s conduct was blatantly partisan throughout,” Dissanayake charged.
Colombo Telegraph previously reported that the Commission utilized a special 16 day extension provided by President Nandasena to hear a complaint on the Duminda Silva Conviction – a verdict for murder that was upheld by a five judge bench of the Supreme Court.
But Dissanayake revealed that the Chairman of the Commission had gone even further to accommodate the needs of those closely associated with the ruling regime.
Dissanayake said that on December 8, 2020 the Commission presented its report. “Once a Commission hands over its Report, the Commission lapses,” the JVP leader explained.
“But even after the report was submitted, the Chairman Upali Abeyratne came alone into the Commission. The other members did not come with him.
Dissanayake accused Abeyratne of printing copies of the report and handing them over to the complainants, asking them to make additions that the Commission might have missed. Then on the 7th of January 2021, the Commission presented another report!” Dissanayake revealed.
Dissanayake said the usual practice was for attorneys at the Attorney General’s Department to put the accused on the dock and question then. But the commission had turned this process on its head and tried to put prosecutors on the dock based on complaints by Avant Garde.
The Commission had summoned Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara for questioning, he explained. “Honourable Speaker, when have such things happened in this country? These are trials that are ongoing in our courts of law. For the first time ever a Commission has begun to investigate those trials,” the JVP Leader said.
“We are grateful for Attorney General Dappula De Livera,” Dissanayake said, “because he refused to send a single one of his state counsel to be questioned before this Commission.”
Dissanayake claimed that Commission Chairman Upali Abeyratne had handed over the Interim Report of the Commission inside a car to President Gotabaya Rajapakasa’s legal advisor Rohana Gunaweera. “Ask the President to release a single photograph of the report being handed over, if he can,” Dissanayake said. “There is no photograph, because the report was handed over on the side of a street,” he charged. “What kind of Commission is this, Mr. Speaker?” the JVP Leader demanded.
The Commission’s recommendation, brought before the Parliament through the Prime Minister’s Resolution, was to end judicial proceedings in 78 cases, JVP Leader Dissanayake said. Of these, eight were ongoing trials in the High Court. One of the MPs in Parliament had spent an hour explaining a case in which he had been a lawyer, but all of these facts could be presented in a court of law, Dissanayake added. “Why are you so scared of the courts?” he asked.
Dissanayake listed the cases set for termination.
Udyanga Weeratunga & Gotabaya Rajapaksa [MiG-DEAL]
Remember, that the case against Udyanga Weeratunga is also the case against Gotabaya Rajapaksa himself, the JVP Leader emphasized.
Dissanayake said Weeratunga had two cases against him. One is the murder of a young man during his tenure as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Russia. The second case was the MiG-fighter jet procurement scandal.
“Honourable deputy speaker, this is the country where when war was raging, little children broke their piggy banks to contribute to the war effort, because there was a desire to see that terrorism end. But meanwhile, what else was happening? Four MiG fighter jets were purchased for use in the war. They said a Government to Government (G2G) agreement was signed for the purchase of the aircraft. The price was USD 7 million. But the Sri Lankan Government paid 14 million USD. Where is the balance USD 7 million? Isn’t this a question worthy of being asked? USD 7 million is 1.4 billion rupees. This is the case against Udyanga Weeratunga. IT IS ALSO THE CASE AGAINST GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSA.
“Hon. Speaker, in which country in the world, when a war is raging, when village children were breaking their piggy banks to support war funds, do the country’s leaders embezzle money from the state in the guise of purchasing military equipment? Are these the people we define as great patriots of Sri Lanka?
But don’t forget that Gotabaya Rajapaksa also used immunity to get himself out of another trial. Hon. Speaker, in this country, people work hard to earn money to build tombstones and monuments to their dead parents. But for the first time in the history of this country, a monument to a politician’s dead parents was built using state funds. Are these statesmen?
No Commission has released Gotabaya Rajapaksa from those charges. He got rid of that case using presidential immunity. No court of law has acquitted him of those charges or proclaimed his innocence. After he became President, he went to court and said ‘I have immunity so end the trial.’ That’s the ring of thieves running the country.
Jaliya Wickremasuriya (Rajapaksa cousin) [MONEY-LAUNDERING/MISAPPROPRIATION]
“Jaliya Wickramasuriya was arrested on charges of fraud in connection with the purchase of the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington DC. He got bail from the High Court and then skipped town, becoming a fugitive. His complaint also goes before this Commission.
“Wickramasuriya never made a single appearance before this Commission. But the Commission has exonerated him too and demanded that the charges against him be dropped,” Dissanayake charged.
Case against Yoshitha Rajapaksa [MONEY LAUNDERING]
“He is facing charges over the purchase of property and assets for the Carlton Sports Network for over Rs 500 million when he was serving as a Second Lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Navy.
“All he has to go and explain in court is how he came about this Rs. 500 million. He can say: I sold the paddy fields in Medamulana for x-amount of money; Mahinda Rajapaksa gave me x-amount from his salary; my Sri Lanka Navy salary amounts to x-amount. Daisy Achchi gave me her manik malla (pouch of gems). That’s all he has to explain, and then he is freed from these cases,” Dissanayake insisted.
Case against Basil Rajapaksa [MONEY LAUNDERING]
What are the cases against Basil Rajapaksa?
One case is about the House in Malwana. The property and house at Malwana is valued at over Rs 200 million.
“The case that is ongoing pertains to how he obtained the funds to purchase that property and build that house. Basil Rajapaksa goes and says the house is not his. But Honourable Speaker, Muditha Jayakody, the architect says, Pushpa was involved in drawing the plans for the house. He says Pushpa was at the foundation stone laying ceremony. He says Pushpa was present when the door and window-frames were being laid. But Basil says the house is not his! So that is the Dompe case.
“Then there is a case in Matara against Basil Rajapaksa. Honourable Deputy Speaker, the case against him in Matara is about an acre of property he owns in the exclusive Brown’s Hill area.
“Where did he get money to purchase that property? That is what the case is about. He can tell the court that he sold the house in Los Angeles. He can say he took the money from his daughter’s salary. The only question he is being asked is how he acquired the funds to purchase this property,” Dissanayake mocked.
The Case against ex Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda [NAVY ABDUCTIONS CASE]
Dissanayake said the complaint had first been made in 2013.
“CID conducted that investigation and as the probe progressed investigators realized what an alarming case it was. So the CID went to then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ask for his advice on how to proceed with the investigation. Gotabaya Rajapaksa tells them – this is the case of the abduction of young people – to submit a report on the investigation within a month.
That order has been tabled in Parliament and entered into the Hansard.
It was Gotabaya Rajapaksa who ordered the probe to continue,” the JVP Leader explained.
Case against Udaya Gammanpila [FRAUD]
“It is the Cabinet of Ministers who approved this Resolution of parliament to terminate these cases pending before the courts. Gammanpila is a member of the cabinet. Now that the motion is in Parliament he will raise his hand to support a resolution that will end his one trial.
“The charge against him is that he used a power of attorney illegally to sell property belonging to two Australian nationals. Why not simply go and present facts in court to exonerate yourself?” Dissanayake asked.
Case Against Nalaka Godahewa [MISAPPROPRIATION OF STATE FUNDS]
“MP Nalaka Godahewa who is also getting ready to raise his hand and pass this resolution to get his case dropped. What is the case filed against him? As Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) he provided Rs 5 million to the Tharunayata Hetak.
“Tharunyata hetak is a political organisation. What right does the SEC have to provide money to a political organization? He also can go and tell the court – this is the reason the funds were provided. Namal is my friend. Namal is our master. If he is around I can enter parliament. So I paid up. That’s all he has to say. The case will be closed.
The case against Magistrate Thilina Gamage [Illegal possession of an elephant]
“In its first report, the Commission recommended that the case against him be terminated. In its second report, the Commission also recommended that the elephant also be returned to Gamage. This is the quality of this Commission’s reports. So why does this country need a judiciary? If trials are going to be decided by raising your hands in Parliament, or in Cabinet?
Case against Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi
“The smuggling of firearms and depriving the state of revenue. Isn’t this a trial that needs to be heard?” Dissnayake said.
It is true that I went three times to the anti-corruption committee at the invitation of the prime minister.
It was these cases he went to present facts about at the Anti Corruption Committee, the JVP Leader said.
“I would like to ask, Honourable Speaker, where are the lies in the corruption cases we have highlighted?
“It is a lie that state funds were abused to build a tomb for dead parents? Is the ownership of the Malwana House and the Brown Hill property a lie? Is it a lie that Yoshitha Rajapaksa owned the Carlton Sports Network? Is it a lie that they embezzled money from the MiG deal? Is it a lie that Jaliya Wickramasuriya embezzled money from the sale of the Sri Lankan Embassy in the US? Is it a lie that the Avant Garde Mudalali stole revenue due to the Government to the tune of billions?” he charged.
Dissanayake said that the JVP’s fight was against this corruption. “Our motherland is in the grip of a Ring of Thieves, Honourable Speaker, that is composed of a team of politicians, a team of military personnel, a group of public servants, a group of businessmen and a group from the judicial sector,” he said.
See edited video here
See full speech here