The President‘s decision to appoint two individuals infamous for misconduct and corruption, as judges to the Court of Appeal owing to their close relationship with the De Facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, has left the legal fraternity appalled.
The two newly appointments due to be made to Abdul Hameed Dileep Nawaz and M M A Gaffoor (Negombo High Courts Judge) has been heavily criticised by many in the legal fraternity and Colombo Telegraph learns that plans were underway to hold their swearing-in ceremony secretively. According to sources, although Gaffoor had been invited for his swearing-in ceremony on September 18 along with several new judges at the Presidential Secretariat, they had been abruptly asked to leave at about 1 pm without any explanation.
Colombo Telegraph learns that this was due to an issue that arose as a result of Gaffoor dubiously granting bail to three suspects including David Cooper who were apprehended by the Narcotics Bureau as a result of possessing 32 kgs of Heroin despite the Attorney General and the Police objecting to granting them bail. Gaffoor is said to be very infamous for his solicitation of bribes and dubious bail procedures.
However, the De Facto CJ had swept in for his rescue and had immediately instructed him to call the case once more the following day (September 19) and to cance the bail. So Gaffoor had promptly contacted the State Counsel and the Narcotics Bureau officials on the 19th and to hear the case. When the AG refused to partake in this unlawful procedure, Gaffoor had summoned the narcotics officers to the chambers and informed them to make an application to cancel bail and to state it is due to the suspects ‘threatening the investigators’.
Hence, under that false pretext he had called the case and revoked bail to the three suspects. Having followed De Facto CJ’s instructions closely, it has been assured that to Gaffoor thta he would now be able to swear-in within the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, the other controversial appointment of D. Nawaz has also been criticized as he is an individual who is widely known in the legal circles for his misconduct during his tenure at the AG department. He is a very junior official in the department but had been nominated over 19 other senior, qualified personnel including AG’s nominee ASG Murudu Fernando. He too is said to be a close friend of the De Facto CJ and Colombo Telegraph learns that by present, a number of disciplinary actions have been taken against him in the AG, to which the De Facto CJ had defended him, appearing as a private counsel.
Although former AG Eva Wanasundara had recommended the termination of Navaz’s services over a letter he had issued to prevent a fraud case in LECO from being investigated, the recommendation had not been ultimately implemented due to Wanasundara being elevated to the Supreme Court pending his termination.