In a shocking turn of events, a businessman closely linked to former Minister Basil Rajapaksa has “unconstitutionally” grabbed control of the Liberal Democracy Party, a complaint received by the Chairman of the National Elections Commission said.
The complaint has been filed by Prof. Anura Kumara Uthumange, Lacille De Silva, and nine other members of the National Committee of the party. The party, according to the letter, has a total of 14 National Committee members.
According to the complaint, K.S.T. Perera, the Chairman of KST Evergreen (Pvt) Limited and a close associate of Basil Rajapaksa. has “smuggled in” a file containing the names of 38 membership applicants to the Annual General Convention of the party. Accordingly, the party General Secretary, Kamal Nissanka, has tabled the names of the new applicants, immediately enrolling them as new members.
“The Constitution clearly stipulated that the applications of new members must be tabled at a national committee meeting of the party subject to ratification at the following meeting. This procedure must be followed when enrolling new members to the party. Nevertheless, 38 new members were enrolled at the last Annual General Meeting grossly violating the constitutional procedure. K.S.T. Perera himself was not a member of the party even though he presented the file to the General Secretary,” the complaint stated.
Among the new applicants were the new General Secretary of the party, the Chairman, and the Treasurer. The complaint said their appointments were “illegal” as they were enrolled as members in an unconstitutional manner.
“According to Article 39 of the Constitution, the nominations for the new appointments must be shared among members by the General Secretary or the Deputy General Secretary of the party 07 days prior to the Convention. Such a practice was not followed when appointing these office-bearers,” the complaint said.
Uthumange and 10 other National Committee members claim that a Special General Meeting of the party must be convened with immediate effect to correct the grossly unconstitutional appointments made at the last General Convention of the party.
The new General Secretary of the party is Attorney-at-Law Amal Randeniya, a former Secretary to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). At the last BASL election, Randeniya campaigned for Kuvera de Zoysa PC, the candidate backed by the Rajapaksa camp.
Basil Rajapaksa’s henchman K.S.T. Perera’s brother-in-law was appointed the new Chairman of the party, a source familiar with the matter said.
The complaint suggests that a group of ardent Rajapaksa backers have now seized control of the Liberal Party, formed by Dr.Chanaka Amaratunga in 1987.