2 December, 2020

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Reconciliation: Looking Forward 5 – Preventing Conflicts Of Interest

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Of the charges against the Chief Justice, that relating to her husband, seems particularly serious. Given that, during the inquiry into the National Savings Bank conducted by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises, it transpired that Mr Kariyawasam had acted most irregularly, and might have to face serious charges in Court, it could be argued that his wife should not continue as the head of the Judiciary.

Morally that might be desirable, but unfortunately, as Alfred Doolittle might have said, morality has nothing to do with it. Indeed, in the modern world, it seems old-fashioned to treat members of the same family as responsible for each other’s conduct. Such niceties can only be enforced by rigid rules of conduct. If such rules are not in place, then we cannot expect people in public life to create and live up to their own code of conduct.

I think we are entitled to expect those in authority not to interfere with due process when their kin are under investigation, and were the Chief Justice to pick and choose magistrates to judge her husband, that would I think be misconduct. But I see no evidence of such attempts at manipulation, and I don’t think we can expect her to resign to avoid such an eventuality. Simply recusing herself from decision making in such a situation would be all we could expect – though again, were he to be found guilty, morally it might be desirable for her to resign. To resign beforehand would seem admission of his guilt, and that is something that could not in all fairness be expected of her.

Given however the distaste the situation has roused, it would make sense for the Judiciary itself, or failing that Parliament, to develop a code of conduct for the Judiciary which would prevent not only actual conflicts of interest but also potential conflicts. This would mean precluding judges and their spouses from accepting any office of profit from government.

In short, not only should Mrs Bandaranayake not have anything to do with any case involving her husband, but her husband should have been prevented from accepting any government position. Similarly, she should not be eligible for any further government position after she has served on the bench.

I should note though that she cannot be blamed for what has happened previously. Similarly, though I do not think government should have appointed Mr Kariyawasam to any of the official positions he held, it would not be fair to blame government for having appointed him, given the precedents that had been created. In short, when niceties have not been observed, it is difficult for government to introduce what seem novel notions of propriety.

That can only be done by regulation now. In my view, the best result for the country of the controversy that has arisen, at least with regard to this particular charge, is universal recognition of the need for a code of conduct that cannot be violated without loss of office. The case against Mr Kariyawasam should proceed, with no involvement of his wife, but she should not be punished for having been indulged in a manner that was enjoyed by others in similar positions.

In the same way, if it were proved that she had indeed suppressed the existence of salient bank accounts, she would seem guilty of impropriety, but whether that amounts to misconduct is another question. Many people, and in particular lawyers who know loopholes when they see them, avoid financial obligations through conduct that is not illegal though it might seem immoral. Establishing that she has failed to declare her assets properly, and that this was with intention to defraud, requires a judicial process, and without that it would be improper to find her guilty of misconduct warranting impeachment.

But, again, it would be useful to tighten the requirements for those who make or interpret laws. Thus, while the Assets Declarations of most public servants are never looked at, it would be useful to subject those of parliamentarians and the higher judiciary to scrutiny each year, with a Commission against Corruption, on the lines of what Hong Kong has, mandated to investigate irregularities. The understanding that those in exalted positions must adhere to the highest standards should be established, so that citizens could have confidence in the integrity of those in authority over them. The introduction of some such measures would be a fitting outcome of the present imbroglio, which would save and enhance honour on all sides.

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    Rajiva Wijesinha (Edited out) is a well-known opportunist

    not fit to discuss minority rights – period.

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      Is Rajiva trying to get back into the good books of the President. May be President offered him a foreign post!

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    Dear Santa, this christmas this is all I want. Please tell God, if he’s there , to deliver us from the misery of having to read anymore articles written by this two faced , spineless man who feeds on the blood of people – he is worse than a dengue mosquito. Also,Santa, please get this man an internet connection and teach him to go on line and check comments for him on Colombo telegraph. Santa, I’ve been good, tolerant, patient along with some 19 million or so people except the likes of this man. Please Santa, deliver us the gift of being delivered from this useless individual.
    Thank you Santa
    Merry Christmas to you too.
    P:S: Santa , while you are at it, please erase all digital images of that nincompoop Vasu from the cyberspace too. Don’t want to see him in 2013.

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    But the CJ was prepared to meet and answer all those allegations and insisted on a fair hearing. Why is the government reluctant to have an open hearing. If there is transparency, the public will come to know the actual position. Is the Government afraid of its corrupt practice when the CJ is prepared face all challenges (including that of Kariyawasam’s alleged irregularity) in compliance with the laws. If the allegation that Kariyawasam has acted irregularly at the NSB, then there is reason to believe or suspect that the Government also has a contributory role infirectly. She has given her position very clearly in her petition, leaving no room for suspicion. If this is the case why should the PSC refuse to comply with the principles of natural justice. Instead there were shooting incidents aimed at some lawyers. Above all, are the government members of the PSC with clean hands to hear the case.How will Prof.Rajiva Wijesinghe answer these basic question.

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    ” Thus, while the Assets Declarations of most public servants are never looked at, it would be useful to subject those of parliamentarians and the higher judiciary to scrutiny each year, with a Commission against Corruption, on the lines of what Hong Kong has, mandated to investigate irregularities. The understanding that those in exalted positions must adhere to the highest standards should be established, so that citizens could have confidence in the integrity of those in authority over them. “

    Right! Now as ‘advisor’ to the president, do advise him accordingly and see how far you get. But then you can’t be so stupid as to believe he will take this advice – or are you??

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    Rajiva Wijesinghe,

    I think it’s a disgrace to call you a professor……simply because you are just another Ministry of Foreign Affairs Opportunist joker… likes of the other PROFESSOR ….G.L.Peiris etc…….Why you talk Double tongue….with turning your tongue according to the tasty food you gulp from your ever loving boss.

    You play a double game to please your Boss while hoodwink Sri Lankan Public similar to the way you did to International Community.
    We could clearly see you lying to Foreign Missions on Human rights issues….where our Foreign Ministry have become a laughing stock among International community.

    Jesus Christ said Before looking at the spek in your neighbor’s eye….look at the log in your own eye.

    Prof. Rajiva, could you highlight a SINGLE POLITICAL ISSUE YOU AND THE FOREIGN MINISTRY SOLVED AFTER THE END OF THE WAR…..JUUST ONE WILL BE SUFFICIENT…….OTHER THAN LYING AND DECEIVING BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND SRI LANKAN MINORITY COMMUNITY……

    Also please read my comment on CT on your interview with Ranga Jayasooriya ON- Impeaching CJ was a hasty…..

    Today’s headline news…

    Chinese companies grab mega projects in Sri Lanka bypassing tender process……(Read Sri Lanka News Room..news)
    Dec 23 (ST) Chinese money is pouring into Sri Lanka through loans with their companies getting mega project contracts bypassing tender procedures and emerging as single bidders, local agents of foreign companies said. The Chinese loans are expected to reach a new high of US$12 billion, they said. This amount was confirmed by Treasury officials. Meanwhile according to a Sunday Times report, a Chinese loan of more than US$ 69…….

    Srilankaxnews- නාමල් රාජපක්ෂ පුතුගේ දොලදුක සන්සිදුවන්නට පසුගියදා පැවැත්වූ කොළොම්බු නයිට් රේස් මෝටර් රථ තරගාවලිය නිසා කොළඹ මහ නගර සභාවට අහිමි කර ඇති බදු මුදල පමණක් රුපියල මිලියන 2.9 ඉක්මවා තිබේ.මෙම මුදල ගෙවීම තරග සංවිධායකයන් ප්‍රතික්ශේප අර ඇති අතර පසුව බස්නාහිර පළාත් මහ ඇමැති ප්‍රසන්න රණතුංගගේ නියෝගයක් මත මෙම තරගාවලියේ නැරඹුම් ප්‍රවේශ පත්වලින් නගර සභාවට අයවිය යුතු බදු මුදල ලබා නොගැනීමට එම නිළධාරීන්ට සිදුව තිබේ

    .Rs. 1.28 billion sunk in Coal Deal
    Dec 23 (SL) In a sensational development to the controversial import of coal from Indonesia for the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant – highlighted week after week by The SuEkneligoda habeas corpus case before Appeal Court
    Dec 23 (ST) The habeas corpus case of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda will be taken up by the Court of Appeal when the Magistrate’s Cour

    Also please read my following analysis on CJ – JSC Impeachment trial.

    I think this whole CJ impeachment is based on three issues. They are….

    1)It’s CJ’s sister who bought TFC Trillium property when it was under investigation……..and if there was any restrictions to purchase the property at the time CJ’s sister bought it…….

    2) How CJ maintained 20 odd Bank Accounts with huge sums….

    3) Why CJ did not publish these assets (Bank accounts) in her year end Tax filing….

    I don’t give much attention to CJ holding high position, while her husband has a Lawsuit against him…or…… he holding a Govt, VIP Position while CJ is in the supreme court as Chief Justice……….as I think these are mere political issues.

    As to the a bove three qiestions……..CJ answered as follows..

    1-A) According to CJ…the time CJ’s sister purchased TFC property, there was no clause to restrict purchasing TFC property. Also ex CJ Sarath Silva had purchased a same property during the same period…….Moreover it was CJ’s sister who purchased the property and not CJ. CJ was only a Notary for her sister.

    I don’t worry about the Rs. 1.6 million discount as these discounts are mere common Practice in real estate business sales, and PSC should have known better.

    Therefore how could PSC bring a Lawsuit against CJ…….. for a property bought by her sister……..eventhough if there was a restricted for sale.

    2-A) CJ says these 20 accounts are generated by the banks automatically …..when they deposit the CD’s, and once they mature after the said period….and are re-depositrd same with interest with purchasing more CD’s to another bank generated account….………which the PSC could not understand properly.

    3-A) CJ says she received only her salary and the other monies were sent by her sister who lives in Australia to pay-off the mortgage of TFC property.
    IF so CJ does not have to include those monies in her annual tax filing report as they are not her money.

    Therefore I want to know why PSC cannot come to a conclution based on the information CJ has provided them with. PSC could have consulted an Accounting firm on Money and bank A/C matters,…… a Law firm on the validity of the Trillium house purchase…… and a Tax consulting firm on the CJ year end Tax filing issues.

    With reference to justice Thilakawardene to step down on Golden Key issue….I think that since the case is more Deep, more bureaucratic and corrupt with top Govt. VVIP’s are involved,…. CJ would have thought that she will handle it herself. We will see the truth once the trial begins.

    WITH RELATING TO MR. KARIYAWASAM’S CASE…..YOU WILL SEE THE BIGGER SHARKS INVOLVED IN THE SORDID TFC STOCK SALES WHEN THE CASE BEGINS AND THE CULPRITS REVEALED.

    PLEASE HAVE ME YOUR COMMENTS AFTER READING THE ABOVE INFORMATIONS.
    ————————————————————————
    THEREFORE MY SELF AND ALL OTHER COUNTRY LOVING CITIZENS STRONGLY SUPPORT FOR FUTURE ADMINISTRATION OF THE COUNTRY TO BE HANDED OVER TO “JUDICIARY”…. AND THE REST OF THE PARLIAMENT MEMBERS TO GO ON EARLY RETIREMENT…… AS MINISTER MAITHRIPALA SIRISENA HAS DECIDED TO D0.

    WE COULD GIVE THE JUDICIARY TO ADMINISTER COUNTRY WHO ARE EDUCATED, CULTURED AND QUALIFIED TO RUN A COUNTRY THAN SOME PARLIAMENT MINISTERS.
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    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU PROF. RAJIVA AND ALL GOVERNING BODY. PLEASE WRITE TRUTH AND ACCORDING TO YOUR CONSCIOUS IN FUTURE AND NOT BE ANOTHER 10% COMMISSION KAKKA.

    Prof. Rajiva…Please let me have your Feed Back.

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