28 June, 2022


Shaky Strategic Management Dissipates FCID’s Purpose

By Somapala Gunadheera

Somapala Gunadheera

Somapala Gunadheera

Remanding VIPs on reports from the FCID is the hottest topic today. In April, last year, Mr. Basil Rajapaksa (BR) was arrested at the airport on his return from a sojourn abroad and remanded on some charges little known to the people who witnessed the ailing ex-minister carried between hospital and Court in an ambulance, creating deep sympathy in the public mind. A judicial hearing into BR’s alleged crimes has not begun in earnest so far while the sympathy created for the fallen strong man grows day by day.

Even if a Court comes to hold against BR in due course, the emotions created by the unnecessary exposition of his humiliation under arrest and remand may counterbalance the effect of the verdict in the public eye. I say ‘unnecessary’ because a man who was abroad when action was threatened against him, would not certainly have returned on his own, if he had an escapist disposition. That mentality would apply to any VIP under investigation because he should know that running away impliedly amounts to a conviction without trial and that stigma would blast his future for all time.

Basil RBR’s case is in direct contrast to a similar case filed against the Secretary to the former President, directly in the High Court where the Learned Judge bailed out the accused soon after the case was filed, despite insinuations made in the unconventional media with a view to getting the accused remanded. The prime purpose of remand is not punishment but ensuring that an accused does not run away from justice. No accused in the FCID cases is likely to run away for the reasons given above and they are too well known to hide themselves in any other part of the civilized world. Even if they did, it would not be a problem to get them back. Why then create a forum for them to secure themselves within a fortress of public sympathy with queues lining up at Welikada to visit them and rallies all over the country for their release? By the time the FCID gets its act together, the accused can build up a fund of public compassion that can make a final verdict against them a dead letter. The negative effect created by this scenario can even lead to public unrest on the ground that the cases are fabricated for vindictive reasons.

The Government has been talking about frauds and other crimes committed in the FCID cases for too long. It may be that proving them involves special difficulty. But why not file action on cases that are reported to be completed? This delay appears to be a creature of lopsided management, arising from failure to plan ahead. First, a decision has to be made in what Courts the cases should be filed. There were occasions when cases were filed in Magistrates’ Courts and then taken up in the High Court. The accused had to languish in the remand jail until cases were moved up because the lower Courts did not have the power to grant them bail on the charges involved or they had to go in appeal to the higher Court to get themselves released. This would not have happened if the administration had made a policy decision up front to file the cases directly in the High Court, considering the level of charges involved. The delay was unfair by the accused involved.

Another overdue decision pertains to Courts that will hear these cases and their composition. Will the cases be heard by the High Courts under their normal mandates? That would take a month of Sundays to exhaust the list, thereby dissolving the cases in the endless waters of time. May be roles would be reversed by the time the cases are finally disposed of.

The obvious solution to this challenge would be to constitute one or more special Courts to hear these cases. Then arises the question of the composition of the courts. The weight of charges and of those charged is so heavy that they call for more than a single bench. It is best that they are composed of two or three Judges, as the resources permit. This is a decision that has to be made ab initio. Under the circumstances it is best that the Judges of these Courts are handpicked, preferably by the Chief Justice himself, in view of political ramifications involved. Speedy disposal of these cases calls for hearing continuously from beginning to end, thus avoiding normal lengthy postponements.

The question arises why these problems have not been thought of in advance and suitable arrangements made to meet them. This phenomenon does not appear to be unusual in a dispensation that waits until its Attorney General retires to start looking for a successor. Such failures of strategic management appears to be at the bottom of the present Government’s inability to keep to its promised targets. A new Head of State would do well to seek guidance from of an outstanding expert on strategic management in organizing his onerous input. Such an expert at the top of the new Government’s galaxy of advisors (without portfolio), should help to quicken its pace and to regain the seemingly diminishing confidence of the electorate. An astute administration will not fail to see the relevance of its dilly dallying with the FCID cases to the oncoming local bodies’ elections.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    Well, the FCID political bias will gain strength unless the serving cabinet ministers suspect of fraud are taken through the process too.

    Who is this “powerful minister” who is refusing to go before the FCID? The police is not performing their duties. If this minster is not adhering to the laws a warrant needs to served and arrested. If not the Rajapaske complaining its a witch hunt will become true.

    a very powerful minister who held a Ministerial portfolio during the previous regime was called to the Bribery and Corruption Commission on eight occasions but he did not turn up. He is postponing appearing before the Commission using his powers he holds in the current regime.


  • 3

    How naive is the author. He doesnt realise that there is something called interpol and ll these Rajapaksa;s are in the wanted list of the international community. So, Basil had to come.

  • 2

    “This would not have happened if the administration had made a policy decision up front to file the cases directly in the High Court, considering the level of charges involved. The delay was unfair by the accused involved.”

    Rajapakse cronies are still in the system, and are undermining the processes, I hear.

    Seems, Weerawanse’s wife has been assisted. I thought, her passport and birth certificate cheating are open and shut cases.

    Suhada Gamlath, without providing any reason, pulled out the Senior Solicitor in Prageeth’s case.

    Mahinda planted his people every step of the way. They can buy others.

    “Another overdue decision pertains to Courts that will hear these cases and their composition. “

    You are talking about the Courts that found fault in Shiranee Bandaranayeka. You are talking about judges like Sarath De Abrew, Rohini Marasinghe, Eva Wansundera et al.

    Old CT news:
    //The actions of the AG’s department looked blatantly politicised during the regime of ‘de-politicisation’ and good governance, with the premier and the AG’s department acting hand in glove in order to protect the political interests of the latter.

    The bench hearing the Petition seemed to have been ‘fixed’ with Sarath De Abrew whose conduct had been continuously questioned to the extent that there were no cases assigned to him for a long period while he was a Judge of the Court of Appeal, was a member of the bench.

    Both Abrew and Eva Wanasundera the former Attorney General have been staunch supporters of the previous regime, with the only seemingly neutral judge Buwaneka Aluwihare opting to recuse himself from the bench.

    Manouevirng the benches of the higher courts is a widespread practice among practitioners in Hulftsdorp, with instructing Attorneys and the registry of the higher courts playing a ‘behind the scenes’ role in ensuring that a case is called before a preferred bench, the Colombo Telegraph learns.//

  • 2

    And how do YOU know all these for sure, Rohan dearie?

  • 1

    Why BR came back from USA. He knew that if he stayed he would have been arrested by USA police and handed overt to SL. Before that could happen, he came back.

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