By Cassian M Fernando –
The decision of the two judges of the High Court of Colombo regarding the misuse of public funds for the election campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa in many ways is an epoch making historical judgment. Firstly It was the first time that a high ranking public servant in this country, the Secretary to the Executive President was found guilty and sentenced to serve a period of three years rigorous imprisonment. In addition a fine and also a decision to repay the 60 Million rupees lost in the process to the government. Secondly it was also the first major judgment delivered on many cases that are being investigated by the FCID an institution that was established for investigating cases of bribery and corruption. This is indeed a very healthy precedent and should be followed irrespective of political loyalties. It is not all public servants who behave in this fashion About 10 percent of them yield to the pressures exerted on them by those in power. The judgment will serve as a shield to the public servants to desist from giving into the pressures exerted on them by the politicians, at least in the future.
Mr Lalith Weeratunga or Mr Anusha Pelpita were not Presidential candidates. They committed these acts of gross corruption on behalf of the Presidential Candidate Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa. As a matter of fact they acted as agents for the candidate Mr Mahinbda Rajapaksa. The fact of committing a serious act of corruption has now being established by the decision of the High Court. The 6 million dollar question was raised by a JVP spokesmen who asked the penitent question whether a case will be filled against Mr Mahinda Rajapalsa for commuting an election offense. Whether a candidate wins or loses if he commits an act of bribery or corruption he faces the consequence of being taken to task by the law enforcing authorities. if found guilty the punishment spelled out in the legislation is that such a person stands to lose his civic rights for a period of seven and half years from the date of such judgment
It is no wonder therefore that Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa rushed to meet his bosom friend Ranil Wickremesinghe no sooner the judgment was delivered. Will a citizen take the bold step of filling a petition in the supreme courts seeking that civic rights of Mr Mahinda Rajapakasa be removed as he has being found guilty of committing an election offence.
Having met his friend with whom it has been alleged that he has already entered into a deal to prevent legal action being taken against him on many charges that were leveled, he used his usual form of duplicity by making a TV statement that the government of Sri Lanka has for the first time found someone guilty for performing a meritorious religious act of distributing Sil Cloth. People of this country are not fools. The judgment was not against performing a meritorious act of distributing Sil Clothes to the devoted ladies but doling out not less than 60 million rupees of public funds during an election to boost the candidature of one of the contestants at the last presidential elections. .