5 March, 2021

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Sri Lanka Parliament Informed By RTI Commission To Release Names Of MPs Who Have Submitted Their Asset Declarations 

Sri Lanka’s RTI Commission has called upon Parliament to make public, the List of Members of Parliament who have filed their Declarations of Assets and Liabilities during 2010-2018 in accordance with an appeal filed by a journalist, Chamara Sampath saying that this is not confidential information or information protected by parliamentary privilege.

It has also directed the Parliament to rectify a serious administrative anamoly which enables the Office of the Secretary General, from which are drawn the responsible officers to handle information requests under the RTI Act, to refuse requests saying that it is the Speaker which has that information. The information request filed by journalist Chamara Sampath was refused on the basis that Declarations of MPs Assets are filed with the Speaker.

Dismissing that objection, the Commissioners comprising M Gammampila, Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, Rohini Walgama and SG Punchihewa have ruled that internal administrative divisions within the Sri Lanka Parliament, which is the Public Authority under the RTI Act, has no bearing on the release of information which is held, ‘institutionally.’          

 RTI analysts said to Colombo Telegraph, that this Order will operate as a compulsion also for members of the sitting Parliament to make their Declarations public. Currently, only a handful have declared their Declarations. This has become a matter of public ridicule given that such documents are publicly released in other countries, including in India. 

In 2019, the former President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena appealed to the Court of Appeal against an Order of the RTI Commission to release the Declaration of Assets of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Attorney General is appearing for that appeal which is still pending in the Court.       

Sri Lanka’s state run media, the Daily News has carried the Order of the RTI Commission as a page one story, pointing to the fact that the Commission had ruled that the RTI Act prevails over an old (1975) law under which MPs file Declarations to the Speaker.   

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    It will be interesting to see what arguments or decision will be given by the Constitution violating Speaker on this.

    People are interested in knowing the assets and liabilities of Rajapakse Family, Weerawansa, Gammanpilla, Rathana Thero, Dilan, SB, Mahindananda, Johnston Fernando and Keheliya.

    • 1
      0

      Dear B1.
      You may have added ….”to name only a few”.
      Those names are the worst but the cancer is far deeper to 80% of the House.

      • 1
        0

        And I mean 80% from both sides of the House.

  • 2
    0

    This is going to be interesting.

  • 5
    0

    Buddhist1: I don’t for a moment think that you meant ONLY those mentioned by name in your comment be the MPs who should submit “Declaration of Assets and Liabilities”. In my opinion, the people want to know the “Assets & Liabilities of all the 225 in the Parliament, all those elected to Local Govt. Institutions and those in the Public Service. My opinion is slightly different on this subject of “Declaration of Assets and Liabilities. I have expressed even earlier, that at the time of filing Nomination Papers, the Leader/Secretary of the Political Party who nominates the candidates MUST attache a “Certified” copy of the “Declaration of Assets and Liabilities” as standing at the date of the Nomination with Election Commission. If NOT, all such “Nominations” san that “Declaration” must be “REJECTED”. Period. Next after getting elected all MPs and Local Government elected representatives MUST file an “ANNUAL” declaration, if NOT, such “DEFAULTERS” must be “DEBARRED” from receiving “Salaries” and all other “PERKS”. Such “Declarations” must be available for “Public Scrutiny” whenever needed. This “RULE” must be applied in toto to all Public Service personnel. That is the “BEGINNING” to “END” the “CORRUPTIONS” of all types in Public Services. Our President “GR” said on 9th at Deraniyagala on his “Dialogue with the Village” program: “I do it my way”.

    • 2
      0

      (1) Thank you Simon for that clarity and totally agree.

      (2) There should not be any other conflict of interest too….they should all accept the “job scope” and sign the papers accordingly too that no other practices be it professional/business be conducted by the elected during tenure to perform the “elected” job scope. (In the UK also we had and have issues that elected can hold so many “directorships” is conflict of interest causes serious issues)

      (3) In a democracy we can not have parties with language and religious names to be elected to the office….as this is a fundamental abuse of human rights that the public can not seek membership in a registered party nor can they be part of electing the candidates through party internal mechanisms (specially when a party kill their opponents to be elected) and this also leaves a vacuum regards to all be served by the elected too?

      (4) Should anyone wish they can form pressure groups outside the parlimentary elections/insurgency/liberation wars accordingly the state can deal with its machinery accordingly.

      • 2
        0

        Rumble2021: Thank you for completing and adding very important conditions for elected representatives. I totally agree with (3). In Sri Lanka, all the elected representatives are tightly affiliated with their “Goons” (including family and extended family members) who spent for elections. A very recent incident is the Rs.10 billion hands out on “Sugar Deal”. To arrest this, election expenses must be “FIXED” and all accounts of “Receipts and Expenses” filing must be made “Mandatory” by each and every candidate. There are many more TO DO to “CLEAN” the stable.

        • 0
          0

          Further more I think we should have an Independent body/panel set up and should telecasted to the Nation who will go through a mandated checklist/interview with the candidates any party select for the said elections for the respective constituent/post….Local Government, Parliamentary, Presidential etc.

          This waste avoid foreign interferences/technocrat status/unfair playing fields with the local media but purely left to the case making by each candidate why they are a qualified entity to serve our Nation of people. This way we also assuring the public the one who will be asking for their votes are not criminal and have no criminal records either. I know the outcome would’ve been in Vadukottai should we have done this…and for the entire Nation too. Voting some of them was not even enough..they become more active in crime from outside? what you do?? no police/army then.

    • 1
      0

      Agree with you.. the names I mentioned are examples..

  • 3
    0

    Should people start a peaceful march to the Parliament demanding that all assets and liabilities statement of all MPs to be made public, especially of those who are in the Parliament?

  • 2
    0

    Can we get a lie detector to see if they reveal the truth? Some come to the Parliament to earn megabucks and serving the people comes last.

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