Probe them all | Daily News

Probe them all

Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella, on Monday, raised a privilege issue, in parliament, pertaining to the recording of telephone calls of members of the COPE, which investigated the alleged Central Bank bond scam. He wanted Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to call for a party leaders’ meeting, to discuss the matter, and, summon all parties responsible, including the MPs, whose names were mentioned, in the alleged transactions.

Moving a Motion, in House, Minister Kiriella said, a forensic report, prepared by the CID, which was presented to the Bond Commission, on November 16, contained details of telephone calls of 28 members, of which five MPs had received telephone calls from Arjun Aloysious, both, during, and, outside the COPE investigations, into the alleged bond racket.

Kiriella also made the pertinent point, that, even if Aloysious had contacted the five members concerned (for a cover up), he had failed in the bid, with COPE unanimously deciding on action against the wrongdoers. He also made the point that the Bond Commission was not a court of law, with punitive powers, and, that, no one had been found guilty, in connection with any offence. In this light, on what basis had the CID taken the liberty to record the telephone calls of the MPs? On whose instructions, and, for what purpose were tabs kept on telephone calls, especially of these MPs?

Expanding, the Minister said, it was an inviolable right of MPs to have telephone contact with their constituents and vice versa, and, the telephone has been identified as a means that constituents communicate with MPs.

True, as the Minister maintained, what the Bond Commission is conducting is an inquiry, as against an investigation, that may be carried out by an official investigating arm, of the police. In the case of the Thajudeen murder, what was being carried out was an investigation, following the High Court ruling, that the death of the former Rugby captain, was, indeed, a murder, though, it was made to appear, as an accident. Hence, the CID was legally empowered to obtain all relevant material, including telephone conversions and text messages, which it had done. This action can hardly be deemed an invasion of one's privacy.

Has some official of the AG's Department, overcome by zeal, overstepped the bounds of his official duties, in making inroads into the privacy of members of parliament? Kiriella has asked the Speaker to summon all actors, for an inquiry in this regard. Hence, no doubt, things are bound to unravel, in all their details.

It has to be mentioned here, that, certain State Counsel, in the AG's Department, to put it mildly, had been spoiling for a fight, from the day the Bond Commission inquiry commenced. Their hostility towards witnesses was amply in evidence, particularly, during the grilling of former minister, Ravi Karunanayake.

Perhaps, they may have been buoyed by the ‘lift’ given to them by certain media, backing the Rajapaksas, with terms such as ‘inteprid’ being used to describe counsels’ ‘daring’. No such panache, though, were in evidence to describe officials of the FCID, after a string of arrests were made, of former Rajapaksa cronies, for large scale corruption. To these newspapers, the officers of the FCID, were, the Gestapo of the government.

Be that as it may, there is no reason for the government to paint itself into a corner, and, be on the defensive, in this whole matter. We say this because, several MPs, whose names transpired in the ‘Aloysious connection’, are, these days, going to great lengths, striving to explain matters, in their defence. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has set the record straight, and, explained away all the grey areas, in the whole bond auction matter. In the process, he has also unraveled the blatant irregularities, in the earlier bond auctions, under the Rajapaksa regime, which sent trillions of rupees down the drain.

Hence, assuming there had been an irregularity, under the current dispensation, it could only be the tip of the iceberg. UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri, called on the government to commence investigations into all bond auctions, from 2008, and, that, several government MPs, at the time, were close buddies of Arjun Aloysious, who is the villain of the piece today.

It is in this light, that, the call made by MP Buddhika Pathirana, to launch inquiries into the telephone records of all 225 MPs, should be considered. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera admitted that Aloysious helped him during his election campaign to be Chief Minister, which was in the year 2012. Sarath Fonseka, too, revealed that he received Rs. 100,000, during his Presidential Election campaign, in 2010. It has also recently transpired, that, Namal Rajapaksa, even attended the wedding of Arjun Aloysious, and, the sister of the former Central Bank governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, was a director, at Perpetual Treasuries.

Hence, it is reasonable to assume, that, links existed between prominent members of the Rajapaksa regime, and, Arjun Aloysious, which, they are today trying to suppress by drawing a red herring, taking cover under the current imbroglio. 


 

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