President appoints high-powered commission to probe previous govt | Daily News


 

Focus on abuse of power, victimisation

President appoints high-powered commission to probe previous govt

In the wake of the flood of revelations of interference in police and legal matters and other abuses of power during the previous government, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a high-powered Presidential Commissions of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate allegations of political victimization as well as interference and undue influence on the judiciary and police during the past regime.

The Gazette Extra-ordinary No. 2157/44 notification issued on Thursday empowers the 3-member Commission to ascertain whether any investigations by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), Financial Crime Investigations Divisions (FCID) of the Sri Lanka Police or the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Sri Lanka Police had been influenced or obstructed or prevented in any manner, resulting in loss, damage, injury or detriment, either direct or imputed to any person or persons whether any officer entrusted with conduct of investigations by the Bribery Commission, FCID and SIU have acted under undue influence by third parties.

They will also take into consideration whether any person had committed any act of political victimization, misuse or abuse of power, corruption or any fraudulent act in relation to the functions of the said Anti Corruption unit, CIABOC, FCID, SIU, or in relation to the administration of any law or the administration of justice.

The Commission comprising retired Supreme Court Justice Upaly Abeyrathne (chairman), retired Appeal Court Justice Daya Chandrasiri Jayathilaka and retired IGP Chandra Fernando has been asked to report back to the President within six months giving its findings and recommendations.The Commission comes hot on the heels of damning revelations emanating from a serious of unaccounted audio recordings belonging to UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake. The recordings of apparently thousands of phone calls between MP Ramanayaka and various police officers, judges, political personalities and other people, including films stars, surfaced during initial investigations into a reported attempt to assassinate Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. According to some of the revelations of the content of the call recordings, certain judges had apparently sought promotions and higher pay in return for specific verdicts in various high profile cases.

The Inquiry Commission is also required to look into allegations that individuals have been politically victimized during the last four years starting from 8th January 2015 to 16th November, 2019. This includes probing whether “Any person had committed any act of political victimization, abuse or misuse in relation to the function of the Bribery Commission, FCID, SIU or Sri Lanka Police.”

The President also notes, in the Gazette, that several complaints lodged by the public to the Bribery Commission, FCID and SIU had gone unheeded for which action needs to be taken.

 


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