President issues amended TOR to SPCoI | Daily News

President issues amended TOR to SPCoI

The President has issued an amended Terms Of Reference (TOR) by widening and enhancing the mandate of Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to follow up the recommendations made in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization, the Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers informed Court of Appeal yesterday.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena with Counsel Lakmini Warusevitane appearing for the Secretary to the Cabinet Ministers submitted to Court that this SPCoI would inquire into the suitability and justification in relation to the implementation of the recommendations of the political victimization commission.

Sanjeewa Jayawardena made these remarks when the writ petitions filed by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and several others were taken up before Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice (President) Arjuna Obeysekera and Justice Priyantha Fernando.

Jayawardena submitted to Court that the amended terms of reference issued by the President to the SPCoI consisting of two sitting judges of the Supreme Court and a sitting judge of the Court of Appeal have already been published in the Government Gazette.

The amended Terms of Reference requested the SPCoI to expand its recommendations to the suitability of implementing not merely a portion, but the entirety of the report of the political victimization commission. As far as the President is concerned the President stated that he does not wish to make any precipitous decision but fully satisfy himself objectively and only then take any action that is deemed fit, Jayawardena added.

The Director General of Legal Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat had earlier informed Court that the President does not intend to implement the recommendations of Presidential of Inquiry appointed to probe incidents of political victimization at this juncture as he wishes to await the final recommendations of the SPCoI.

The SPCoI was appointed by the President on January 29 to follow up on the recommendations made in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization, which was handed over to the President on December 8, 2020.

The petitioners including JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka are seeking an order staying the operation on recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe incidents of political victimization.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for the petitioners emphasized the necessity of hearing these petitions as much as possible. Accordingly, the petitions were fixed for support on May 25. In his petition, Anura Kumara Dissanayake had cited the commissioners of Presidential Commission retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne, retired Court of Appeal Judge Chandrasiri Jayatilake and former IGP Chandra Fernando, Commission Secretary Pearl Weerasinghe, Cabinet of Ministers and the Attorney General as respondents. The petitioner stated that the recommendations and decisions made in several instances against the petitioner are purely on the basis that he was a member of the National Executive Council or the Anti-Corruption Unit. The petitioner stated that the recommendations of the PCoI are unreasonable, arbitrary and a breach of his legitimate expectations. He further said recommendations would affect his political career. The JVP leader stated that on an overall basis the petitioner among other persons has been found guilty of the following wrongdoings.

(A). The petitioner is said to have committed the offence of corruption in terms of the section 70 of the Bribery Act.

(B). The petitioner is said to have committed offences against Public Property.

(C). The petitioner by implication is said to have wielded influence of the Director in charge of the Anti-Corruption Committee. The petitioner is seeking an Interim Order restraining respondents from taking any steps in respect of the petitioner based on the Presidential Commission report.

The petitioner further said the Cabinet of Ministers has taken a decision to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry dated 18th January, 2021.