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Govt Preparing to Attack and Destroy Auditor-General Dept Independence Charges Karu Jayasuriya

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Dharisha Bastians

Following its assault on the Judiciary, the Government is now gearing up to attack and destroy the Auditor Generals’ Department, UNP Gampaha District MP Karu Jayasuriya charged yesterday.

Addressing a media briefing at his Kirulapone office yesterday, the former UNP Deputy Leader said that media reports about officers from the Auditor General’s Department assembling near Parliament to demand that the Government stops interfering with their duties was a sign of a dangerous and emerging trend. The officials of the Auditor General’s Department were asking the Government to stop politicising their department, he said.

“This Government is in the process of destroying any and every institution that imposes checks and balances on the power of the Executive,” Jayasuriya said. He said that like the Judiciary, the Government auditors also play a key role in holding a ruling Government to account. “These officers are accountable for public funds. This is money that belongs to the people. A Government must be subject to audits independently,” the Opposition legislator said. The senior politician said that as a citizen who values democracy, he is deeply saddened by the course the country is taking following the illegal impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

He said that a ‘gang of goons’ were running amok following the impeachment. “Before the impeachment, senior lawyer Guneratne Wanninayake was nearly assaulted and the JSC Secretary Manjula Tillekaratne was attacked in his car. Gunfire was aimed at the residence of Bar Association President Wijedasa Rajapaksa. Now, the goons are on the hunt against anti-impeachment activists like J.C. Weliamuna and President’s Counsel Jayampathy Wickremaratne and environmentalist Thilak Kariyawasam,” Jayasuriya said. He said the impeached Chief Justice’s lawyer, Romesh De Silva PC and even Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran had been at the receiving end of these threats.

The UNP MP added that it was disturbing to hear of threats issued against even the judges who gave the Appeals Court judgment in the petition filed against the impeached Chief Justice, quashing the findings of the PSC, in an attempt to prevent them from going to court on the day the judgment was delivered. “Anyone who stood up for judicial independence in the recent past is being subject to this harassment and being made to fear for their lives,” the UNP MP warned. The ordinary people in this country still refer to judges are ‘nadukara haamuduruwo,’ because of the respect due to judicial officers, but the Government is engaged in a defamatory exercise against senior judges through the state media, Jayasuriya charged. “I want to ask the Government what steps it will take to discipline the State media for their defamation of the Judiciary and the legal system,” the UNP MP said. COURTESY:FINANCIAL TIMES