By Nuwan Senarathna
The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) will not be dissolved by a Government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said yesterday, insisting that it would take forward ongoing probes on the bond scam as well as investigations into other corruption allegations that surfaced over the past four years.
SLPP MPs speaking at the first press briefing to be held after the appointment of President Rajapaksa, said the party would continue with the FCID as they believe it had the capacity to function independently to investigate allegations of corruption against the United National Party (UNP) or any others.
“The FCID was never our issue. The objective of the FCID and how the Government used it to further its political agenda was our only concern. People should be able to directly lodge their complaint with the FCID and not have cases picked by politicians. Previously, we were concerned that the FCID was controlled by the Prime Minister’s Office and there could be political interference behind every investigation. But we can now change that situation,” Gammanpila said.
The SLPP also said that it would focus on the findings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) appointed by former President Maithripala Sirisena to investigate acts of corruption and fraud at State institutions from 2015-2018. The commission report was handed over to Sirisena in September 2019.
The SLPP officials emphasised that they were committed to fighting corruption and would take forward investigations that had begun earlier.
“We will probe cases that were not brought up by the UNP Government. All investigations will be transparent and there will be no political interference. We pledge to protect the independence of the Judiciary and law enforcement agencies,” Gunawardena told reporters.
He noted that providing the political leadership necessary for an impartial Judiciary was one of the key promises of the SLPP election campaign and he assured that would be delivered as promised.
Key among them are investigations into the bond scam as well as the findings of the PCoI appointed by Sirisena to investigate corruption at State institutions from 2015 to 2018.
MP Wimal Weerawansa said the Central Bank bond scam would continue to be investigated and action will be taken against the main suspect, former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. He reiterated that the SLPP’s main election promise was to arrest those responsible for the bond scam and that would be delivered under Rajapaksa’s leadership.
Weerawansa said the SLPP would take legal action against anyone guilty of any form of corruption, insisting there was no room for political favouritism.
“We will take legal action against those who have allegations against them and were exposed by the Presidential Commission probing fraud and corruption at State institutions from 2015-2018. The commission report has revealed major corruption cases and we want investigators to take these allegations forward,” Weerawansa said.
However, the four Parliamentarians did not reveal whether the findings of the PCoI into SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka or the results of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC), which was appointed by former President Sirisena in 2015, would be considered for legal action by the new administration.
In addition, both Alahapperuma and Weerawansa said investigations into any military official facing charges of human rights abuses would be expedited and if they were found innocent they would be immediately released.
Referring to documents being circulated on social media questioning President Rajapaksa’s citizenship, Weerawansa said investigations would commence against those responsible for circulating the purported forged documents.
“We have informed law enforcement officials to investigate several documents being circulated on social media which are claim to be Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship papers. We also called for a probe into the doctored video claiming to show the US State Department’s spokesperson,” he said.
When questioned on whom would hold the premiership of a new Government, Gunawardena responded it would be Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa