FR petition by Ven. Palitha Thera on COPE findings re-fixed for Sept. 8 | Daily News

FR petition by Ven. Palitha Thera on COPE findings re-fixed for Sept. 8

The Fundamental Rights petition filed by Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thera challenging findings and statements made in a report prepared by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) regarding the bond issues by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 2015 and 2016, was yesterday re-fixed for support on September 8, by the Supreme Court.

When the petition came up before the three-judge-Bench headed by Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, the Court was informed that several COPE committee members were yet to appear in Court as respondents.

The petitioner Vice Secretary of the Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero had cited 26 members of COPE, including its chairman Sunil Hadunnetti, who have been tasked by the Parliament of Sri Lanka to investigate and report on matters pertaining to certain Treasury bond auctions, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, the Governor of the CBSL, Chairman of the Tender Committee of the CBSL and the Superintendent of the Public Debt Department of the CBSL, the Auditor General of Sri Lanka and the Attorney General as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner stated that consequent to being elected in September 2015, the Parliament of Sri Lanka had appointed the members of COPE to conduct an investigation into certain Central Bank auctions of Treasury Bonds which occurred in February 2015 and March 2016.

The members of COPE have submitted their final report to Parliament on or about October 28, 2016.

The said COPE report maintains that; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th, 21st, 22nd, 24th and 26th Respondents had agreed to the said COPE report in general, without the footnotes. The 6th,7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 20th, 23rd and 25th Respondents had agreed to the said COPE report with footnotes.

All other members of the Committee (i.e. the 1st to 26th Respondents) had unanimously agreed to the recommendations given at the end of the report.

The Petitioner expressly pleaded that notwithstanding that the said COPE report was presented to Parliament on or about October 28, 2016, the same remained inaccessible to the general public and the Petitioner for some time. The Petitioner pleaded that the said COPE report only became accessible to the Petitioner on or about November 24, 2016.

In such circumstances, the Petitioner pleaded that the Petitioner could not file the said application sooner, as the COPE report was inaccessible to him and he was not aware of the contents of the same, until November 24, 2016. The Petitioner further stated that in any event, the continuous reliance or circulation or actions of the said COPE report as it presently stands, amounts to a continuing infringement of the Petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, and also amounts to a cause which enables the Petitioner to prefer this application in the public interest.

The Petitioner pleaded that through the said COPE report, the Petitioner and the general public have been misinformed and misled.

The Petitioner said that in the event that the CBSL was not properly or officially or lawfully issuing of Treasury Bonds viz the direct/private placement from the month of January 2009, the proper procedure that ought to have been followed from January 2009 was the Central Bank Treasury bond auction process.


 

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