Parliament | Daily News

Parliament

MP Lokuge struck me, says MP Marikkar

Colombo District Parliamentarian S.M.Marikkar said that he was struck by MP Gamini Lokuge during the tense situation that erupted in Parliament yesterday.

“MP Kavinda Jayawadena who tried to intervene to calm the situation, later fainted. I too got involved to try and calm the violence, but instead of retaliating, I just defended the blows that came my way. Parliament is not a place to fight. This whole situation is aimed at destroying the UNP.”

He charged that the Bond Commission report is not presented to Parliament and as the President made his special statement about it in Sinhala, he too had doubts about the translation and interpretation.

“We did not come to Parliament to have a fist fight. We too have faced numerous attacks and are well seasoned and we will strike back if struck. We are wondering if this whole situation was staged and if the leaders we appointed were trying to swallow their own tail, like serpents. Investigations should also be conducted regarding those who ruled the country previously as well. Now it is very clear that these parties are behaving like thugs in Parliament,” he said.

UNP Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijeseiri said the drama that unfolded in Parliament yesterday was a conspiracy to destroy the UNP.

Addressing a press conference in the Parliamentary Committee Room yesterday, he said while investigations have been conducted by four committees regarding the Bond issue, creating a volatile situation even prior to the report being presented to parliament is highly questionable.

Wijesiri noted that the UNP had no objection to the Bond Commission report being presented to Parliament pointing out that investigations should also be initiated regarding the Treasury Bond transactions during the period 2008 to 2014.


Delaying Bond debate until end of elections, a sinister motive : JVP

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena and TNA MP M A Sumanthiran collectively requested the Speaker in Parliament yesterday, to summon the Secretary to the President or any other official in possession of the Bond report.

They expressed this view that a copy of the report must have been sent to Parliament prior to sending it to the Central Bank and the Bribery Commission, as the control of public finances lie with the legislature.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake opined that there is a sinister motive of getting the Bond debate delayed until the end of elections. M A Sumanthiran said even the Director of National Archives had received a copy of the report.

MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena also insisted that the Speaker summon the officials in possession of the Bond report to secure a copy and get it tabled in Parliament. “Use Parliamentary powers vested with the Speaker to secure a copy of the report today. The public officials are unable to overrule the Speaker’s decision,” he said.

However, the Speaker maintained that the matter should not cause a rift between the Executive and the Legislature. The Prime Minister maintained that the report must be presented to the Cabinet first.


JO, JVP objects to Prime Minister repeating his speech

Due to the tense situation that erupted within the Well of the Parliament during Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement on the Treasury Bond Commission report, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya permitted the Prime Minister to deliver his statement for the second time.

Objecting to this move, JO MP Dinesh Gunawardena told the Speaker that the Prime Minister had already expressed his views and this was a mockery of Parliament and urged that Parliament should not be made a joke. He said they attended Parliament to debate the report and not to listen to the Prime Minister’s speech.

The Speaker in response, stated that at the Party Leader’s meeting held during the ten minute recession, it had been agreed upon to allow the Prime Minister to repeat his speech.

Further, the JVP and the Joint Opposition had boycotted the Party Leaders meeting based on the charge that there was no point in them being there if decisions were taken based on individual desires.

However, objecting to the decision taken by the Speaker to allow the Prime Minister to repeat his statement, all Joint Opposition members walked out of the Chamber in protest.

At the time, even the JVP members were not present during the Prime Minister’s speech.


JO MP uploads live Facebook videos of MPs exchange of fisticuffs

Joint Opposition MP Kanchana Wijesekara uploaded live Facebook videos of their demonstration in Parliament yesterday which ended up in exchanging fisticuffs.

Parliamentarians were not allowed to take photos inside the main chamber, but in recent times, MPs were frequently seen using their high-tech mobile phones to take pictures of what was happening inside the chamber.

These photos were later circulated in social media platforms.

However, this would be the first time that an MP went live on Facebook inside the main chamber, while the sittings were in progress.

The video footage showed how JO MPs misbehaved in Parliament and how the JO and the UNP back-bencher’s clashed with each other.

The comments received to the video indicated the public’s anger towards the conduct of MPs in Parliament for which Rs 5 million public funds are said to be spent in conducting a day’s sittings.


Don’t use Bond report as a political tool :Alagiyawanna

Deputy Minister of Finance and Mass Media Lasantha Alagiyawanna, representing the sentiments of the SLFP, said the Bond issue report should not be used as a political tool to gain advantage over another party.

Addressing Parliament yesterday during the special session convened to discuss the Treasury Bond investigation report, he said that as a result of the attention paid by the whole country to the Treasury bond scam, all political parties represented in Parliament were unanimously of the view that a proper investigation should be carried out regarding the Bond scandal.

“The COPE Committee initially headed by Dew Gunasekara which is now headed by Sunil Handunnetti, initiated a comprehensive investigation. The SLFP appointed a separate committee to investigate this scandal and submit a report. If you basically summarise all these reports, what could eventually be summed up is that a comprehensive investigation should be done regarding this scandal. It was then that President Maithripala Sirisena established the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate the Bond Issuance of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka,” he added.

Alagiyawanna noted that at the time the Presidential Commission was appointed, the Joint Opposition said that this was an attempt to slander the opposition. “Then when the Commission was in the process of conducting their investigations and wanted their term extended, the Opposition alleged that the Commission’s term was being extended to cover up the incident.

Ever since this Commission was appointed, the Joint Opposition always viewed it cross-eyed.

However, due to the unprecedented interest generated among various political groups and the public, the President for the first time, took the decision to issue a statement based on the crucial points of the report. Similarly, most of the political parties, including the SLFP were also of the view that this report should be tabled in Parliament and taken up for debate.”

A party leaders’ meeting was convened on Tuesday and it was discussed and as a result it was told that the report would be presented to Parliament on January 17, subsequent to satisfying the relevant procedural measures.

He said many factors were unravelled during this investigation which is a complex matter. Therefore, proper procedures should be followed with regard to this report which would be presented to Parliament on January 17. “However, if the requirement to present it to Parliament earlier arises, this too could be done. However, what is most relevant in this whole incident is that such fraudulent acts should never take place in this country in the future,” adding that this should be the sole intention as a country and political parties should not try to use this situation to gain petty political mileage.


Many such issues will be probed :Senasinghe

Endorsing the sentiments expressed by Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, that incidents such as the bond issue should never be repeated in this country, the State Minister for International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe said not just this issue, but many such issues had been revealed as a result of investigations initiated by the good governance government.

He noted that the Prime Minister had taken all possible measures to initiate investigations on many projects and establishments, as he had nothing to hide. “The members of this Parliament even pointed fingers at the Speaker who acted appropriately, based on requests made to him. In fact what the Prime Minister intended was to set the stage for a discussion or debate on the bond issue report. But, I don’t understand why the report has not been presented to Parliament and what these secret contents are that is preventing it from being given to us,” he said, adding that it was no fault of the Speaker.


All allegations of corruption should be fairly investigated : Sampanthan

Acts of corruption committed in the country, in the past as well as at present, must be fairly investigated by going in to their roots, Opposition Leader R Sampanthan told Parliament yesterday, adding that the country should be kept informed of the truth.

“We would join with the other members in agreeing that the report of the Bond Commission must be tabled in Parliament at its earliest and be debated. There is no room for any dispute with regard to that matter. This is a matter that concerns public funds. Parliament and the people in the country have an interest on this matter. I would urge both the Bond and PRECIFAC reports be tabled in Parliament and debated by getting into the roots of the matter.

We have a history in this country where commission reports were never made public. I must congratulate the President and the Prime Minister for having made the contents of the report public. I would urge you to make the full report public and have a debate on it,” he said. City Planning and Water Supply Minister Rauf Hakeem also stressed the fact that delaying the tabling of the full report of the Bond Commission was unfair. “The sections of the report were given out to the media. Certain parties may try to take political mileage out of this issue at the verge of a grass root level election. Nobody can play with the law by making the officials responsible. We feel that there is an underhand game going on. I urge the Speaker to use his powers to the maximum to sort out this problem,” he said.


 


 

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