Sri Lanka’s controversially impeached chief justice made her first public appearance since she was ousted in January to appear before the Bribery and Corruption Commission on Monday to answer charges of financial fraud.
Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayke arrived at the Bribery and Corruption Commission to be greeted by frenzied media and supporters holding placards claiming she was the”legal” chief justice.
However, Bandaranayake refused to comment to the media and proceeded into the building.
Sources told Xinhua that the former chief justice had refused to make a statement before the commission as it had not notified her formally of the charges. The commission had then given a summary of the allegations against her.
Local media earlier reported that her summons was based on allegations of financial mismanagement during her tenure as chief justice and abuse of power.
Bandaranayke had also pointed out that several members of the commission were biased against her and insisted that she would not be given a fair hearing.
However, Bandaranayke’s lawyers have agreed to present preliminary objections to the charges against her on April 1.
Earlier, Bandaranayke hit the front page of local newspapers after she refused to enter the commission office through a backdoor — a request that was made by the commission to avoid media scrutiny.
Bandaranayake was controversially removed on Jan. 15 after a short two month impeachment process that global rights activists have condemned as”deeply flawed.”
The United Nations, Commonwealth and International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) were among the key critics of the move, which they claimed weakened judicial independence in Sri Lanka. (Xinhua)