Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has in a letter to the Secretary General of Parliament, accused the former Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) D E W Gunasekera and the media of violating the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act.
The Prime Minister said that the former Minister and the media had made statements and published reports over the inquiry into the Central Bank Bond Issue by COPE, violating Section 22 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act.
He recalled that consequent to a Motion of No-Confidence on the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka being presented and a request for a debate, the Speaker requested COPE to inquire into the matter and report to Parliament within two weeks.
COPE however did not report as directed by the Speaker but instead asked for more time which was granted.
COPE also did not report to Parliament within the extended period of time until such time as COPE ceased to exist on account of the dissolution of Parliament on 26th June, 2015.
The Prime Minister said that there was only a draft presented by D E W Gunasekera. It was not accepted by the Sub Committee. Hence, there is neither a report nor an interim draft by the Sub Committee.
“At the time Gunasekera made the statement to the media, he had ceased to be a Member of Parliament and was not the Chairman of COPE. He has passed himself off as Chairman of COPE and presented his own document purporting to be the interim draft report of the Committee. This action of his is a contravention of Section 22 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act. All media reporting this are also guilty of contravening the same section of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act. The Sunday Times of 5th July 2015 carries a purported report of the proceedings of the Sub Committee. This is false. For instance many members objected to a draft report being passed within 24 hours. Some of the members were unable to be present as they were campaigning in their districts and some due to an urgent meeting of the SLFP MPs summoned by President Sirisena. It appears that some discussions had taken place at 11.00 am on Thursday 2nd July and only eight out of 13 were present at these discussions and they had been divided four in favour and four against. This report of the Sunday Times again is also a contravention of the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act,” the Prime Minister said in the latter.
He said that Gunasekera, in making these statements and the media in repeating it, are guilty of willfully acting in contravention of Parliament Powers and Privileges Act in as much as the Act prohibits the publication of any proceedings in any Committee of Parliament before they report to the House and also guilty Of publishing a false and perverted report of the proceedings of a Committee of Parliament and punishable under Section 22 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act (Schedule A Item 5 and Schedule B Item 9). (Colombo Gazette)