2019 presidential election:
Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku, in his capacity as General Secretary of Vinivida Peramuna, has moved the Supreme Court against the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), current members of the CIABOC, former members of the Election Commission (EC), SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, and Chamal Rajapaksa, MP against the EC’s failure to disqualify SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the basis that he had not renounced his US citizenship at the time the EC accepted nominations.
The application in this regard has been made under Article 140 of the Constitution considered with Section 24 of the CIABOC Act No 19 of 1994.
Kodituwakku has alleged that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nomination as the SLPP presidential candidate, was accepted whereas the EC rejected him though he renounced his British citizenship. Kodituwakku was to join the fray as the candidate of Okkoma Rajavaru Okkama Vasiyo, a registered political party though the party withdrew support at the last moment.
Public interest litigation activist Kodituwakku named former EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, who is now the Chairman of the Delimitation Commission as the sixth respondent. The petitioner held Deshapriya accountable for the EC’s conduct in that regard.
The petitioner requested the appointment of a Special Bench in terms of Article 132 (3) (iii) to hear and determine his application, direct the CIABOC and /or members of the Commission, Eva Wanasundera, Deepali Wijesundera, Chandra Nimal Wakista (2,3 and 4 respondents, respectively) and its Director General Kanishka Wijerathna (5th respondent) to initiate a credible and independent inquiry into complaints made by the petitioner on the corruption charges levelled against the 6th respondent, as expeditiously as possible and direct the current CIABOC to instruct the 5th respondent to initiate criminal proceedings against the 6th respondent.
Kodituwakku stated that before the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in Oct 2020, dual citizens had been disqualified from contesting the presidential election in terms of the Article 91(1) (d) (xiii) of the Constitution.
Kodituwakku, however acknowledged in his petition that the Secretary of Okkoma Rajavaru Okkama Vasiyo, blocked his candidature by withdrawing backing of his party at the last moment. Kodituwakku has charged the said official in the Nugegoda Magistrate court over what he called a criminal breach of trust and the case is pending.
The law prohibits anyone other than a person nominated by a registered political party, a member of Parliament or a former member of the Parliament from contesting the presidential election.
Kodituwakku has referred to a sworn statement dated May 18, 2021 made available to him by former EC member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole (7th respondent) to confirm the discussion he had with the 6th respondent also on May 18, 2021.
The EC accepted Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s nomination after the Court of Appeal dismissed a high profile case in which two civil society activists asked the court to withdraw Rajapaksa’s citizenship, on the basis he renounced it in 2003 to become a citizen of the United States and regained it two years later in an irregular manner.
The three-judge panel on Friday unanimously rejected the case. The Court of Appeal declared that it had no merit.
In his petition, Kodituwakku made reference to a dispute between Deshapriya and Prof. Hoole over the SLPP presidential candidate’s credentials, the former getting in touch with what he called Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s camp and the academic being accused of being an LTTE sympathiser by a section of the media.
According to the petition, the bone of contention is the failure on the part of the SLPP candidate to produce a certificate of renunciation of his US citizenship.
In the run-up to the presidential election, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris refuted accusations against the party candidate. Prof. Peiris explained the circumstances their candidate had renounced his US citizenship to pave the way for him to join the fray.
Courtesy The Island
Disclaimer: Nagananda seeks SC intervention, bribery probe By Shamindra Ferdinando - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view