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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Ranil’s former Secretary files FR petition against Political Victimisation Commission

ECONOMYNEXT – The Former Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake has filed a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay order against the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on alleged political victimisation which has recommended legal action against him.

Ekanayake’s lawyers said the PCoI recommended action against the former Secretary for his role in setting up the Anti-Corruption unit in the Temple Trees office complex.

Ekanayake seeks to obtain a stay order on the report by the PCoI, its recommendations, the cabinet decisions are taken to implement the recommendations and the Special PCoI appointed as one recommendation of the report.

The PCoI recommended that all the cases filed against members of the administration prior to 2015 for various acts of corruption be dropped by the courts.

Interestingly the PCoI also recommended that a case of fraud against Minister Udaya Gammanpila which has been filed against him by an Australian investor also be dropped.

In his filing, Ekanayake says he was unaware of the allegations made against him and the decisions and recommendations as represented in the papers implicating him as he was never summoned or given an opportunity to explain his version before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Political Victimization by the members of the Commission.

However despite making several attempts to obtain the said report he has not been able to obtain an official copy of the report with the recommendations.

Ekananayake in his petition argues that he was merely carrying out his duties as the secretary to the Prime Minister as required, noting that “there is no procedure established to ascertain the legality of a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers by a Secretary or a Secretary to a Ministry who is directed upon the decisions.”

The Petitioner further states that the legality of a particular Cabinet decision can only be challenged at a judicial forum. The Petitioner verily believes to the best of his knowledge that no one has successfully challenged the legality of the aforesaid Cabinet Decisions.

The petitioner has named The PCoI Chairman, Upali Abeyrathne, members Daya Chandrasiri Jayathilaka, Chandra Fernando and the Secretary of the PCoI Pearl Weerasinghe, respectively as first to 4th Respondents of his petition.

He has also named all members of the cabinet of Ministers and the Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers as respondents, while also naming the Chairperson, the Members and the Director-General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption hereinafter referred to as CIABOC as respondents as well.

However the application notes that “no allegations nor seeks any relief against” the chairperson and the members of the CISBOC, “they are named as Respondents to this application since certain interim reliefs sought herein may affect the functions of the said Respondents.” The petition also names the Inspector General of Police noting that “whilst the Petitioner makes no allegations nor seeks any relief against the 36th Respondent, he is named as a Respondent to this Application since certain interim reliefs sought herein may affect the functions of the said Respondent.” (Colombo, March 12, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka telecommunications bill some clauses ruled unconstitutional by SC: Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has found a number of clauses in a proposed amendment to the Telecom Telecommunications Amendment bill unconstitutional, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said.

“Clause No 8, proposed section 9A 2 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution, however this inconsistency shall cease if word ‘may’ will be replaced with word ‘shall’ as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

“Clause No 9 is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and only can be passed with special majority required under paragraph 2 of the Article 84. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.

Clause No 12, proposed section 17 10 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and can only be passed with special parliament majority required under Article 84 paragraph 2. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

Sections of clauses 13, 18, 20, 33 and 35 were also in violation of the constitution, and could only be passed by a special majority of parliament. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to exempt one house from imputed rent wealth tax: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will exempt one house from a proposed wealth tax outlined in an International Monetary Fund program, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

About 90 percent of the people’s houses are likely to be exempt from the proposed tax, he said.

“[O]ne house will be exempt from this,” President Wickremesinghe told parliament Monday.

“It is going to have a very high threshold and I do not think the vast majority of the people in this country should even be worried about their house

“Don’t worry your house will be safe.”

The IMF program document however did not mention an exempt on one house, but did mention a threshold.

Taxing houses and thrift in general could have detrimental effects on people’s well-being housing stock and their willingness to remain in the country without migrating, critics say.

Related Sri Lanka to tax imaginary rents on houses under IMF deal

The mechanism of imputed rents was used because rates on houses was assigned to provincial councils and courts could strike it down.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said the Samagi Jana Balwegaya welcomed President Wickremesinghe’s statement. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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