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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka police minister orders probe into ex-president’s Easter attack remarks

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Tiran Alles, who is in charge of police, has ordered to question former president Maithripala Sirisena over his comments on his knowledge over real plotters behind Easter Sunday attack that killed at least 269 people in 2019.

Sirisena, who had been found guilty by the country’s Supreme Court for his failure to prevent the carnage, on Friday said he knew who carried out the attack and was ready to reveal it confidentially to if there is a request or order from Court.

“Already, there is an ongoing investigation. Some have been charged and there is a trail-at-bar is on the process. If somebody says like this, we have to investigate and he can’t refuse to cooperate,” Minister Alles told EconomyNext.

“A judge will not ask anybody to appear in the court because somebody says in public that he knows something. It must be done through police.”

Sirisena, a legislator now and leader of the center-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), was the president of the island nation when Islamist suicide bombers targeted Catholics and foreigners in six simultaneous blasts on the day of Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.

Investigations into the attack have revealed there had been serious lapses in intelligence where law implementing agency neglected a series of warning by Indian intelligence agency.

Despite in-depth probe by the local authorities, the investigators failed to identify the real motive and the mastermind of the attack so far.

In January 2023, Sirisena was ordered by the Supreme court to pay 100 million rupees as compensation to the victims for his negligence in preventing one of the country’s worst terror strikes despite having credible information of an imminent attack.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic leadership has repeatedly demanded an independent investigation into the Easter Sunday carnage.

Political analysts say Sirisena in the past as well has drawn attention via some controversial statements and actions.

In October 2018, Sirisena sacked his Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, who lost the 2015 presidency to Sirisena after a bitter fight.

However, the Supreme Court found Sirisena’s action unconstitutional and ordered to reinstate Wickremesinghe as the prime minister in December 2018 after 52 days of a ‘constitutional coup’.

Sirisena, during this period, claimed that there was a plot by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to assassinate him and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, such a plot was not proven with evidence. (Colombo/March 24/2024)

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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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