Sri Lankaâ€™s UNP insists President Sirisena be included in corruption probe
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s United National Party (UNP) has insisted President Maithripala Sirisena waive presidential immunity and subject himself to a corruption probe he has proposed against his deposed prime minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Kabir Hashim, parliamentarian and chairman of the United National Party, said Sirisena headed the coalition government between the UNP and Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) until it was dissolved by Sirisena’s sacking of Wickremesinghe in October 2018.
“All decisions were made by a Cabinet chaired by the President,” he said in a statement. “If there was corruption in the past 3 ½ years as the President says, the President has equally to share the blame.”
Hashim was responding to comments by President Sirisena, at a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents Association in Colombo, that he removed Wickremesinghe on 26th October 2018 due to corruption.
Sirisena said a Presidential Commission of inquiry will be established to look into cases of corruption between January 2015 and October 2018.
“The government that operated during this period was in no way ‘A Ranil Wickremesinghe Government’,” Hashim said.
“President Maithripala Sirisena who headed the National Unity Government was not only the Head of State but also the Head of Government.”
Hasin said the UNP welcomes the appointment of a Presidential Commission to look into this period.
“We also insist that President Sirisena is not made immune to the investigation himself.”
Hashim also rejected Sirisena’s claim that he will not appoint Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister in his life time even if legally proven that he commands the confidence of the majority in the house.
“This is yet another blatant violation of the fundamentals of Parliamentary Democracy. The President has no choice but to act within the framework of Constitutional Provisions and the Constitution does not make provisions for personal vendettas.
“The United National Party would also like to remind President Sirisena that he has not been elected for a life time and that his term as President comes to an end in less than 12 months,” Hashim said.
(COLOMBO, 27 November 2018)