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Fundamental Rights petition challenging COPE report re-fixed for support

Fundamental Rights petition challenging COPE report re-fixed for support

The Fundamental Rights petition filed by Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero challenging the various findings and statements made in a report

prepared by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) regarding the bond issues of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in the year of 2015 and 2016 was re-fixed for support on September 8 by Supreme Court today.

When the petition came up before three-judge-bench headed by Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, the Court was informed that several COPE committee members were yet to appear in Courts as respondents.

The petitioner Vice Secretary of the Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero had cited 26 members of COPE including its chairman Sunil Hadunnetti who were tasked by Parliament of Sri Lanka to investigate and report on matters pertaining to certain Treasury bond auctions, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, the Governor of the CBSL, Chairman of the Tender Committee of the CBSL and Superintendent of the Public Debt Department of the CBSL, the Auditor General of Sri Lanka and the Attorney General as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner stated that consequent to being elected in September 2015, Parliament of Sri Lanka appointed the members of COPE to conduct an investigation into certain Central Bank auctions of Treasury Bonds which occurred in February 2015 and March 2016.

The members of COPE have submitted their final report to Parliament on or about 28 October 2016.

The said COPE report maintains that; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th, 21st, 22nd, 24th and 26th Respondents agreed to the said COPE report in general without the footnotes.

The 6th,7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 20th, 23rd and 25th Respondents agreed to the said COPE report with the footnotes.

The all members of the committee (i.e. the 1st to 26th respondents) unanimously agreed to the recommendations given at the end of the report.

The Petitioner expressly pleads that notwithstanding that the said COPE report was presented to Parliament on or about 28 October 2016, the same remained inaccessible to the general public and the Petitioner for some time. The Petitioner pleads that the said COPE report only became accessible to the Petitioner on or about 24 November 2016.

In the circumstances afore-said, the Petitioner pleads that the Petitioner could not file this application sooner as the COPE report was inaccessible to him, and he was not aware of the contents of the same, until 24 November 2016. 14.

The Petitioner further stated that in any event the continuous reliance or circulation or actions of the said COPE report as it presently stands amounts to a continuing infringement of the Petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, and also amounts to a cause which enables the Petitioner to prefer this application in the public interest.

The Petitioner pleads that through the said COPE report, the Petitioner and the general public have been misinformed and misled.

The Petitioner said that in the event that the CBSL was not properly or officially or lawfully issuing Treasury Bonds viz the direct/private placement from the month of January 2009, the proper procedure that ought to have been followed from January 2009 was the Central Bank Treasury bond auction process. (Daily News)

 

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