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AG raises objections over Jaliya’s writ petition

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday raised preliminary objections regarding a writ petition filed by former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya who challenged the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s decision to waive his diplomatic immunity.

Filing a writ petition in the Court of Appeal, Jaliya Wickramasuriya alleged that the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a letter informing US authorities that diplomatic immunity of former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya had been removed.

The petitioner is seeking a writ order to quash the Ministry Secretary’s decision to issue a letter waiving his diplomatic immunity contrary to the laws, regulations and conventions.

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appearing for the Attorney General informed Court of Appeal that the petition cannot be maintained since Court of Appeal does not have a jurisdiction to hear the application.

ASG Kodagoda contended that the powers relating to the diplomatic affairs are vested with the President and thereby this application should have heard before Supreme Court.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared on behalf of the petitioner. The petition is to be taken up for support on February 19.

At a previous occasion, the Colombo Fort Magistrate had issued an open warrant for the arrest of Jaliya Wickramasuriya for his failure to appear before Court.

The FCID had filed a ‘B’ report in the Fort Magistrate’s Court against Jaliya Wickramasuriya for allegedly misappropriating USD 330,000 out of USD 6.6 million allocated for purchasing a building for Sri Lankan Embassy in US.

The FCID alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the concerned amount committed during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington. The former ambassador had remitted this money to Sri Lanka. The former Ambassador is a close relative of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.