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Probe into crime and corruption cases in a transparent manner- Ajith

No previous government had ever conducted any investigations in to crime and corruption as the present government has done, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera yesterday said.

Minister Perera pointed out that those investigations followed proper procedures without applying the law of the jungle unlike the previous regime did.

Deputy Minister Perera also pointed out that the authorities have completed 145 crucial investigations on crimes, financial crimes and corruption committed during the previous regime and the present. The investigations include 95 cases by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division, 15 by the Criminal Investigation Department, 34 by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources, and Privileges (PRECIFAC) and one by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury Bond issue.

The Deputy Minister said all structural hindrances that delay judicial process in Sri Lanka will soon be done away with and legal action against persons involved in fraud and corruption would be expedited.

“The government will establish three special Anti-Corruption High Courts by March along with a three Bench Trial-at-Bar to hear these cases. We are going to increasing the maximum number of High Court judges from 75 to 110 as well. We have also taken steps to recruit more counsels to the Attorney General’s Department and to resolve issues relating to their salaries. When all these changes are applied, we will be able to conclude hearing a case within two weeks. At present, it takes 17 years for a case like this to finally reach a conclusion, the very weakness used by persons involved in these crimes and corruption,” Deputy Minister Perera pointed out.

Speaking of the arrest of former Russian Ambassador Udayanga Weeratunge, Deputy Minister Perera said the government will put all its effort to bring the arrested to Sri Lanka.

He also said that this arrest will shed light not only to the financial misappropriation to the tune of US$ 14 million while purchasing four Ukrainian built MIG-27 aircraft for the Sri Lanka Air Force in 2015 but possibly also into the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremetunge.

Deputy Minister Perera also observed that the PRECIFAC report has

recommended that legal action be taken against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP Namal Rajapaksa, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, Renuka Perera, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, P.Banduwickreme and Dr.P.B.Abeysundara for their involvements in corruption.

He urged from the Attorney General and the Inspector of Police to take swift action against these persons in the same way Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena was taken into custody.

“We expect the responsible authorities to take action against all those who are involved in these corruption cases, not just some selected persons.The law must be equal to all. Certain names should not delay legal action. They should not be treated differently,” he said.