(Lanka-e-News- 14.Sep.2017, 11.45) The recent statement made by deposed and presently people discarded president Mahinda Rajapakse in relation to the sentence of 3 years rigorous imprisonment delivered by court plus heavy fines against his ex secretary Lalith Weeratunge and another State officer Anusha Pelita have stirred up a hornet’s nest among the legal fraternity , who are of the carefully considered opinion that Mahinda can be hauled up in court on his recent revelation alone , based on what they revealed to Lanka e news.
Mahinda said categorically, when he was the president ,Lalith Weeratunge who was his secretary had to act according to his orders .Though this is not a new concept, yet Mahinda did not take any steps to appear in court to save his secretary. Lalith Weeratunge too in court made the same revelation which Mahinda is now saying. That means Weeratunge has clearly acted on the instructions given by Mahinda Rajapakse when the latter was the president. Nevertheless , the judge did not consider Weeratunge’s averment as a cause to exonerate him. Instead sentenced him to 3 years rigorous imprisonment while also imposing a heavy fine on each of the two culprits.
The decision of the judge was guided by the laws of the Establishment code governing the State officers. The code clearly stipulates that if a superior gives an order that is contradictory to the laws , the state officer shall not abide by it . And if the State officer carries out the order, it is he/she who becomes first liable and guilty , the Establishment code states.
Since 11 th , Mahinda Rajapakse is announcing that it is he who gave the orders to Weeratunge . Doesn’t that mean Mahinda Rajapakse is clearly admitting ,the illegal order carried out by Weeratunge confirmed by court via its verdict was given by him ? Mahinda Rajapakse at the same time saying , that order is not illegal has no effect because the court has already decided duly it is illegal.
In the circumstances , whether that order was illegal or not has to be ascertained by the court , and not based on the fact Mahinda Rajapakse was the former president , or on his immunity he enjoyed then .
Mahinda Rajapakse does not enjoy immunity any more than that Chandrika a former president was entitled to . There is nothing extraordinary about his immunity . Neither his Hitler mustache nor his cursed shawl he flaunts proudly render him eligible for additional immunity. Besides , that immunity attaches only as long he/she is the president. Mahinda therefore has no immunity after he is thrown out of power. Hence ,all what he can do now to safeguard himself is to wear an amudey and carry a mammoty instead of relying on immunity. It has already been proved ,if during the tenure of office unlawful actions are committed , cases can be filed against those offences after the presidential term is over……
The Supreme court (SC) in the case against Mahinda’s predecessor Chandrika Bandaranaike in connection with the fraud in which Chandrika during her tenure of office transferred the Water’s edge land to Ronnie Peiris , a friend of hers via an irregular transaction , the SC in regard to state and private interests , after weighing the pros and cons clearly explained , section 35 (1) of the constitution concerns the circumstances when immunity is available , and section 35 (2) concerns circumstances when immunity is not available. According to the SC , the president in power is entitled to immunity , and when out of power the immunity ceases to operate.
In the Sri Lanka law report 339 of 2008 regarding case No. FR 352/ 2007 Sugathapala vs Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge , P.B. Jayasundara and others , the judges Sarath Nanda Silva ( CJ at that time) , Shiranee Thilakawardena and P.A. Ratnayake unanimously decided , the ‘immunity’ of the Executive president does not mean it is a license given to an executive president to commit wrongs. The SC made it abundantly clear , after the term of office of executive presidency , the executive president is liable before the law and is answerable to the wrongs committed during the tenure of office of the executive presidency .
In that case involving the sale to Water’s Edge Hotel of the land that was acquired by the government for development purposes , Chandrika was found guilty by the SC . The court imposed a fine of Rs. 3 million on her , and Ronnie Peiris who earned a profit of Rs. 5.7 million owing to Chandrika’s illicit transaction was fined Rs. 2 million . In addition the court ordered that compensation shall be paid to the plaintiff.
When the court verdict of the past is most lucid and unambiguous , if Mahinda Rajapakse is saying openly that it is he as president then who issued those illegal orders to Lalith Weeratunge, and if the court too has already confirmed that order was illegal, without any trace of doubt legal action can be taken against Mahinda Rajapakse for issuing those illegal orders. It has now been confirmed based on the verdict of the highest court of SL, he does not also enjoy presidential immunity any more.
by (2017-09-14 23:49:23)
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Absolutely Right - He should hauled up and sent to the Prison Hospital to keep company with his secretary.
-- by Citizen on 2017-09-15