Comments /736 Views / Friday, 11 August 2017 00:00
By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
Delivering a climactic twist to the controversial bond saga, former Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday tendered his resignation in a hard-hitting parliamentary statement and sat with party backbenchers after insisting he was proud to be part of a Government which has delivered good governance.
Addressing the House yesterday on a personal privilege issue, Minister Karunanayake stated that despite his innocence, he was compelled to take the bold decision to step down from his ministerial post to protect the Yahapalana Government, the United National Party (UNP) and the country.
“We will not let these power-hungry elements attack the United National Party. We will not let these power-hungry elements dismantle the Yahapalana Government. We cannot let them make use of the allegations against me to attack my party, my Government and our work for democracy. Therefore, I decided to resign from my post, setting an example. History will decide my place,” said Karunanayake.Karunanayake met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over the weekend and again on Tuesday before meeting with both the Prime Minister and President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday.
“During my career, I never earned anything through illegal means. I only lost my money because of politics. I didn’t earn from politics but spent my private money,” he told Parliament.
Karunanayake charged that individuals who had even the slightest connection to a Minister were not summoned before a commission previously. He alleged that key ministers and the President acted with “swollen heads” in the previous administration.
However, he said he would respect the law and bow before it. Karunanayake pointed out that the task of the presidential commission was to investigate the alleged bond scam but instead it had made “renting a house” the talk of the town. Nonetheless, he expressed confidence the commission would complete its task competently and assured he would continue to keep a close eye on the proceedings.
“We hope the Attorney General’s department will show the same efficiency with regard to the 87 files submitted to the department by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division against the members of the former government.”
Karunanayake dwelt extensively on his services to the party and efforts to win the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015 for his party and ‘yahapalanaya’.
Karunanayake also went on to say he was unfairly targeted through the baseless allegations directed at him and the media acting as judge and jury. He also recalled that even though there had been previous allegations against him nothing had ever been proved.
“The media in this country acted in a unique manner during the last 10-12 days. It is their opinion that I should be led to the cross and crucified. I will not be afraid of this. Jesus Christ was accused wrongly. The Buddha was accused wrongly. According to the eight worldly conditions in Buddhism everyone will have to face challenges and situations similar to this.
Karunanayake remained defiant even when announcing his resignation, emphasising the fact that he was proud to step down as it was a symbol of the new political change achieved by this Government. He stressed that he would continue to serve his “people, party and country” and “stand for the truth.”
“I will continue my struggle to eliminate crime and corruption from my country. I will remain dedicated to the causes of the 8 January revolution. I did not take the decision to resign with regret. I am proud to set this example.
“I sacrificed my position for the honour of this august assembly. I sacrifice my post for the benefit of our party and all those who love this party. I sacrifice this post for the benefit of all those people in my electorate. I sacrifice this post for the benefit of the new political culture we introduced. I sacrifice this post for the democracy of this country. I sacrifice this post for the continuance of our Government. Therefore, I am proud of my decision.”
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