- Demand call logs of all 225 MPs be examined
- Call for investigation to ensure Parliamentary privileges of members safeguarded
- UNP MPs deny wrongdoing, say effort to discredit COPE
- Harshana Rajakaruna says knew Aloysius from childhood but denies leaking info on COPE proceedings, alleges mudslinging attempt
- MP Hector Appuhamy claims biz only relationship
By Skandha Gunasekara
The log of phone calls listed at the Bond Commission shook Parliament yesterday with several UNP lawmakers, who were also members of the Committee on Public Enterprise that had investigated the controversial bond issuance, denying any illegal links with Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius, and calling for Parliamentary privileges to be safeguarded.
UNP Gampaha District MP Harshana Rajakaruna, raising a privilege issue in the House, said he had phone conversations with Aloysius before becoming a Member of Parliament and that all conversations with the latter “was in January 2015.” “My connection to Aloysius goes back to my grandfather. His grandfather and mine were good friends. They became friends before my birth and I have known Arjun Aloysius since I was a child,” he said.
He then asserted that, as a member of the COPE, he had in no way spoken about any matter concerning the COPE investigation with Aloysius and that there were subtle moves to sling mud at the COPE and its investigations.
“All friendships and other relationships must be forgotten when one is a member of a watchdog committee such as the COPE. That is why we all signed the COPE report and agreed with its recommendations. There are those who only attempt to sling mud as politicians. It has become a norm to destroy another’s character with false accusations.” Meanwhile, UNP Puttalam district MP Hector Appuahamy addressing a hurriedly organised press briefing at the Parliamentary complex told the media that while he may have had phone calls with Aloysius, it was only due to their friendship and the connections made between them during business activities. “Arjun Aloysius and I are friends and we have done some business together. I can safely say that I never spoke of anything that would jeopardise the COPE investigation during my conversations with him.
These phone conversations were mainly social calls.”
He then demanded that the phone call logs of all 225 MPs be investigated.
“The phone logs of all 225 MPs should be investigated. It is likely that Aloysius has called many other MPs. Authorities should carry out an investigation ensuring that the Parliamentary privileges of the MPs are safeguarded.”
When questioned by the media if he was willing to have the recordings of his phone conversation with Aloysius examined, the MP said that he had no qualms with such an initiative.
“As politicians we receive phone calls from various people, including murderers and thieves. I have no problem with my phone call recordings being investigated. It will categorically prove I have done nothing wrong. In fact I propose that phone call recordings of all 225 MPs who have spoken with Aloysius be examined,” he said.