By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court yesterday postponed the contempt proceedings against Hambantota District Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa for 16 January.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Buwaneka Aluvihara, postponed the matter because Justice Priyasath Dep was not present.
The Supreme Court on 15 September directed the Bribery Commission to file charges against Rajapaksa on or before 3 October for the alleged offence of contempt of the Bribery Commission. Court rejected the preliminary objections raised by Rajapaksa.
The Bribery Commission filed charges against Rajapaksa in the Supreme Court for allegedly disrespecting the commission’s authority by failing to appear before it on 26 May.
Then Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe PC had sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Rajapaksa for his failure to appear before the commission and produce an affidavit in connection with investigations into his assets.
The commission stated that it had commenced an investigation into the assets of the parliamentarian which would be an indictable offence under the Bribery Act and that the investigations revealed evidence to substantiate an offence of Bribery.
The commission said that through a notice dated 14 December 2015 it had requested Rajapaksa to produce an affidavit on 20 January 2016.
Rajapaksa replied on 19 January 2016, requesting more time to send the affidavit, to which the commission responded positively, giving him time until 15 March. However, on 15 March, the commission said he had requested a copy of the commission’s complaint.
The commission wrote to him that it could not provide a copy as he was not entitled to it and asked him to submit an affidavit before 17 April, which he did not do, the commission revealed. But the content of the letter was disputed by Jayantha Weerasinghe PC, appearing on behalf of Rajapaksa, and through a letter dated 25 May he had replied to the summons and objected to its legality.
Gamini Marapana PC with Shavindra Fernando PC and Navin Marapana appeared for Rajapaksa. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam with Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General as amicus curie (literally, friend of the court to assist).