UNP calls on President to act on Justice Minister

Tuesday, 15 August 2017 00:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Chathuri Dissanayake

UNP yesterday called on President Maithripala Sirisena to take action on Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe who has compromised “collective responsibility” of the Cabinet.

Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe has been under fire for a number of controversial statements he made on Government’s move to lease Hambantota Port, leading to a number of UNP Ministers threaten him with No Confidence Motion.

UNP General Secretary, Kabir Hashim however said, that the Party has no stance on moving a no confidence motion on Rajapakshe, a member of the same party. 

Instead the Minister Hashim called upon the President to take a decision on the defamed Justice Minister for his resent behavior.

“The President has to react now, we are looking towards his decision on the conduct of Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe since President is the leader of the cabinet,” Hashim told Daily FT.

“The Party does not have any official stance on moving on a no confidence motion against the Minister. We have not discussed it at Party level. It is only a few Ministers who have been speaking about the matter.”

However the Working Committee meeting scheduled for August 17 is likely to take the matter up for discussion if it is raised by a member, Hashim said.

Meanwhile, one of the main advocates of moving a no confidence motion, Minister Harin Fernando said that a number of younger ministers of the party and several MPs will lobby for the no faith motion to be taken up during the Working Committee meeting. “Once the Cabinet led by President and Prime Minister have taken a decision, he cannot go out and criticise it. He has breached the collective responsibility often. He has spoken up in the Cabinet but once the discussion is over and a decision has been taken, we should stand by it,” Fernando stressed.

Stressing that Rajapakshe has lost faith due to his lack of commitment to the ministerial portfolio he holds, Fernando said that Rajapakshe’s agenda has been exposed.

“When former President Mahinda Rajapaksha said he would back the Justice Minister and JO is supporting him, it is clear what is going on,” Fernando insisted.

The minister has been accused of delaying investigations against leaders of the former regime. The issue was discussed during the cabinet meeting last week as well, with Wijedasa Rajapakshe defending himself saying that Attorney General’s Department operates independently, not under his purview. However, number of UNP members have been calling for action against the minister for delaying investigations.

“We promised the country we would carry out these investigations and we should move on the promise. We have been tolerating Minister Rajapakshe enough. There has to be some action taken,” Fernando said.

Implying influence by Rajapakshe to stall the investigations carried out by AG’s department on corruption cases against last regime, senior UNP member and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella speaking to media in Kandy, also told media yesterday that the matter will be taken up for discussion at the UNP working committee meeting.