Thursday, March 6, 2008

No evidence, no select committee: Speaker

MiG 27 deal

The controversial MiG 27 deal issue came up in Parliament yesterday with Speaker W.J.M Lokubandara admitting that he did not appoint the select committee because the MP who asked for it did not produce any evidence.

The UNP castigated the Government for the alleged cover up of the investigations into the MiG 27 deal by removing Bribery Commission Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe,

However, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle replied that the removal of Mr. Ranasinghe had not hampered ongoing investigations into corrupt deals.

“He was signing only indictments at the Commission,” Mr. Fernandopulle said.

Mr. Fernandopulle said that the UNP had conveniently forgotten what it did in the past, and now continued to attack the Government on baseless grounds.

Referring to the MiG deal, he said the responsibility lied squarely with the Speaker to appoint the proposed select committee.

“It is his duty. There is no use of blaming the Government. The Speaker is yet to appoint it,” he said.

The Speaker responded saying that the MP who brought the motion was asked to produce some evidence for him to take a decision.

“I made such a request to him to produce some sort of evidence but he did not do so,” he said.

SLFP (M) MP Mangala Samaraweera said the late MP Sripathy Sooriyarachchi made a lengthy statement to the Bribery Commission when he made the complaint regarding the deal.

Mr. Samaraweera said that Mr. Ranasinghe had been removed when investigations were going on the matter.

Daily Mirror