Disputes over fundamental notions of proper practices and the importance of interest-disclosure have embarrassed key rights advocates currently in at the forefront of investigating alleged wrongdoing by the previous Government.
It is alleged that Chandra Jayaratne, former Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and member of Friday Forum, a rights and good governance advocacy group, was a member of the investigating team, but did not disclose the fact when he publicly (in the website Colombo Telegraph) defended a fellow-investigator, J.C. Weliamuna for accepting payment.
Weliamuna is yet to respond to a request made to produce a breakdown of services and relevant amounts after it was found that the investigation had cost the taxpayer Rs.3.5 million. Jayaratne, claiming he was not aware of the terms of engagement under which the services were provided, told Colombo Telegraph that he cannot determine whether or not transparency principles upheld by Weliamuna were violated.
The Nation learns that Colombo Telegraph has asked Jayaratne whether or not he was a member of the team but the latter had declined to answer pleading the confidentiality prerogatives.
Meanwhile, another rights activist, strong critic of the previous regime and a key figure in President Maithripala Sirisena’s election campaign Nirmal Devasiri has said ‘it is unethical of him (Weliamuna) to accept a fee for his role in this investigation’.