United National Party (UNP) Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman spoke to our sister paper Rivira with regard to the resignation given by fellow Party member and Assistant Party Leader, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and incumbent MP, Ravi Karunanayake, and about the current political situation in the country.
Following are few excerpts:
Q: Karunanayake resigned his Ministerial portfolio. What is your view of this move?
Karunanayake set a very good example. This is a good lesson to all MPs and Ministers. There was only a certain allegation levelled against him, which was regarding the fact that he had engaged in a certain transaction with persons against whom allegations have already been levelled with regard to their involvement in the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Treasury bonds issues incident.
Besides that, there was no allegation against Karunanayake in relation to the incident at the CBSL. Certain issues have arisen in relation to the matter. That is why Karunanayake took such a decision.
Q : Why did he decide to resign the moment an allegation was levelled against him? Was it due to someone’s influence?
No. I do not think so. I do not think that there was any influence brought to bear upon him. I do not know such for certain. However, when one goes through the answers he gave, he indirectly accepts that a transaction was done.
Q : Why did such a responsible Minister get involved with or in such a transaction?
I think that sometimes Karunanayake would have engaged in the transaction because it was with his long time friend, Arjun Aloysius (linked to primary bidder, Perpetual Treasuries), whose father-in-law is former Governor of the CBSL, Arjuna Mahendran.
Generally speaking, they have been family friends for a long time. Therefore, neither Karunanayake nor his family would have thought that this would go this far to become such a big problem and arise as such.
Q : The Opposition alleges that it was not only Karunanayake who was involved in this.
The Opposition has no ethical or moral right to talk about this. When there was an attempt to kill a woman who had engaged in prostitution, Jesus said that the person who had not sinned should throw the first stone. What we have to say is the same.
Those in the Joint Opposition for many years, engaged in fraud, corruption and murder in this country. It is such a joke that they are the ones talking about this. Even to the media, I tell that it is pointless to give publicity to what they say. Because, they are the ones who must first be chained and fastened to the rack or pillory for the crimes they committed.
We too have a problem with regard to how clean and pure they are.
Q : Is this an attempt by the Government to wipe their hands off the CBSL Treasury bonds issues incident by sacrificing Karunanayake?
There is no such thing. No one was given as a sacrifice. A commission has been appointed in relation to the bonds issues incident. After the commission gives its report we can see what the real situation of this is. If the commission wants to summon others, they will.
Today, there is no influence being brought to bear upon the commission. It is because there is no such influence that a powerful Minister like Karunanayake was brought before the commission.
Back then, could even one MP of the Joint Opposition be brought before the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption? A certain person did not go saying that he had been bitten by a snake.
No one who is screaming now had the courage to present themselves in such a manner. Today, it is not like that. Today, if someone commits a wrong, she or he is punished.
Today, the yahapalana (good governance) Government has created such an environment. It is to bring this about that we worked tirelessly during the past period. Today, all of us should be happy about that. More than talking about Karunanayake, ask anyone who is screaming now about whether during the time when they were in the Government, such a political tradition as is established now was created and whether such ever took place.
Now, even they also must be proud that such a political culture has been created. Therefore, everyone should instead of levelling allegations, speak good about the Government. Everyone knows what happened in the past. If we raise these incidents again, none of those who scream will be able to be anywhere near.
Q : Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Harin Fernando has called for such commissions to be appointed to look into investigations into the previous Government.
Definitely. We too are of the same opinion. Other investigations too must be expedited in the same manner. The other inquires must be done speedily.
A book of 8,000 pages was prepared within two days from the messages found in Aloysius’s phone. However, there are certain ongoing cases where the cases have not even been filed. There are cases where the B reports are yet to be filed.
The Financial Crimes Investigation Division has concluded inquiries and investigations into 80 cases and has sent the files to the Attorney General’s Department. Now several months have passed, yet no cases have been filed. As backbench MPs we request that this matter too needs to be expeditiously inquired and investigated into.