Sri Lanka plans to impeach President - report
[TamilNet, Sunday, 07 July 2002, 02:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s government last week decided to impeach President Chandrika Kumaratunga on a wide range of issues from corruption to the abuse of power, The Sunday Leader newspaper reported. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed his ministers to start drafting the impeachment resolution with immediate effect, it said.
The government has also decided to impeach Chief Justice Sarath Silva, the independent newspaper said. The Sunday Leader is seen as close to Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Front (UNF) party.
The paper said the decision to move against Kumaratunga was taken by the government's political affairs committee at a meeting with Wickremesinghe on Thursday.
Among those present at the meeting were Power Minister Karu Jayasuriya, Defence Minister Tilak Marapone, Constitutional Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris, Port Development Minister Rauf Hakeem and UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema, the paper said.
“It was decided at this meeting that the main focus of the impeachment motion would be the Rs. 2.3 billion luxury vehicle scandal and the multi million dollar fraud involving the Sri Lanka Rubber Manufacturing and Export Corporation Limited. In both cases monies had been released by the Treasury on President Kumaratunga's instructions,” the paper said.
Marapone had pointed out that if the government was to proceed with the impeachment of the President meaningfully and obtain a fair hearing in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Sarath Silva would have to be impeached first.
Meanwhile the political affairs committee also decided to introduce the 18th Amendment to the constitution by end July. The decision of the committee was to include only the conscience vote in the amendment whereby a member will not lose his parliamentary seat for voting against the party whip.
With the presentation of an impeachment resolution against the president by half the MPs in parliament, Kumaratunga will be precluded from dissolving parliament in December.