Budding PC members to declare assets

Follow example set by lawyer contesting elections
By Damith Wickremasekara

A United National Party (UNP) candidate running for the Western Provincial Council elections in the Colombo district set a new trend this week by not only declaring his assets to the Elections Commissioner, but also declaring his assets to the public.

Declaring his assets Attorney-at-Law Shiral Lakthilaka told a gathering at the J.R.Jayewardene Centre in Colombo that he hoped to continue the practice annually and added his assets would be available for scrutiny at the end of the provincial council term, if he was elected to the council.

Posters declaring a new political culture.

Mr. Lakthilaka said that though it was an election requirement to declare one’s assets, usually the document ends up in a file, but he had decided to make his assets public and expected the practice would be followed by other politicians as well.

He said that the people have lost confidence in politicians and therefore he was taking this step to ensure that politicians gained that credibility again.

Human rights lawyer J.C.Weliamuna said that though the same law on declaration of assets applied to Members of Parliament most of them have not made this declaration and even though the declaration was made the public does not have access to the document.

He said that Mr. Lakthilaka had taken the step of declaring his assets, giving a message that honest persons were entering the political scene at a time when there were persons there who should not be in politics.

The move has prompted other UNP members also to declare their assets and accordingly at a public ceremony to be held on March 24 all UNP candidates contesting the Western Provincial Council elections are expected to declare their assets. The event will be held at the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo 2.


UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told The Sunday Times that in future his party would be getting all its candidates to declare their assets.

UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha told The Sunday Times that UPFA candidates declare their assets to the Elections Commissioner before the elections or within four weeks to the Provincial Council Secretary, but they do not intend making their declarations public.

JVP MP Anura Dissanayake told The Sunday Times that the declaration of assets would not help to reduce corruption and said that his party members would declare their assets to the Elections Commissioner.

Meanwhile Western Provincial Council Secretary Lalith Kannangara told The Sunday Times that during the past five years the members of the former council had not handed over any assets declaration as it was not a requirement.

He said that advice had been sought from the Attorney General as well and added there was no legal requirement to collect the assets declaration from the members.

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