Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who successfully moved the Cabinet of Ministers to acquire a 17-acre Malwana property that was to go under an auctioneer’s hammer was in for a rude shock this week. Himself a lawyer, Rajapakshe had wanted the state to take over the land and a partly built house allegedly belonging to former [...]


Court blocks Cabinet decision on Malwana’s mystery mansion


Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who successfully moved the Cabinet of Ministers to acquire a 17-acre Malwana property that was to go under an auctioneer’s hammer was in for a rude shock this week. Himself a lawyer, Rajapakshe had wanted the state to take over the land and a partly built house allegedly belonging to former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Basil Rajapaksa, however, has denied any ownership and it was decided to auction the property. The Chief Government Valuer had said the property was worth more than Rs 207 million. An auction was fixed for March 29.  The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) which probed the matter ran advertisements in the national media for this purpose.

Last Thursday, the Pugoda Magistrate and Additional District Judge Nilpuli Lankapura held that there was no legal provision to dispose of any property or production until a court case is completed. Hence, she asked the Attorney General to make submissions to Court on April 6 on what basis he was seeking to take over the land which is now under litigation.

On the earlier occasion, the Magistrate ordered the suspension of the auction. This was after the FCID had filed a petition with a certified copy of the Cabinet decision not to auction the property. However, the Magistrate did direct that the court should be given reasons for this request.

The 17-acre land adjoins the Kelani River at Gangabada Road in Malwana. Justice Minister Rajapakshe told his ministerial colleagues that the valuation on the property was lower and that the Government could utilise the land.

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake has suggested the land be used for a Police Academy.


English with a Sward

Given below without comment is a media statement issued by the Presidential Media Division:

“President Maithripala Sirisena who is on a three day State visit to Russia held bilateral discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin today (March 23).

“During this bilateral meeting Russian President presented a significant gift to President Maithripala Sirisena symbolising the close relationship between the two countries.

“This special gift was a royal sward of Kandy era of the 19th century. This sward had been brought to England in 1906 and later bought by Russia at an archaelogical artefact auction named Sotheby in England.”


Zeid meets GTF delegation

During the ongoing sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka received a two-year reprieve to implement the 2015 resolution that calls for the setting up of a ‘war crimes tribunal’ in Sri Lanka.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is seen recently with a delegation of the London-based Global Tamil Forum.


Touring Minister lost in Berlin
Many years ago there was a popular movie “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium”. It depicted the whirlwind life of a tour guide who was going from country to country losing track of time and place.

It can happen to cabinet ministers when they travel too much.

Last week, a minister attending a popular travel mart in Berlin, Germany began his address by saying “Bonjour”, the French word for “Hello” or “Good Day”, much to the horror of the German organisers and the utter embarrassment of the Sri Lankan contingent.

The media conference he held was a similar disaster with the minister unable to answer simple questions and turning to his officials to bail him out.

On his return, the minister concerned changed his suit and emplaned for Russia and on his return he has many more destinations abroad to visit. In fact, trips are over-lapping and he has the difficult decision which of the countries he must choose. Decisions; decisions; decisions. Pity the life of some of these ministers.


All our co-sponsors

Besides Sri Lanka, 44 countries were co-sponsors of the resolution to grant Sri Lanka a two-year extension to implement the remaining provisions of the UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted in October 2015.

The resolution, among other matters, calls for the inclusion of foreign judges and prosecutors in a local judicial mechanism.

Here is the list of the co-sponsoring countries: The United States, the United Kingdom, Macedonia, Montenegro, Canada, Israel, Australia, Japan, Norway, Germany, Republic of Korea, Lichtenstein, Slovakia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Albania, Ireland, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, France, Lithuania, Slovenia, Poland, Ivory Coast, Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Sweden, Romania, Finland, Malta, Georgia, Netherlands, Spain, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Estonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


It’s Russia with love for ministers and media team

Seven ministers, deputies and a Provincial Council minister accompanied President Maithripala Sirisena and wife Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari during his three-day visit to the Russian Federation this week.

Among them were Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Ameratunga and his deputy.

Others in the entourage were Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premjayantha, Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs Minister S.B. Navinne, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, and Southern Province Education Minister Chandima Rasaputra.

There was a 15-member media delegation, most of them from the Presidential Media Unit. There were only three working journalists – Rivira Editor Sujeeva Chandana,  Mawbima Editor Bennet Rupasinghe and Silumina Editor Lakshman Piyasena.


Top US award for Sandhya Ekneligoda

The US Department of State is to name Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of slain journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, for one of its International Women of Courage Awards.

She will travel to Washington DC later next week to receive the award.

Ms Ekneligoda was nominated by the United States Embassy in Colombo,  “due to her work pursuing justice in her own husband’s case as well as on behalf of missing families from both Sinhalese and Tamil communities as a profound symbol in Sri Lanka’s efforts towards justice and reconciliation.”

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