Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe yesterday said that Speaker had no powers to summon the officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Parliament just because MPs staged a protest.
Addressing a press conference at the office of the Leader of the House in the Parliament Complex, the Minister said that summoning CIABOC officials to Parliament amounted to interference in the commission’s duties.
“If a present, position or treatment is given by a presidential candidate during the time of presidential election that could be interpreted as bribe giving. If a person accepts such a gift it too is bribe taking. After submitting nominations on December 08 for the presidential election, the former President appointed MP Tissa Attanayake as the Minister of Health.
Attanayake joined the then government and accepted the portfolio on December 12. Thus, there was a complaint against this at the CIABOC. The commission has duly commenced investigating the complaint it has received. That’s their duty. There is nothing wrong or illegal in the CIABOC summoning the former President to obtain a statement,” Justice Minister said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera: “The Speaker has no powers to summon bribery commission Chairman. Neither Parliament nor the Speaker has any powers to interfere in the affairs of the CIABOC. Former President has no immunity once he retired. Immunity is applicable only when a person holds that office.”
Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella: The Opposition MPs commenced a protest inside Parliament citing the CIABOC summoning of ex-president as their reason. The actual reason is that they wanted to sabotage the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution through parliament. It is not just or reasonable to obstruct a bill of national importance.