ECONOMYNEXT – President Maithripala Sirisena’s loyalists have identifid three men who have the potential to split the national unity government with their conduct over the Avant Garde armns scandal.
None of them have been proved guilty, but lawmakers and politicians both inside and outside parliament have accused them of wrong doing.
Tilak Janaka Marapana: Appointed to parliament as a national list MP from the UNP. Currently the minister of Law and Order and Prison Reforms. One of the few to appointed on the national list for a second time. Was defence minister in the unsuccessful UNP government of December 2001. Sacked by President Chandrika Kumaratunga for inefficiency and ineffectiveness in November 2003. Arguably, one of the key people responsible for the eventual downfall of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government at the April 2004 elections. Lawyer for Avant Garde.
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe: Member of parliament from Colombo district. Currently Minister of Justice and Buddhist Affairs. Is a cross over artiste having been in both the SLFP and the UNP. Was the head of the Press Council and ruled in 1999 that lesbianism equals sadism. In a 1999 decision, Rajapakshe said: “Lesbianism itself is an act of sadism and salacious.” (See full report here: http://www.island.lk/2000/06/03/islnews.html #Sherman de Rose’s complaint against The Island dismissed) Rajapakse is now a government envoy to the UN Human Rights Council in addition to being Justice Minister!
Vajira Abeywardena: UNP district leader for Galle. Current Minister of Home affairs. Close friends with several judges, including Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena who granted bail to former president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga and ex-TRC chief Anusha Palpita who were accused of misappropriating LKR 600 million. Abeywardena is regarded by many as a fixer. Parliamentary colleagues say his election campaign was hugely funded by questionable businesses interests. Many question his loyalty to the UNP.