Earlier this year, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) filed an intervention petition in the Supreme Court, seeking permission to intervene in Case No. SC/FR 168/2021, which was filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice seeking fair compensation for the victims of the XPress Pearl disaster. The Attorney General strongly objected to the intervention.
Today (6th October) the Supreme Court delivered its order, allowing TISL's application for intervention, considering the totality of the circumstances of the case, and the submissions made.
Senior Counsel Mr. Senany Dayaratne appeared for TISL, with Attorneys-at-Law Ms. Lasanthika Hettiarachchi, Ms. Sankhitha Gunaratne, Ms. Nishadi Wickramasinghe and Mr. Thiru Amirthalingam, instructed by Attorney-at-Law Thushari Jayawardena.
ASG Mr. Nerin Pulle, PC, with DSG Ms. Nayomi Kahawita appeared for the Attorney General.
Several key points have been raised in the intervention petition:
– The grave allegations of interference and extraneous pressure surrounding the claim for compensation arising from the X-Press Pearl disaster.
–The statement by the Justice Minister in Parliament on April 25, 2023, that one Chamara Gunasekara alias Manjusiri Nissanka had received a payment of USD 250 million into a private bank account in connection with the X-Press Pearl disaster.
-The media statements of Chinthaka Waragoda, who reportedly invented a machine to remove debris which washed ashore after the shipwreck, alleging that he was offered payment to discontinue the use of his machine, to avoid exposing the full extent of the damage caused by the disaster
– Questions surrounding the quantum of compensation due to Sri Lanka for the damages caused by MV X-Press Pearl.