Action against COPE MPs caught talking to Aloysius Speaker to meet party leaders this week

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By 2017-11-19

BY RAVI LADDUWAHETTY

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet leaders of political parties next week in relation to taking a decision on COPE members who are alleged to have had telephone conversations with Perpetual Treasuries Chairman Arjun Aloysius, over the Bonds scam.

"I will definitely have to take action against these MPs, but I have to meet the Party leaders prior to that and discuss the matter with them before deciding on anything," Speaker Jayasuriya briefly told Ceylon Today late Friday night.

This follows Joint Opposition Member C.B. Ratnayake urging Speaker Jayasuriya in Parliament on Friday, as reported in Ceylon Today lead story yesterday, to investigate the five COPE members who have allegedly had conversations with Aloysius as revealed through CID investigations.

Meanwhile, COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti told Ceylon Today, what was important was not the number of calls between the MPs and Aloysius, but the contents. He said, it was up to the Speaker to reveal the contents of the conversations to the House. "It is true that these Members of Parliament have been nominated by these Parties, but it is up to the Speaker to decide whether these MPs should remain in COPE and it is also up to him to safeguard the respect and honour of Parliament."

If the Party leaders have nominated these MPs it is up to them to take action if they have acted in a manner detrimental to their responsibilities and it is also up to the Speaker to maintain the decorum and the respect of Parliament," he added.

MEP and JO Leader and Colombo District MP Dinesh Gunawardena said: "There is no tangible reason for the Speaker to summon Party leaders. The Speaker is evading the issues each time there are issues against......the Members of Parliament and also the Committees of Parliament.

"This is a time that action is needed against errant Members of Parliament and action has to come from the Chair.

"I have told Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that the public confidence is eroding under his Speakership.

"What is the use of the Speaker consulting the Party Leaders when all the Party Leaders, with the exception of the JO, which is me, are in the Government? he queried.

"I have given him tight on Friday in the Chamber that the way that he is running the affairs of Parliament, has brought the entire Parliamentary Democracy down," he stressed.

This is a very serious issue and any other Parliament, investigations would have commenced by now and action would have been taken, he said Government Spokesman and Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunatilleke said that there was a Group of UNP Members who were scheduled to meet Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

UNP Spokesman and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the Party had not spoken on any of those matters, but was waiting for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to make a statement to the Bond Commission tomorrow (20). UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera and SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake were not available for comment as, we were told, they were at meetings.

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