Sep 11, 2019

Legal argument of MPs who failed to declare assets Featured

The Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has filed a complaint with the Bribery Commission yesterday (10) against eight Cabinet ministers for failing to declare their assets and liabilities to the Presidential Secretariat for 2018/19.

The eight Ministers are Sajith Premadasa, Ravi Karunanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Navin Dissanayake, Harin Fernando, Mano Ganesan, M.H.A. Haleem and Gayantha Karunathilaka, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeysekara said.

Although all Cabinet Ministers are required to hand over their asset declarations to the Presidential Secretariat, until August 20, 2019 these eight ministers had not handed over their asset declarations.

In a statement, the TISL said the complaint was made based on information obtained through the Right to Information Act.

Accordingly, the Presidential Secretariat’s response to an RTI application filed by TISL on 28 August 2019 revealed that eight Cabinet ministers had not submitted their asset declaration as at 20 August 2019,

Legal status Initial asset declaration

“Cabinet ministers are required to submit their declarations to the Presidential Secretariat under section 4 (a)(ii) of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law,” TISL stated.

Annual asset declaration

The provisions of declaring their assets annually is included in the 1988 No. 74 revision of the 1975 No. 1 Declaration of Assets Act, paragraph 3(3).

Stand of the offenders

The stand of those who failed to submit their asset declarations is that the new cabinet was sworn in December 2018 and accordingly, the current ministers should hand over their asset declarations to the Preside t within three months.

Hence, as they had handed over their asset declarations after being appointed as ministers, there was no requirement to declare their assets again in 2019.

However, TISL had called for their asset declarations for 2018/2019.

Minister Haleem’s situation

As Minister Haleem had resigned from his post prior to June 30th after the April 21st terror attacks, legal implications against him are quite different.

Therefore, as these ministers had been sworn in December 2018 and had declared their assets prior to March 31, 2019 within a period of six months, they are not legally required to declare their assets again prior to June 30th 2019, this group pointed out.

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