Back in Parliament Mujibur slams President and Govt. for shielding Diana despite citizenship concerns

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 00:10 –      – 161

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  • Alleges President and Govt. used Gamage to undermine SJB and target Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa
  • Accuses Speaker of inaction regarding Gamage’s citizenship issue despite being informed of it
  • Calls for investigation into Immigration and Emigration Controller General and other officials involved in issuing diplomatic passport to Gamage
  • Reveals CID investigator CI Sugath Amarasinghe was transferred to impede investigations into case against Gamage

In his first address on returning to Parliament, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mujibur Rahman yesterday slammed President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government for shielding former State Minister Diana Gamage to preserve her Parliamentary position, despite being aware of her non-Sri Lankan citizenship.

Rahman claimed the SJB was unaware of her citizenship status, as she had misled them when being appointed as a national list MP from the party. However, he noted that once the SJB became aware of the situation, the party’s General Secretary initiated legal action to remove her.

As a result of these efforts, the Supreme Court last week ruled that Gamage is not qualified legally to hold a Parliamentary seat in Sri Lanka due to her UK citizenship.

“As a party, we attempted to rectify the error. However, when we sought to address the mistake, the President and the Government instead protected her,” he said.

However, Rahman accused the President and the Government of exploiting her to denigrate the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa regularly and to plot against the SJB. “The President and the Government manipulated her like a puppet. However, just as Pilate did, you have now absolved yourselves of responsibility, leaving her with no support,” he remarked.

The MP recalled that in November 2022, he submitted a letter from the former Controller General of the Immigration and Emigration Department to the Secretary of Defense. He said the letter stated that the diplomatic passport request made by the Secretary General of Parliament on behalf of Gamage could not be granted as she is not a Sri Lankan citizen.

Rahman accused Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena as well, saying, “I presented this matter in Parliament, and when asked if he was aware of a non-Sri Lankan being in Parliament, he said he would investigate. However, he failed to address it for over one and a half years.”

The MP also highlighted that when the question was posed to the President in Parliament, he retorted by asking if it was wrong to grant a ‘Red Passport’ (Diplomatic Passport) to the person who facilitated the formation of the party for the MPs in the SJB.

The MP suggested that Gamage was provided with all privileges, including a State Minister position and a diplomatic passport, by the President and the Government to undermine the SJB. “The Government bears responsibility for this. The former Secretary General of Parliament was well aware that a non-Sri Lankan was seated in Parliament,” he remarked.

The MP disclosed that, during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure as Prime Minister, CID investigator Chief Inspector Sugath Amarasinghe was transferred to the Kalutara Police Training Academy in an apparent attempt to impede investigations into the case against Gamage for alleged document forgery.

Rahman also accused the current Controller General of the Immigration and Emigration Department of issuing a diplomatic passport to Gamage in September 2022. “How was this issued? Either it was issued for financial gain or under political coercion. Harsha Ilukpitiya should be interdicted and investigated,” Rahman asserted. “Not only Diana, but those who assisted her must also face consequences,” he emphasised.

The MP also criticised the Attorney General’s Department, a Government institution funded by taxpayers, for representing Gamage in the case against her.