Ninety MPs’ vehicles sold, SC told- Petition against CIABO

Ninety MPs’ vehicles sold, SC told- Petition against CIABO

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By Shamindra Ferdinando-
All data pertaining to 90 sitting members of parliament transferring the ownership of vehicles imported by them in accordance with a specially implemented tax free car permit scheme have been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court.
Attorney-at-law and public interest litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku yesterday filed the material relevant to his Dec 2016 petition against the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). The SC has been moved over the CIABOC’s failure to take tangible measures against those who had transferred vehicles.
Fresh information obtained from the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic in accordance with the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed the identities of members of all political parties, excluding the JVP, who had transferred vehicles.
Members had received tax exceptions to the tune of over Rs 30 mn with one Vanni District MP receiving nearly Rs 45 mn tax exemption.
Parliament unanimously adopted RTI Bill on June 24, last year.
Kodituwakku, who holds Sri Lankan and British citizenship has asserted that the abuse of the MPs’ office for ‘unjust enrichment’ tantamount to a punishable offense under Section 70 of the CIABOC Act.
According to documents filed in SC among those who had transferred their vehicles were members of the Joint Opposition (JO) loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Kodituwakku moved SC in Dec 2016 after the CIABOC declined to act on a complaint made in August 2016 in respect of MPs transferring their vehicles. The CIABOC has declined to initiate action on the basis that the scheme was implemented in line with state policy.
The petitioner has requested the SC to take into consideration that two judges of Supreme Court had earlier indicated their decision not to hear cases initiated by him before the SC when appointing a Bench in respect of the ongoing case.
Information furnished before the SC revealed that MPs had continued to transfer vehicles even after the matter was taken up in SC.
The SC has been told the scheme caused revenue losses amounting to Rs 7 bn in respect of those who had received permits following the Aug 2015 parliamentary polls.
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