Picture courtesy AsiaMirror
A group of concerned civil society members have called for the removal of Cabinet Minister Thilak Marapana from his portfolio of of Law and Order, Prison Reforms due to his connection with the controversial company Avant Garde in his capacity as legal adviser to Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi. Below is the letter addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena as well as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, reproduced in full:
2015 November 06
Hon. Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office
Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha
e-mail – [email protected]
Copy for information & necessary action
HE the President
e-mail – [email protected]
Dear Mr.Prime Minister,
Appeal for immediate removal of Cabinet Minister Thilak Marapana
from portfolio appointed to
We note with much dismay and disgust that President’s Counsel Thilak J Marapana who was legal advisor to Nissanka Senadhipathi, Chairman of Avant Garde the company embroiled in controversy over the floating armoury and heavily loaded with allegations on illegal weapons deals, violation of law on explosives and firearms, on money laundering and bribery is a cabinet minister in your government as a member of your political party brought to parliament on the National List.
With the January 08 presidential elections that defeated President Rajapaksa labelled and stamped as “dictatorial, nepotistic and corrupt” in your election manifesto and then the defeat of Rajapaksa leadership in August elections, there is no ethical or moral right for you and your government that was voted in with the promise of a “New Country in 60 Months” on a 05 point programme to include a person who accepts he was legal advisor to Chairman of Avant Garde, Nissanka Senadhipathi as an important minister in the cabinet of ministers.
Senadhipathi is a businessman accused of serious crimes and corruption and known to have been very closely associated with the Rajapaksa regime. In fact a report attributed to an Additional Solicitor General Vasantha Navaratne Bandara infers charges can be filed against 05 persons including Nissanka Senadhipathi and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for 01.Unauthorized Importation of Fire Arms to Sri Lanka under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Fire Arms Ordinance 02. Possession of Fire Arms and ammunition without valid licenses under the Fire Arms Ordinance and Explosives Act and then 03. Conspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit the above offences.
Although the AG opted to decide otherwise, President Sirisena was compelled to re start investigations on Avant Garde through PRECIFAC under heavy pressure from many quarters.
It cannot be out of ignorance that Marapana was brought to parliament through the national list and made the minister of Law and Order and Prison Reforms. In such context, Minister Marapana’s own admission he was legal advisor to Senadhipathi after the January 08 “change” for Yahapalanaya and the strong defence made in parliament as a cabinet minister on 04 November (2015) on behalf of Senadhipathi then as his client makes your government culpable in all crimes, violations of law and corruption the Avant Garde and its Chairman Senadhipathi is accused of. Accused in parliament itself by many MPs including a deputy minister of your government as well, who said there are many in your government including ministers who were well treated by Senadhipathi. We therefore hold you and this government wholly responsible in breaching the trust of the people and the promise for a cleaner and a saner government for which the people voted your party and its allies to power.
In an effort therefore to at least arrest this slide back to a typical Rajapaksa era, we demand that you immediately remove Mr. Thilak Marapana from his ministerial post and all other responsibilities he may hold in your government.
Attorney at law Neville Ananda
Attorney at Law Sujeewa Dahanayake
Social activist Muditha Karunamuni
Journalist Kusal Perera
Trade union leader Anton Marcus
Attorney at law Srinath Perera
Attorney at law Neville Ananda – 0777876811
Attorney at Law Sujeewa Dahanayake – 0777324062