Prime Minister promises ‘action’ after probe reports on phone tapes

Mahinda Rajapaksa - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Action will be taken concerning the controversial call recordings made by MP and cinema personality Ranjan Ramanayaka once the 10 investigation teams inquiring into the matter reveal their findings, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

Addressing the heads of major television and radio channels at Temple Trees yesterday morning, Prime Minister Rajapaksa also expressed his confidence that the Chief Justice would take action against those judges found to have been irregularly connected with the Ramanayaka phone recording controversy. The Premier stressed that it was the responsibility of the Chief Justice “to ensure the impartiality and the honour of the judiciary system in the country”.

The Prime Minister argued that the call recording controversy should not be taken lightly or as an isolated incident concerning solely Ranjan Ramanayake.

He said that the recordings indicated connections with numerous incidents and all these should be closely investigated.

“Ten investigation teams are presently inquiring into this controversy. These voice recordings have compelled much questioning concerning the Yahapalana government’s actions,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa pointed out. He also said that there have been some voice recordings that raised “serious issues concerning the judicial system”. Replying a journalist’s question, the PM observed that it was “a grave situation where both the former Prime Minister and the former President seem to have involvements in these matters as indicated by the voice recordings.

“We need to wait for the outcome of the investigations to arrive at a decision. We atill don’t know how many judges are there involved in this matter. I assume that there are some good hundred thousand or more voice tapes that need to be investigated. We have presently deployed several police teams for this task.” PM Rajapaksa explained.

Asked about a complaint made by Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage concerning one voice recording, Minister Aluthgamage, who was present at the meeting, said that he filed the complaint against former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and also MP Ranjan Ramanayake regarding a conversation between the former Prime Minister, the Attorney General, MP Ajith P. Perera and Ranjan Ramanayake. Aluthgamage said the voice recording was provided by Wijedasa Rajapaksa and included information on the said persons apparently giving the responsibility to Ramanayake to carry out a major conspiracy to destroy the then President and the Opposition at the time.

“So don’t look at this as an isolated work of Ranjan Ramanayake. Now the investigators are ready to match the former Prime Minister’s voice to the voice in the call recordings,” Aluthgamage pointed out.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa added: “I believe the Chief Justice needs to take action against the judges who are involved this matter. The public questions me, asking how many judges have been approached like this. Such suspicions have spread all over the country now.

We saw a video where a judge was being directly approached at his residence. We must restore the accountability and the honour of judicial system. Or else we won’t be able to carry this country forward. It is our responsibility to restore the respect and the honour of country’s judiciary.”

Education and Information Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena, who was also present, said that an ‘executive council’ comprising former President Chandrika Bandaranaike, and several other Ministers of the government at the time, had been appointed to oversee the activities of the government after the UNF government came into power in 2015.

“Those who were involved in the 100 day government, show hesitation in speaking about this executive council,” he said.

(Source: Daily News – By Chameera Elladeniya)