Judges debunk Gammanpila’s allegations; demand full investigation | Sunday Observer

Judges debunk Gammanpila’s allegations; demand full investigation

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya is likely to call for an inquiry into allegations made by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament last week, claiming that an official at the US Embassy in Colombo had sought information about ongoing trials against former Rajapaksa era officials while several judges were in Washington DC last month.

On Friday (10), Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya convened a meeting of the judges who attended the seminar on money laundering and the recovery of assets in the US capital, to discuss Gammanpila’s shocking allegations in the Legislature, where he is protected by parliamentary privilege.

During the meeting, Chief Justice Jayasuriya had made inquiries about Gammanpila’s claims, insisting that if such an incident had taken place, it would be tantamount to grave interference with the judiciary, an authoritative source familiar with details of the meeting told the Sunday Observer.

All of the judges who had attended the Washington DC workshop had insisted during the meeting with the Chief Justice, that no such conversation had taken place, the Sunday Observer learns. It was then decided that in light of the seriousness of the allegations the JO Parliamentarian had made, a full inquiry should be held into the veracity of his claims to which judges have agreed in uniformity, the sources added.

According to Gammanpila, the questions about the cases, specifically those relating to the trials involving former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Chief of Staff to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gamini Senarath, had been raised at a dinner hosted for the visiting judges at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC.

It was the view of the Chief Justice that a proper investigation should be held into the allegations to ensure that the independence and dignity of the judiciary, as well as judicial officials who attended the conference in the US remains untainted, the source familiar with the meeting told Sunday Observer.

Expressing their concerns, senior judges said that in the event Gammanpila could not prove his claims, a complaint should be made against the MP who is also a lawyer and member of the Bar. At Friday’s meeting, the judges also urged the Chief Justice to address the issue with the Speaker of Parliament and request him to ascertain the merits of the JO MP’s claim.

Sunday Observer learns that 20 judges from the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Permanent High Court at Bar in Colombo, took part in the seminar in Washington DC which was organised by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In his statement in Parliament, the JO Legislator claimed that the US Embassy Official had made inquiries about Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s trial and told the three judges hearing the case that “we hope an order that will set an example to other Government officials will be delivered”.

In a statement to a local newspaper last week, the US Embassy in Colombo acknowledged that 20 judges had attended the FBI/DoJ seminar, but did not address the allegation made by by MP Gammanpila.