Civil society petition against businessmen politicians | Sunday Observer

Civil society petition against businessmen politicians

A group of civil society activists, academics, professionals and artistes filed a petition before the Supreme Court this week against the practice of elected politicians illegitimately engaging in the purchase of public property and assets, conducting business with the state, and unlawfully acquiring government permits and licences granting them opportunities of high business value.

Petitioners led by veteran journalist Victor Ivan state, these illegal practices have corrupted the State in its entirety diminishing State revenue, destroying the entire ecological and environmental system and pushed the country to a state of bankruptcy. The petitioners aver it has resulted in the country depending on foreign loans and dissuaded the in-flow of foreign investments that are essential for national development while increasing the tax burden on the people.

The petition signed by 62 signatories also noted other practices that politicians continue to engage in such as, getting government tenders awarded to themselves in contravention of State procurement procedures and illegally obtaining government approval for state funds to finance their own pet projects.

“It distorted the nature and orientation of people’s representatives to make Sri Lanka, a backward and retrogressive country in terms of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental criteria acknowledged by the international community thereby creating a fertile ambience for intense and continuous violation of fundamental rights of the citizens of Sri Lanka” the petition read.

It also noted that those who are elected by the people for the governance of the country should not engage in business transactions with the State and it is a basic and inviolable principle acknowledged and adopted by the entire democratic world. The petitioners alleged that the rulers of the country including MPs have caused a massive revenue loss to the State by way of misappropriating public property and assets.

The petition was submitted to the Supreme Court as a public complaint instead of public interest litigation. Through the petition, the petitioners plead to Court to initiate a judicial inquiry into this matter and issue a directive to the Elections Commission to make it mandatory for candidates to submit an affidavit confirming that they are not engaged in business transactions with the State, including several others.