The newly prepared Code of Conduct for MPs allows Parliament to request the police to conduct an inquiry on any MP found to have engaged in breaching criminal law.
Paragraph 52 of the code of conduct states that, if the Committee on Ethics and Privileges finds any evidence to the effect that any breach relating to criminal law is present, it shall forthwith refer such matters to the Police or any other Institution having jurisdiction to inquire into such matters.
After the investigation and inquiry into such matters, the Committee on Ethics and Privileges shall report its findings or recommendations to the House for further proceedings in accordance with its rules.
Where it has been found that a Member has indulged in any unethical behavior or that there is other misconduct in respect of any Member or that any Member has breached any provision of the Code of Conduct, the Committee on Ethics and Privileges may recommend to the House to censure, reprimand suspend from Parliament for a period as may be specified by the Committee on Ethics and Privileges. However, such period shall not exceed the limits as set out in the Parliamentary (Powers and Privileges) Act, No.5 of 1978; and any other sanction the Supreme Court may prescribe on a matter that has been referred to the Supreme Court by Parliament under the aforesaid Act.
As the code of conduct a register called the “Register of Members’ Interests” (hereinafter referred to as the“Register”) shall be kept and maintained by the Secretary‐General in such form and manner as may be determined by the Committee on Ethics and Privileges which shall be available for inspection by any Member on request made in that behalf to the Secretary‐General. The provisions of the Right to Information Act No.12 of 2016 shall apply to publication of any information contained in the Register.
The members shall disclose information relating to their business relationships and financial interests including information of close family members in order to increase the public trust in Members. This information will be recorded in the register.
Every Member shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the Parliament in respect of registration of any interest in the Register. Every Member shall immediately after a general election, disclose to the Parliament all relevant interests that a reasonable person might think could give rise to the perception of influencing behavior between duties and responsibilities and the personal interests of such Member such as assets relating to land and property, shareholdings and gifts. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to any items received or donated by such Member.
No Member shall vote in division on a question relating to a matter other than public policy in which he has a financial interest according to the code
Where any Member has any personal or pecuniary interest whether directly or indirectly relating to any matter under consideration by Parliament or any Committee thereof, such Member shall declare the nature of such interest notwithstanding the fact that such Member has registered such interest in the Register and shall not participate in any debate taking place in the House or in any Committee unless he has made such declaration as required. (Yohan Perera)