Arrangements have been made to hear 20 court cases dealing with corruption on a daily basis with a view of expediting the process of penalising wrongdoers, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.
The Prime Minister revealed this while speaking at the UNP Bala Mandala meeting in Maharagama yesterday evening. “Some are questioning us about the pledge the government gave during the last election to eradicate Corruption and to penalize those who have robbed public funds. I have already discussed this issue with the attorney general and a decision has been made to expedite the hearing of 20 court cases," the Prime Minister said.
However, Mr. Wickremesinghe pointed out that the court cases would be conducted within the existing judicial system. This he said is because one cannot go out of the existing legal framework to punish those who are facing corruption charges.
‘One of the changes we have brought about is with regard to conducting probes on allegations that are brought against members of the government itself. We have got ministers who are facing such allegations to resign from their posts. This is one change this government has made. Another change is media freedom. The media is now free to criticize the actions of the government. Media personnel either disappeared or were killed during the last regime if they criticized the government. We have also introduced an insurance scheme for school children and increased the allocation of funds for the education sector," he added.
He also re-iterated that the government has been able to be validated and get the assistance of world leaders to develop the country. “The Malaysian Prime Minister is here on an official visit and the Singaporean Prime Minister will also be visiting the country next month.
“Some have question us on the slowness they see when it comes to development work in the country. We are moving slowly in order to safeguard the changes we have brought about. We can move faster but then we run the risk of losing what we have achieved so far," he explained. The Prime Minister also pledged to arrest the debt crisis that presently exists in the country.
Minister of Megapolis Patali Champika Ranawaka who also addressed those present said the joint opposition including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and MP Dinesh Gunawardene actually wants the UNP to win the local government election. He said this government is not engaged in forceful development which is done by grabbing public lands.
Minister Harin Fernando, who was also present, said the UNP would have swept the local government election if it was held on schedule in 2015. However, he said the policy of this government was to ensure that a new electoral system was put in place and to see that women receive adequate representation in local bodies. “My prediction is that the UNP will become even more powerful and would even have the chance to form a government on its own after it emerges victorious at the upcoming local government polls," he said.(Yohan Perera)