The release of information on the phone calls of COPE Members by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Central Bank bond scam was a breach of privilege of the MPs, Several UNP MPs said.
UNP MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe told a media briefing Saturday that privileges of MPs had been breached by the divulgence of details pertaining to COPE Members’ telephone conversation to media during the sessions of Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bond scandal.
Professor Marasinghe said a group of UNP MPs, who met the Speaker yesterday drew the latter’s attention on the breach of privileges of MPs.
“As a country which hails democracy, we are of the view that telephone conservations of the MPs should not be tapped or publicised in such manner as it was a breach of their privileges. The Speaker also agreed to look into the breach of privileges,” he said.
“We could witness as to how the telephone conversations were tapped during the tenure of the former regime. There are accepted telecommunication norms. Telephone or computer data can only be obtained through a Court Order. However, such information should not be exposed to the media until that judicial process is completed.
“Even if a court order is issued, the data pertaining to a telephone conservation of an MP can only be obtained with the permission of the Speaker,” he said.
While stating that privileges of all 225 Parliamentarians should be safeguarded, he said there should be a proper understanding on as to how Parliaments of other countries act in similar situations.
“Both the media freedom and privileges of MPs should be safeguarded. If the information is gathered by tapping telephone conversations, it would have a serious impact on the country’s democratic process,” he also said.
UNP Kurunegala District MP J. C. Alawathuwala said COPE took measures to investigate on the Treasury Bond scam and it was decided later to refer the report to the Attorney General.
“All the Government and the Opposition MPs extended their support to conduct this investigation. Earlier, there was no occasion ever that a COPE Report was referred to the Attorney General. Therefore, the Government has acted in a more transparent manner. The Government set up series of new Committees,” he said
UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman said the Prime Minister would voluntarily go before the Bond Commission today to give evidence.
“After this Treasury Bond incident, an Opposition MP was appointed to the COPE.
“During the former Government, all those appointed to the Committees were Government MPs. When MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was the COPE Chairman, then Government prorogued the Parliament and appointed D.E.W. Gunasekara as the COPE Chairman,” he recalled.
“Allegations have been levelled against a few MPs in the COPE that they had telephone conversations with Arjun Aloysius. If these allegations are true, then the Government should attempt to defend them. But all MPs in the COPE endorsed that report and referred it to the Attorney General,” he added.
Recalling the previous regime he said that the Police was scared to even to arrest a Pradeshiya Sabha member.
“Therefore, the credit should be given to the incumbent Government for creating this new political culture in the country. Whether it is right or wrong, today media has the freedom to openly discuss and report it,” he said. (Yohan Perera)
ceylon Sunday, 19 November 2017 09:35 PM
this government is democratic.but dont know how to protect democracy from opponents.opponents destroy democracy using democracy. via DM Android App
Meerkat Monday, 20 November 2017 09:03 AM
Democracy where the government appoints the opposition. My Foot.
nick Monday, 20 November 2017 08:11 AM
privilege so stealing public money is a privilege via DM Android App
dulan Monday, 20 November 2017 08:17 AM
Why should only MP's have such privileges? Are they not ashamed to publicly defend the indefensible
cheers Monday, 20 November 2017 08:27 AM
UNP'rs are the biggest thieves in the country dating back from 1977 - 1994, the 2001 and now.
Sincere Monday, 20 November 2017 11:30 AM
I cannot disagree with what you say, but you have to correct the period you have mentioned. IN 1977 we saw UNP politicians who had to sacrifice their own wealth for politics.
DJ Monday, 20 November 2017 08:34 AM
Stop behaving like little children. Priviledges are not given to rob the country
sam silva Monday, 20 November 2017 08:35 AM
To start with, no telephone conversations have been monitored. The CID has obtained the telephone call history from mobile phone providers. ONly the numbers dialled, calls received is presented. Not any voice recordings of conversations.Prof Marasinghe is only trying to hide the BOND crime with a priviledge issue. The bigger priviledge issue is the public been duped by the MPs conducting an investigation on the Bond issue, conniving wiith the accused Perpetual Treasuries, during the COPE investigation, as evidenced by the phone records. Those MPs who have been proven to be dishonest by the revelations should be taken to court.
Sharon Monday, 20 November 2017 08:41 AM
How did they forget that with regard to Thajudeen's case 'so called phone calls'
Haramanis Monday, 20 November 2017 08:56 AM
Privilege to Rob????
Vernon Monday, 20 November 2017 08:58 AM
What had been happening clearly shows that there should not be any thing called MPs privileges. Now what is wrong for them is breach of privileges, and not answering and admitting the scandalous situation of having so many calls. The good for nothing MPs now consider doing the wrong thing is the right thing, just like our 3 wheeler drivers.
Huna Monday, 20 November 2017 09:04 AM
Nice drama !!!
Burnt Monday, 20 November 2017 09:05 AM
what privileges for Pal Horu? The leadership of UNP comes from colonial era families who robbed the common citizen siding with Portuguese and British. Corruption still runs in these families.
Unchikun Monday, 20 November 2017 09:18 AM
What about the breach of trust of the votes?
Citizen Perera Monday, 20 November 2017 09:26 AM
MPs are the servant of people...They should serve the people but not themselves..... We know very well that majority of politicians in this island are untrustworthy people..
Sincere Monday, 20 November 2017 11:28 AM
My foot! If they are servants of people, do you think the PM will go before the Bond Commission today?
r nadraj Monday, 20 November 2017 09:42 AM
MPs are elected by the people. People have the right to know what they are doing. If you are friends you should not have been in the committee - conflict of interest. Very bad
Monday, 20 November 2017 10:08 AM
Don't let peoples 'privileges' robed.
Asanka Monday, 20 November 2017 10:11 AM
Haha so funny...what about people, don't we have right to know the truth, well done all members of the COPE for letting us know the details. otherwise, this info will disappear like most of the FCID cases.
sagala Monday, 20 November 2017 10:37 AM
Right for information.... shut up and wait..........
Sincere Monday, 20 November 2017 11:27 AM
To whom can we complain when our privileges are breached due to never ending fuel shortages. At least UNP has someone to complain when the rights of their Parliamentarians are breached.
ceylon Monday, 20 November 2017 11:26 AM
call records came so soon.thajudeen murder case still c-i-dinstructed by sirisenaranil sagala struggling for to get any call reords.impeach sirisena and ranil for obstruction of justice. via DM Android App
Mason Monday, 20 November 2017 05:43 PM
The breach of privilege clause should not be used as defence for trying to protect a person involved in defrauding the State, which is what Aloysius and Mahendran have done. The Parliamentarians want their association with these persons not to be divulged.A No confidence motion must be brought against these MPs and they be expelled from Parliament.
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