Controversially impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who is to appear before the Commission to investigate into allegations of bribery or corruption today has turned down a request from a Commission official to come in through the backdoor instead of using the main entrance.
The Daily Mirror learnt that Justice Dr. Bandaranayake was contacted by a Sub-Inspector attached to the Bribery Commission who asked her to enter the Commission premises from a rear entrance on Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo 7.
In reply, Justice Dr. Bandaranayake courteously responded that she would use the main entrance in complying with the notice she had received from the Commission claiming that she did not know of any rear entrance to the Bribery Commission and she would enter from the main entrance that she was familiar with.
According to a report it is unlikely that Justice Bandaranayake would make any statement before the Commission as she had no idea as to what allegation she had to face before the Commission.
The Bribery Commission had not mentioned any allegation or charge against Dr. Bandaranayake who was controversially impeached by a government member Parliamentary Select Committee; hence she was not going to make any statement as she had not prepared for any such event, it is learnt.
Legal sources close to Justice Bandaranayake revealed there was hardly any allegation that could be framed against her with regard to bribery or corruption as she had not been involved in any such incidents while she was heading the country’s judiciary.
A legal expert told the Daily Mirror that usually when the Bribery Commission is to record a statement from a VIP or a person in the stature of a Supreme Court judge or a Chief Justice the practice was to go to her residence but such a practice was not being followed in this instance.
“Nowadays such courtesies cannot be expected from the Bribery Commission,” he said.
On March 13, the Bribery Commission asked Justice Dr. Bandaranayake to appear before the Commission. Earlier the head of the Bribery Commission Jagath Balapatabendi had stated that a probe had been initiated against Dr. Bandaranayake.
According to Justice Balapatabendi, former Supreme Court Judge the charges against Dr. Bandaranayake were not declaring in the annual declaration of assets and liabilities that should be submitted by a judicial officer the details of more than twenty bank accounts maintained in various banks including nine accounts in the National Development Bank (NDB).
The Commission Chairman Justice Balapatabendi who is also a former Supreme Court Judge had told media last January that the Commission had received a complaint against Dr. Bandaranayake, then serving Chief Justice, about accumulation of assets. The complainant against Dr. Bandaranayake had not been revealed.
However a number of independent organisations comprising lawyers and civil rights groups had condemned the move to frame Dr. Bandaranayake with bribery charges, claiming it was a ‘witch hunt on those who did not submit to the dictates of the government’.
Dr. Bandaranayake’s husband, former chairman of NSB, Pradeep Kariyawasam, who also faces corruption charges was released on bail on February 28
He faces charges before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court for causing a monetary loss to the Government to the tune of over Rs. 391 million through the unlawful purchase of shares of The Finance Company (Susitha R. Fernando)