Diana under immigration radar for overstaying visa since 2014


Colombo, May 10 (Daily Mirror) -  In the wake of UK citizenship holding Diana Gamage losing her parliamentary seat following a ruling by the Supreme Court, the immigration authorities are planning to consult the Attorney General to inquire into how she lived in Sri Lanka without a valid visa since she last arrived in the country on a tourist visa since around 2014, an official said.

She lost her parliamentary seat on the grounds that she is a UK citizen. The Supreme Court observed that the evidence before the Court establishes that Diana Gamage ceased to be a citizen of Sri Lanka upon acquiring British citizenship and failed to resume the status of citizen of Sri Lanka according to law. She is thereby disqualified to be an MP by the Constitution.

With the ruling, the question arises of how she, as a non-Sri Lankan, has lived in the country without any valid document. Earlier, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed court that she had been living in the country using a forged document in violation of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act.

Asked for a comment whether the immigration authorities will look into this, Public Security Ministry Secretary Viyani Gunatilake said, “we have sought instructions from the Attorney General."

Previously, actress-turned-politician Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her parliamentary seat over her dual citizenship in Sri Lanka and Switzerland. When the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was incorporated, dual citizens were barred from contesting elections to be elected President or MPs. Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to renounce his US citizenship to contest the 2019 presidential elections. However, in the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the constitution under his government, this provision was revoked enabling dual citizens to get back to Parliament. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa was nominated to the House despite being a citizen of both Sri Lanka and the US under the new law only. However, it was again removed in the enactment of the next constitutional amendment.

Election Commission’s Chairman R.M.A.L. Ratnayake said it is impossible to check the foreign or dual citizenship status of candidates when they submit nominations to contest elections.



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