Coming up with more staggering disclosures on the ill-fated X-PRESS Peral ship, Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe told Parliament today that Chamara Gunasekera who had received US$ 250 million to delay the prosecution is a close associate of MP Nalaka Godahewa who was the minister in charge of Ports during that time.
“Chamara Gunasekera is a fake name, the real name of this person is Manjusiri Nissanka and is an associate of MP Godahewa,” the Minister said.
MP Ajith Mannaperuma who is the chairman of the relevant consultative committee informed me that some officers attached to the Attorney General’s Department had demanded US$250 million as a bribe to prevent Sri Lanka from securing damages for the tragedy. However the MP has asked for a copy of the case. Asking for a document after accusing the Attorny General’s department is also an issue. The lawyers retained by the accused are going everywhere in Sri Lanka to collect information on the case. They were present at the consultative committee meeting and therefore I prevented those who were present from raising questions on the case,” he added.
The Minister who justified the decision to file a case in Singapore said it was done as the operating company of the ship is being registered in Singapore while the charter party company is also registered in the same country. “The hearing date was fixed for next month. The Singaporean Courts have advanced the date and hearing was held yesterday. This comes as a result of the coverage given to the issue by the local media.,” he said.
The Minister claimed that the debate on XPRESS Peral fixed for today is against the standing orders. “House cannot debate on a matter on which a court case is pending. Debating on this might have a negative effect on the case which is pending. Therefore I would like to request the party leaders to rethink having the debate today,” he stressed.
Opposition MP Kumarasiri Ratnayake who responded to Minister Rajapakshe said MP Godahewa has been drawn to the issue in an unfair manner. “We cannot understand why MP Godahewa is dragged into the issue as he is innocent,” he said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriweardana)
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