Senior lawyers Gomin Dayasri and Chandrapala Kumarage said the existent laws relating to this needed to be amended immediately.
Their criticisms follow the Rs. 1,000 fine imposed on ex-MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena yesterday (08).
The lawyers accused political parties of not moving to change the laws, as they wanted to ‘protect their class.’
Declaration of assets is essential to prevent amassing wealth through illegal means
No government coming to power with a promise to eliminate fraud, corruption amends the laws, said Kumarage, adding the fine for failing to declare assets and liabilities should be in line with the value of the undeclared assets.
Agreeing with him, Dayasri said public trust in politicians has gone completely, and they were considered a privileged and corrupt lot.
Public trust in politicians has gone completely
To prevent them from amassing wealth through bribes and other illegal means, declaration of their assets is essential.
Average people can be sent to prison for not declaring their assets and for tax evasions, but politicians escape by paying a Rs. 1,000 fine, as both the government and the opposition were covering up such wrongdoing, he said.
Kumarage said the recently cabinet-approved increase of the fine to Rs. 100,000 was wholly inadequate, adding that the fine should begin at that sum but should increase up to Rs. five million or more, plus a mandatory long-term prison term.
Former minister Sarana Gunawardena and ex-MP Duminda Silva too, escaped with fines of Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000 previously after pleading guilty to the same charge.
Kumarage noted that this would be the same fine even in a failure to declare assets in the Central Bank bond scam case too.