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Parliament to convene on Jan. 05th after tomorrow

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The Committee on Parliamentary Business has decided today (12) that following the sitting of Parliament to be held tomorrow (13), Parliament will meet again on January 05, the Secretary General of Parliament Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake said.

This decision was taken at the Committee on Parliamentary Business met in Parliament today (12) under the patronage of Deputy Speaker – Ajith Rajapakse.

Accordingly, the Parliament is scheduled to meet on Thursday, January 05, 2023 at 9.30 am and the time from 9.30am – 10.30am has been allotted for Questions for Oral Answers.

Subsequently, from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm, it was also decided to hold the second reading debate of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill and the Recovery of Possession of Premises Given on Lease Bill, the Secretary General said.

After that, according to the motion to be moved by government, the debate at the adjournment time, will be held from 5.00 pm – 5.30 pm.

Meanwhile, as previously decided, tomorrow (13) from 9.30 am – 5.30 pm has been reserved for Questions for Oral Answers.

Then, it has been decided to present the motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of Parliament to investigate in to incidents of infringe of privileges of the Members of Parliament and of the Parliament and to make suitable recommendations in that regard will be presented.  The committee has also decided to present the motion to appoint a Select Committee on Parliament to make suitable recommendations over the expansion of higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka.

The selection of youth representatives required for the Sectoral Oversite Committees (SOCs) has also been discussed in the committee. The Secretary General also said that it is expected to prepare a data bank of young representatives who are interested in joining the Sectoral Oversite Committees and who have expertise in each subject area. The secretary general said that the committee also agreed to complete and publish the necessary translations of newspaper advertisements related to the calling of applications from the youth community. He added that after the formation of the Sectoral Oversite Committees, youth representatives are expected to be called from the data bank as needed.

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Investigations launched into alleged Rs. 8 billion fraud in trading community scheme

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have initiated separate investigations into a suspected fraud where a man and his wife are alleged to have defrauded approximately Rs. 8 billion from around 22,000 individuals across the country. 

The fraudulent scheme, reminiscent of a pyramid scheme, involved promises of establishing a trading community and acquiring dollars for the country through the distribution of educational packages.

Complaints received by the CID and the Central Bank indicate that approximately 22,000 people fell victim to this fraud. 

The suspect, who started a business school and a company in the Kurunegala area, claimed that investments would be made in a company in the United Arab Emirates, and the commission received would be distributed to the investors. 

Preliminary investigations have uncovered the use of fake documents to deceive individuals into believing that the business school and the company were registered.

Investors reportedly invested amounts ranging from one to 1.5 million rupees, with some not receiving any benefits. 

Both the CID and the Central Bank are actively pursuing the investigation to apprehend the individuals responsible for the alleged Rs. 8 billion fraud.

Source – dailymirror.lk

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SLPP MP temporarily ordained as monk

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SLPP Kandy District MP – Gunatileke Rajapaksa has been temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk at the historical Isipathanarama Temple in India.

He is now known as Ven. Harispathuwe Dhammarathana Thera.
His son – Sandakelum Rajapaksa, who is an engineer by profession, has also been ordained as Ven. Ampare Dhammaloka Thera.

The MP had reportedly decided to enter into the religious order after the recent death of his wife. He too, was recently hospitalised after falling ill.

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Court delays ruling on Online Safety Act challenge

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The Sri Lankan Supreme Court today indefinitely postponed its decision on whether to hear a fundamental rights petition challenging the Online SafetyAct No. 9 of 2024.

President’s Counsel and Jaffna District Member of Parliament M A Sumanthiran filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on 14th Feb., challenging the Speaker’s certification of the Online Safety Bill as having been enacted into law.

During the hearing, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam presented five preliminary objections, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the Speaker has already signed the bill into law. 

He further emphasized that the legislature holds the sole authority to pass bills, and the court cannot intervene in that process.

Countering these arguments, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando, representing Sumanthiran, asserted that the petition aimed solely at the Speaker’s signing of the Act, which he claimed contravened previous Supreme Court pronouncements on related petitions. 

He emphasized the petitioner’s intention to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardene, Shiran Gunaratne, and Achala Vengappuli, decided to postpone their decision on hearing the petition indefinitely. 

In his Petition, MP Sumanthiran claims that the government was seeking to enact the Bill without fully adhering the Supreme Court Determination, and that he had pointed out that the draft committee stage amendments would not sufficiently rectify the shortcomings, and provided his concerns in writing to the Speaker.

However, the Parliament had voted on the Bill prior to ensuring full compliance with the Determination, according to Sumanthiran.

The Petitioner claims that the Bill could have been passed by simple majority only if all the changes required by the Supreme Court were incorporated. If these were not incorporated, the Bill could only have been enacted if 2/3 of the whole number of MPs voted in favour of the Bill.

MP Sumanthiran states that the Bill was approved only by a simple majority of members present, and that therefore the Bill could not have become law.

Therefore he states that the Speaker, by certifying that the Bill was enacted into law, has violated the public trust and the fundamental rights guaranteed to Sumanthiran and the citizenry.

Sumanthiran also states that according to the Speaker, he had acted in accordance with advise given by the Attorney General, and if so, the Attorney General is also responsible for the violation of fundamental rights occasioned by the purported certification of the Bill.

The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General are named as Respondents to the Application.

(News 1st)

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