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Police protection for Shani Abeysekara

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The Attorney General today informed Court of Appeal that police protection will be provided to former CID Director Shani Abeysekara, taking into account the existing security threats.

Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appearing for the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses gave this undertaking when the writ petition filed by Shani Abaysekara seeking adequate security to him and his family was taken up before Court of Appeal.

In his writ petition, Shani Abeysekara had sought an order directing the police to provide the security to him and his family in compliance with the directives of the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses.

ASG Abeysuriya informed Court that two armed policemen will be deployed for the security of former CID Director and an additional policeman to be deployed for the security of Shani Abeysekara’s residence.

President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya appearing for the petitioner told court that his client is satisfied with this arrangement. However he said they will file contempt of court papers in the Supreme Court against the respondents if they failed to implement this undertaking that was given to the court.

The petitioner had named National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses, IGP Chandana Wickremaratne, Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon and several others as respondents.

The Petitioner states that evidently the he and his family is exposed to severe security threats, and the provision of a security of an unarmed police constable is clearly inadequate and does not suffice the required protection to the petitioner or his family. He further said this threats are existing as long as he is alive so these unidentified threats are life time Life threats towards the petitioner.

Shani Abeysekara states that the failure to comply with the requirement imposed by the Victims Protection Authority is an offence under the Section 14 (2) Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 4 of 2015 shall be guilty of an offence of contempt of the Authority.

(dailymirror.lk)

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Draft constitution for Sri Lanka cricket board presented to president

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The draft constitution for the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, prepared by the Judge Chitrasiri Committee, was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat today (15). 

The draft was handed over by Committee Chairman, retired Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chitrasiri, alongside other committee members.

The initiative to address challenges faced by Sri Lanka Cricket and provide suitable recommendations led to the appointment of a Cabinet Sub-Committee on November 6, 2023. 

Chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs and President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, the sub-committee included Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara, and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles.

After extensive discussions with stakeholders involved in cricket, the sub-committee presented its report to the Cabinet on January 8, 2024. 

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Possible extension of president’s term by one year discussed

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The “Maubima” newspaper has reported ongoing discussions about the possibility of extending the term of office of the President by one year through a two-thirds majority in Parliament, without the need for a referendum.

According to the report, parties loyal to the President have consulted legal experts, who believe there is a legal pathway to extend the presidential tenure from five to six years. 

This mirrors the constitutional change made by the 19th Amendment in 2015, which reduced the presidential term from six to five years without a referendum.

Pratibha Mahanama (lawyer), a former professor at the University of Technology Jamaica, has been cited in the news paper report, stating that just as the term was reduced without a referendum in the past, it can now be extended with a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

However, Article 83(b) of the Constitution stipulates that any bill extending the term of office of the President or Parliament beyond six years must be passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament and be subjected to a referendum.

The newspaper further mentions that if the President fails to secure a two-thirds majority, the extension could still be put to a national referendum as a matter of significant national importance.

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IMF acknowledges progress in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that there is sufficient progress for Sri Lanka’s Debt Restructuring process to move forward.

However, the IMF further said Sri Lanka’s economy is still vulnerable and the path to debt sustainability remains knife- edged hence the country need to sustain the reform momentum.

Meanwhile, joining the IMF press briefing on Sri Lanka’s second review of EFF program held virtually this morning (14), IMF Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Peter Breuer stated that the IMF fully respect the democratic process for elections to take place in any country and they adapt to the relevant process.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the elections may affect the timing of IMF’s missions they conduct in order to discuss compliance with the programme and reforms going forward.

“We of course fully respect the democratic process for elections to take place in any country and we adapt to that process. So, this may affect a little bit the timing of our missions that we conduct in order to discuss compliance with the programme and reforms going forward”, he said.

“The elections have not been called yet. We will await that and discuss with the authorities how we can adapt our schedule to that of the elections”, Mr. Breuer added.

In response to a question raised by a journalist whether there is scope to adjust the programme and reduce taxes by a newly appointed government following the elections, the IMF Senior Mission Chief for Sri Lanka expressed that it is significant how the reduction in government revenues had contributed to this very severe crisis in Sri Lanka.

He further said: “I just pointed you to these two charts [in the IMF report] to tell the story how the reduction in government revenues had contributed to this very severe crisis to this very severe crisis in Sri Lanka. Re-building these revenues is an important objective of the programme in order to allow Sri Lanka to emerge from the crisis.”

“Of course here we should bring revenue closer to the expenditures that the government is facing to reduce the gap between expenditure and revenue, and that will help to make the debt sustainable again and force Sri Lanka to be able to finance itself at interest rates it can afford and the debt are sustainable.”

“More broadly speaking, we are willing to listen to different views of how the programme objectives can be reached. These need to be realistic and achievable within the time frame of the programme”, he added.

Moreover, the IMF representative also stated that the ‘Public Financial Management’ law has now been sent to Parliament, which will help to strengthen the fiscal framework and enhance fiscal responsibility.

Mr. Breuer highlighted that the law will help to ensure that the funds are being spent by the government as intended.

(adaderana.lk)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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