Welcoming polls chief Mahinda Deshapriya’s decision to demand assets declarations from office bearers of political parties, UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, yesterday emphasised the urgent need to amend the relevant law to compel those contesting presidential, parliamentary, provincial councils and local government polls to furnish the required information, along with their nominations.
The newly elected President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), told The Island that those seeking political office, conveniently ignored the stipulation that assets declarations be made within three months of handing over nominations. The former head of the parliamentary watch dog committee (Committee on Public Enterprises), said that those responsible for implementing the law feared to take action against politicians after the elections, particularly in the case of those in the newly elected government.
Asked whether an amendment to the existing law was necessary, the MP said that Parliament should, without further delay, bring in the required modifications to prevent anyone from seeking political office unless his or her assets declaration was made available ahead of the nominations, or at least on the day of the nominations.
Responding to a query, the MP said that he handed over his assets declaration along with his nomination at the last parliamentary polls in April 2010. According to him, only two contestants, including him, had handed over assets declarations, along with their nominations.
The MP said that the country could no longer ignore the urgent need to tighten laws to instill financial discipline among politicians and officials. For want of stringent counter measures, unscrupulous persons had been able to secure nominations from major political parties, he said.