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* Sri Lanka Supreme Court extends foreign travel ban imposed against Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa
Mon, Aug 1, 2022, 07:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 01, Colombo: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered to extend the foreign travel ban imposed against former Finance Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa until the 4th of August.

The Supreme Court gave the order after considering the petition submitted by a group including former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne, former Sri Lanka swimming champion Julian Bolling Jehan Kanagaratna and Transparency International Sri Lanka.

The petitions were taken up today before the five-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Bhuvaneka Aluvihare, Murdu Fernando, Vijith Malalgoda and LTB Dehideniya.

The petition submitted by former president of Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne and others was considered first.

The President's Counsel Chandaka Jayasundara, who appeared for the petitioners, stated before the court that the International Monetary Fund had informed the Sri Lankan government in 2019 that the country may face a serious crisis regarding the repayment of the debt.

The President's Counsel also told the court that some people claim the current economic crisis was caused by the Covid epidemic, while others claim that this result was achieved due to the short-sighted economic policies followed by the government.

The President's Counsel also said if the government had paid attention to the warning given by the International Monetary Fund in 2019, it would have been possible to avert this economic disaster.

He pointed out that during the period between 2019 and 2020, the government gave tax concessions to businessmen and due to this, the government lost more than 600 billion rupees in revenue and this caused serious damage to the economy.

The President's Counsel accused that the former Central Bank Governors as well as former Secretary of the Finance Ministry S. R. Attygalle have failed to explain why these tax concessions were granted.

He pointed out that this situation was the main reason for Sri Lanka to be ranked internationally as a defaulting state.

As the country is facing a serious economic crisis, former Central Bank Governor Professor W.D. Lakshman had proposed to the government to seek the assistance of the International Monetary Fund immediately.

But the former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral, who rejected the proposal, had declared until last February that they did not want to go to the International Monetary Fund, the President's Counsel reminded the court.

He also mentioned that the country fell further into an economic abyss due to the payment of 500 million US dollars for sovereign bonds in January 2022 while such a crisis economic situation was being created.

The President's Counsel pointed out that the Governor of the Central Bank and Monetary Board members are sufficient scholars of economics and accused them of not taking any necessary actions even though they were well aware of the loss of income.

President's Counsel Jayasundara pointed out that the country is now bankrupt because the responsible parties did not seek the assistance of the International Monetary Fund, knowing that an economic crisis would arise, and accused that the former finance ministers and central bank governors were responsible for it.

After considering all the facts presented, the five-member Supreme Court bench adjourned the hearing until the 3rd of August and issued an order preventing former Finance Ministers Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa from traveling abroad without the permission of the court until the 4th.

The Supreme Court also ordered to extend the pledge given by the former Central Bank governors Ajith Nivard Cabral and Prof. W. D. Lakshman and former Secretary of the Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle, who have been named as respondents of this petition that they would not travel abroad without court’s permission, until the 4th of this month.

President's Counsel Naveen Marapana informed the court that he will represent former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is named as a respondent in those petitions.


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