Sri Lanka top judge found guilty by Parliamentary panel

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Agencies8 Dec 2012

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 Sri Lanka top judge found guilty by parliamentary panelA Sri Lankan Parliamentary panel on Saturday found the country’s first woman Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake guilty on three counts of professional misconduct, a verdict that is likely to pave way for her dismissal.

“We limited our investigation to five counts. Since they were serious enough we did not go into the rest of the nine charges”, Nimal Siripala de Silva, a senior Minister said.

He said that the committee “found her guilty on three charges while exonerating her from two charges”.

Officials said that the lady chief justice now faces removal from office within a month.

The allegations of financial and professional misconduct against the Chief Justice was levelled by the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance.

Under Parliamentary procedure, if the Chief Justice is found guilty of even one charge, and a majority of the 225-member house votes for her removal, the President can dismiss her.

The ruling party holds two-thirds of the house.

Anura Yapa, another senior Minister who chaired the probe panel said that the panel had interviewed 16 witnesses and 139 documents.

Bandaranayake and her lawyers had on Thursday walked out of the Parliamentary committee meeting calling it unfair.

Later, in a letter to Speaker of Parliament, she offered to subject her to a probe which is free and transparent.

US, European Union and International Committee of Jurists have urged for a transparent investigation.

The move to impeach Bandaranayake came after she scuttled several bills, including one that gave more powers to President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother Basil, the economic development minister.

Opposition committee members hearing the accusations walked out on Friday.


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