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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

Parliament adjourned till today: Tension prevailed demanding to debate the no confidence motion against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendra

Colombo, 20 May, (Asiantribune.com):

As the opposition members demanded yesterday the Deputy Speaker to take up in Parliament to debate the no confidence motion against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendra, seeking the dismissal, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody was compelled to adjourn sittings at 3.12 pm yesterday till today 1 pm.

In the beginning, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody presided when Parliament when it met at 1.30 pm yesterday.

The Deputy Speaker informed the House of the sudden death of UPFA Kurunegala district Parliamentarian and Public Order and Christian Affairs Deputy Minister Neranjan Wickramasinghe.

He said vote of condolence on late MP Neranjan Wickramasinghe would be taken on a future date.

He informed the House that Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa signed the 19th amendment to the Constitution on Friday.

After the presentation of papers and petitions, Ministers and Deputy Ministers answered the oral questions raised by MPs of both sides.

In the meantime, sittings were suspended twice before as well with Opposition members demanding the Chair to give a ruling on the matter. Heated argument erupted between the ranks of the ruling party and the opposition with government maintaining there is no provision for the no-confidence motion to proceed.

A tense situation arose at the House when the Opposition Parliamentarians questioned the Government over the controversy surrounding the Treasury bond issue.

The Speaker has also called an immediate party leaders’ meeting to discuss in this regard.

Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran has been in the spotlight recently due to the controversy surrounding the Treasury bond issue by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). There had been rising concerns in bond markets over controversial deals made by Perpetual Treasuries, a firm connected to Arjun Aloysius, the son-in-law of Governor Arjuna Mahendran.

In fact, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody adjourned Parliament even before the Orders of the Day in Parliament commenced considering the motion of Leader of the House and Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella to adjourn Parliament.

The sittings were suspended on two occasions at 2.10 pm and 2.30 pm before the adjournment. On the first occasion, Parliament was suspended for 10 minutes and for 15 minutes at the second time.

The Opposition members created a tense situation by standing and shouting in the House demanding their motion be taken up even after Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa conveyed his decision to the House he reached at a Party Leaders' meeting called instantly to find a solution to this situation.

According to the decision, the party leaders had expressed their consensus to grant ample time to the Speaker to study this matter to come to a decision on the request of Opposition members. Parliament was adjourned until 1 pm today.

After the presentation of papers and oral questions when the Deputy Speaker stated the Order of the Day, Opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena said that a motion with signatures of 90 members seeking the dismissal of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran has been submitted on May 8. He said that Central Bank Governor's issue has to be debated in the House.

Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella stated that the issue was discussed at the Party Leaders' Meeting and reached a consensus. He said it was not fair to raise the same issue in the House irrespective of the decision at the Party Leaders' Meeting.

Dinesh Gunawardena said "the Central Bank has involved in the biggest fraud in the history of the country, so we asked to take the motion for debate. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody: "I will direct the matter to the Speaker." When Opposition member G. L. Peiris rose to speak, the Deputy Speaker suspended the sittings at 2.10 pm for 10 minutes and resumed at 2.30 pm.

Opposition Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa stated that the Central Bank issue was the biggest financial fraud in the country. He said the government was of the view that the motion cannot be taken up for debate in the House.

"The Speaker has informed that he would express his decision. The same decision can be discussed at the Party Leaders' Meeting again. The Speaker was in a meeting with a Vietnamese delegation," Deputy Speaker Weerakkody said.

Opposition member Bandula Gunawardena stated that the Central Bank issue was important.

The Deputy Speaker calling for a Party Leaders' Meeting suspended the sitting for a second time at 2.33 pm and resumed at 3.10 pm.

The Deputy Speaker announced that the Party Leaders agreed to grant time for the Speaker to study the matter deeply and announce his decision considering the request of the Speaker.

Opposition member Bandula Gunawardena stated that the power of the State Financial Control is vested with Parliament. He said it was important to debate over this financial fraud. He requested the Speaker to discuss the motion again with the speaker. He said the Opposition would support to pass the motion in the order paper to be taken up today.

At this stage, a tense situation was created as all Opposition members were standing and shouting in the House.
Leader of the House Kiriella moved that the House be adjourned until 1 pm today and the Deputy Speaker adjourned Parliament.

- Asian Tribune -

Parliament adjourned till today: Tension prevailed demanding  to debate the no confidence motion against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendra
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