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Import of SUVs for MPs is illegal, case to be filed before SC: NPP

The National Peoples’ Power (NPP) is to file a case at the Supreme Court next week with the intention of seeking an order to cancel the import of 227 SUVs for Members of Parliament (MPs).

Former JVP Western Provincial Councillor Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala made these statements at a press conference held recently.

“Cabinet Paper was presented on May 18 and it was rejected at the next Cabinet meeting on May 24. The Prime Minister said later that the Cabinet Paper was suspended. However, Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said LCs have already been opened and it cannot be suspended now. These LCs were opened on April 22 by the Treasury Secretary through the Peoples Bank,” he said.

He also alleged that such a move is illegal as LCs have been opened without Cabinet approval, adding that it is a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine to import vehicles when the country is in dire need of Covid vaccines without funds to do it.

“According to the Public Trust Doctrine, the government does not own the country, they are only the custodians. The Court has ruled that in several cases such as in the Eppawala phosphate case and Senarath Vs Chandrika Kumaratunge case that the government is only a custodian and cannot misuse power,” he said.

Watagala also said that the NPP would seek in their petition either to cancel the LCs or sell the vehicles in public auction and transfer the funds to the treasury to be used for public wellbeing.