Legal action against candidates: PAFFREL

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) is to take legal action against candidates who had failed to declare their assets and liabilities after getting nominated for the concluded parliamentary election.

“PAFFREL is planning to take action against those who have not submitted their assets and liabilities (declaration) to the Election Commission (EC). We have already requested from the EC the details on who has submitted and who hasn’t. We will take these details and lodge a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) as they are the sole authority who can take legal action against these candidates,” PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told The Morning.

He said their aim was twofold; one is to discourage unnecessary candidates from contesting.

“There were some 7,452 candidates at this election but less than 1,500 were serious candidates during the campaigning period while the remaining just campaigned for other candidates. So, if we file cases against those candidates and it is uncovered that they hadn’t met the legal requirements, then they will be charged. This will discourage unnecessary candidates from contesting for no reason in the future.”

He said the other goal was to strengthen the political culture in the country, stating: “In order to build a strong a political culture, they must submit their assets and liabilities (declarations).”

He said the maximum penalty was a one-year jail term along with a fine.

“I believe the penalty for failing to submit their assets and liabilities (declaration) within three months of nomination is Rs. 1,000 fine and one-year jail term or both.”

– Skandha Gunasekara