Business

Pandora Papers report delayed without cause

  • Report was due November 2021
  • Justice delayed is justice denied: Lawyers Forum for the People 

– By Shenal Fernando

The handing over of the report by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) regarding the allegations against Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan, who were implicated in the Pandora Papers file leak in connection with several suspicious transactions including the maintenance of large cash deposits, continues to be delayed without cause.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, Lawyers Forum for the People Convenor Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, who had also submitted a complaint to the commission regarding the allegations made in the Pandora Papers leak, stated that the report had been due in November of last year but had been continuously postponed due to delays associated with the investigation process.

“This is a huge issue and in the case of such a large corruption scandal involving such a huge sum of money, the investigation process must be prioritised and sped up, because justice delayed is justice denied,” he stressed. 

When The Sunday Morning Business reached out to Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to identify the reasons for the continued delay in handing over the report to the President, the Minister denied possessing any knowledge of the reasons for the delay.

Repeated attempts by The Sunday Morning Business to contact the CIABOC proved futile; the officers of the commission who responded to the queries denied any knowledge regarding the present status of the investigation.

In October last year, the President instructed the CIABOC to launch an investigation and to subsequently hand over a report within one month on the Sri Lankans implicated in the Pandora Papers file leak by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), after the name of Nirupama Rajapaksa (the cousin of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa) and that of her husband Thirukumar Nadesan appeared in it.

Subsequently, an Interim Report was submitted by the CIABOC to the President in November 2021, where CIABOC Director General Kanishka Wijeratne informed that various banks and financial institutions had been requested to submit reports containing the bank account details of Thirukumar Nadesan and that these details were in the process of being received.

However, The Sunday Morning Business was previously informed by former Secretary to the CIABOC Apsara Caldera in March 2022 that one of the reasons for the delay in presenting the report was that crucial information required to complete the Pandora Papers investigation had not been provided by some local institutions, including banks.

She had further stated that reminders had been issued by the commission to those institutions and added that CIABOC needed to give at least three chances for such institutions to provide the required information before obtaining said information through legal means.

“Even though we can request such information through courts, we have to give them a certain period of time to provide the information before resorting to obtaining it through legal measures,” she had said. “We are trying to complete the investigations as soon as possible.”