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Last updateMon, 22 Jan 2018 8pm

Local News

The Chairman of the Elections Commission explains the voting system of the forthcoming Local Government Polls

Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshpriya says the official polling cards for the forthcoming local government polls have been sent to be posted. Ballet papers for postal voting have already been released. Postal voting will commence from next Monday in police stations, district secretariats and at the Elections Commission. Postal voting at other locations will be conducted on the 25th and the 26th of this month. However, postal voters who are unable to cast their vote on the said days, can alternatively cast their vote at district secretariats on the first and second of February. Mr. Deshapriya also stated that one representative from each political party and independent group can be present at the polling centers. Monitoring officers will be deployed at each center.

Explaining the procedure in voting at the forthcoming polls the elections commissioner requested voters to only place a ‘cross’ in the corresponding column against the political party or independent group of choice. No other makings should be made on the ballot paper.

A National Action Plan is to be launched to curb bribery & corruption in the country.

A National Action Plan is to be launched to curb bribery & corruption in the country. An intellectual discussion in this regard, chaired by Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando, was held at the Presidential Secretariat, this morning.

The action plan is aimed at ensuring sustainable development in economic, social, cultural, legal and environment fields in Sri Lanka, through the elimination of bribery and corruption.

All countries in the world have identified the imperative need for the elimination of bribery and corruption and action has been taken for the enactment of international agreements, laws, regulations and mechanism for this purpose.

Sri Lanka too has identified this requirement for such a programme and the cabinet approved the formulation of a National Action Plan, at the ministerial meeting held in October last year.

In today’s meeting the suggestions and ideas of intellectuals were taken up for discussion in detail.

Japan to grant aid for the upgrading of the Sri-pali Campus at the University of Colombo.

Japan will grant a total sum of 12 million rupees under its project titled Grant Assistants for Cultural Grassroots, for upgrading of audio-visual equipment at the Sri-pali Campus at the University of Colombo. The grant contract was signed between the Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma and Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo Professor Lakshman Dissanayake.

As time shifts from analog media to digital media, this grant consists of equipment for the next phase of the ‘digital hi-vision age’. It is expected that this project would contribute to capacity building in the field of ‘next generation media training’, which would place the Sri-pali Campus as the focal point of media experts’ education.

A special course of action to be put into force to execute the recommendations of the Bond Commission.

President Maithripala Sirisena emphasizes that a special course of action will be put into force to execute the recommendations of the bond commission.  The president was speaking at a discussion held at the presidential secretariat this evening. The Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Director General of the Bribery Commission and several officials participated at this discussion. The recommendations of the Bond Commission have been detailed in four parts. They focused upon amending existing laws, implementing new legislation and the necessary steps that need to be taken to prevent a recurrence of such malpractices in future. The discussion also focused on initiating legal action against those responsible and the recovery of the losses incurred to the Employment Provident Fund due to this bond scam.  Should further offences surface as an outcome of the ongoing investigation, those responsible will be dealt with by the law.

A four member committee to be appointed to carry out a legal study into the report of the Bond Commission.

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasooriya has appointed a four member committee to conduct a legal study with regard to the report of the Bond Commission. Steps will also be taken to establish a separate unit in the CID, upon the instructions of the Attorney General, for further investigations into the frauds that have been committed so far. The Attorney General’s Department has focused its attention on bringing about necessary amendments to existing laws in order to expedite legal proceedings pertaining to this issue.

50 more buses will be added to the CTB fleet.

Cabinet approval has been received to purchase another 50 buses to the CTB fleet.  It has been observed that commuters tend to tilt towards private buses due to the lack of comfort and desired service in the CTB service. The CTB at present has 6300 buses that can be deployed for passenger transport. Of these, 2467 buses are more than 10 years old.  In view of this situation it was decided to table this proposal for the procurement of 50 buses to the CTB fleet.

The civil organisation forum says that it is a good trait that the parliamentarians are able to criticise the government being a part of it.

Secretary to the civil organisation forum Chameera Perera says that it is a positive trait that the members of the government are able to criticise the lapses of it even being a part of the government. During the past regime, no parliamentarian of the ruling party was able to express views against the rulers. At a press briefing held in Colombo today Mr. Chameera Perera said people are well aware of the manner the leaderas of the past regime had acted. However, the present President has showed the qualities of a disciplined leader by humbly accepting the supreme court decision. Mr. Chameera Perera stressed the need to appoint a presidential commission without delay to investigate into the serious crimes and malpractices committed by the leaders of the past regime.
He added that aspirations of the public are gradually being fulfilled by the good governance rule.

A special high court will be established to accelerate hearing the cases of bribery, corruption and serious financial crimes.

The government has focused attention to establish a special high court with three member bench to accelerate hearing of the cases related to bribery and corruption and very complex financial crimes. The cabinet has already given approval for a proposal in this connection. The judicial procedure act has been amended for this purpose. The amended draft bill has already been sent to be endorsed by the attorney general. These facts were revealed at a cabinet press briefing held today.
A free trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore will be signed. A proposal presented by minister Malik Samarawickrerma in this regard has been approved by the cabinet. The final draft of the MOU has also been sent to the Attorney general for endorsement. Meanwhile cabinet has also given approval to a proposal signed between Sri Lanka and Vietnam on information and communication technology.

The Presidential bond commission report will be officially tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

The reports of the Bond Commission and the Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe into serious acts of fraud and corruption have been handed over to the Speaker’s Office of the Parliament this morning.
According to the Speaker’s Office, 26 copies of the Bond Commission report and a summarized report and 34 copies (Sinhala) of the PRECIFAC report were handed over by a legal officer of the Presidential Secretariat to the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake.
At a press briefing held at the parliamentary complex today, Speaker Karu Jayasooriya said these reports will be tabled in parliament on Tuesday. Further decision will be taken in this connection after convening a party leaders meeting in future.

Chief of staff of the Nepal army is on a visit to Sri Lanka.

Chief of staff of the Nepal army will arrive in the island today for official visit.  Chief of the staff Rajendra Chetti start this tour on an invitation from the Sri Lanka army commander Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake.  Nepal media has reported that the commander Rajendra Chetti has left Nepal for Sri Lanka at present. He will meet the President, the Prime Minister and state minister of defence for bilateral talks. He will also the meet the three commanders of the forces.