Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, President’s Counsel Faiszer Musthapha yesterday (27), denied allegations that he is responsible for the delay of the Local Government (LG) elections and said that the Gazette Notification regarding delimitation had no errors. “I do not have any involvement in the petition at the Court of Appeal against the Gazette Notification.
The Gazette Notification. The Gazette is flawless and I did my best to do justice for all political parties with the delimitation process,” Musthapha asserted at the Committee Stage Debate.
The Minister said that he was in Malta last week to participate in the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. Dismissing reports that he went abroad without informing the House, Musthapha added that he had informed President Maithripala Sirisena and the Cabinet about his visit. “I came across several media reports that I did not inform about it to the Prime Minister prior to the visit, but the truth is that I presented a Cabinet Paper regarding this and mentioned my visit and the duration of the visit in it.
As a Cabinet Minister of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), I got the approval from the President who is the Chairman of the Party. Therefore, it should be stated that I did not flee the country amid this LG Election problem. I did not go abroad for any personal reason as well,” Musthapha elaborated.
He also said that, in the forum, he had made an application to host the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in Sri Lanka in 2019.
“I do not have any connection with the petitioners. Some people claim that I am also a party to this case as the lawyers who help in the case, worked in my father’s chamber at that particular time,” Musthapha said.
“There is a case filed against me and a Standing Order has been given according to it. They even call this case, ‘Musthapha versus Musthapha’ because of that, but I should say that lawyers appear for cases for various reasons,” he added.
“I value my legal profession more than my post as a politician. I have been in the legal profession for 20 years. Therefore, I will never ever sell my integrity as a lawyer and a PC for politics.”
“I always worked with good intentions and the LG Elections are getting delayed due to a Court Order. Everyone has a right to go to the Courts and I cannot deny that. I do not want to harm democracy, but it seems that someone should have to pay the price for past sins. Also, some people are looking for a fall guy and they are trying to use me as one, but I have always performed my duties to the country, this House, and to my Party,” Musthapha emphasized.
At this juncture, the Chief Opposition Whip and Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka questioned Musthapha whether he was aware of the errors in the Gazette Notification issued on 17 February 2017.
“It took nine months for these petitioners to notice these errors. Therefore, I stand on my stance about the claim of ‘Musthapha versus Musthapha’ because these petitioners are close allies of SLFP Ministers.”
Replying to Dissanayaka, Musthapha further said that “the Attorney General, who appeared for me told the Court that the Gazette has no flaws. I hope my name will be cleared after the Court verdict on the matter.”
“The President and the SLFP have no connection with this petition. Also, there can be various motives behind a case and we cannot determine what the exact ones are. This is an Interim Order issued by the Court and you cannot blame the Legislature or the Executive for that. There are two No-Faith Motions against me and I am not afraid to appear before a People’s Court to prove that my intentions are clean.”