Construction and Engineering Services Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe could not morally remain as the Chairman of the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) as he has been fined for violating the Inland Revenue Act.
Addressing the Media convened by the UNP-D group at the Seth Sevana yesterday, Senaratne also queried as to how such an individual could remain as a President`s Counsel.
`He was subjected to a penalty of Rs. 60,000. The Administrative Report of the Inland Revenue Director General for 1999 confirms this.`
Senaratne said Rajapakshe`s name was among the 66 names cited in the report. Rajapakshe was among 20 others who were subjected to a penalty of Rs. 60,000 and over.
The Minister observed that the MP was pursuing a political agenda as Chairman COPE adding that he (Rajapakshe) was involved in a political conspiracy at the bidding of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
He also accused the MP of going against convention by divulging
contents of a report of a Parliamentary Committee, after he became COPE Chairman.
`Although, the MP is pointing an accusing finger against two Ministers the full responsibility should be taken by the Economic Reforms Committee chaired by Ranil Wickremesinghe during the latter`s Premiership. This was even accepted by Ranil Wickremesinghe himself in Parliament`.
Besides, the entire Cabinet should be held accountable including
Kumaratunga who was the President at the time, the Minister pointed out.
The Minister also slammed sections of the media who he said were trying to compare Wijedasa Rajapakshe who entered Parliament without obtaining a single vote, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who began his political journey in 1970 and attained his present position after braving guns and languishing behind bars.