- ‘We’ve incriminating info about 25 MPs of last parliament’
- Dangerous Drugs Control Board to deprive
- narcotic suspects of nominations
- ‘Of 225 members, 95 have failed GCE O/L and 145 GCE A/L’
by Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board yesterday urged all political parties contesting the Aug. 17 general election to clear all nominations lists with it before being submitted to the Election Secretariat.
The 10-day nomination period commences on July 6.
The NDDCB head Dr. Chamira Nilanga Samarasingha yesterday told The Island that letters had been delivered to general secretaries of all registered political parties seeking their co-operation.
The official said that once political parties had shared proposed nomination lists with the NDDCB, they would be able to brief them as regards those whose names had transpired in investigations into narcotics trade.
Responding to a query, Dr. Samaratunga said that they had information regarding some members of the previous parliament.
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board had never shared information with political parties as regards those politicians allegedly involved in the narcotics trade. Dr. Samarasinghe revealed that they had incriminating evidence/information on two dozen members of the previous parliament.
Asked whether he was confident of receiving political parties’ cooperation in this regard, Dr Samarasinghe emphasised that it was the responsibility of major political parties to field clean candidates. The much touted good governance and accountability could begin immediately if all political parties resolved to deny nominations to those who had been engaged in nefarious activities.
Responding to a question, Dr. Samarasinghe said that they had had an opportunity to examine educational qualifications of those who had been in last parliament. Of 225 members, 95 had failed the GCE O/L, whereas 145 hadn’t passed the GCE A/L, Dr Samarasinghe said, adding that the vast majority of those engaged nefarious activities didn’t have higher educational qualifications.
“Perhaps, political parties should take into consideration educational qualifications of those seeking nominations from respective political parties. The electorate, too, should be mindful of those seeking their vote,” Dr. Samarasinghe said.
Emphasising the pivotal importance of changing Sri Lanka’s political culture, the NDDCB Chief said: “I have a simple message. Don’t exercise your franchise for those violating laws. August 17 general election can give us a good start. If we succeeded in forcing political parties to deny nominations to law breakers, it’ll help clean up Provincial Councils as well as local government authorities.”
The official said his move was meant to bring political parties to act without further delay. He regretted that successive administrations failed pathetically to take tangible action. Their failure caused a catastrophic situation; he said, adding that if Sri Lanka was to survive, the nexus between politicians and organized crime should be severed.
Even the newly passed 19th Amendment to the Constitution wouldn’t be able to achieve expected results unless criminal elements were denied re-entry or entry into parliament, he said.