Gross Betrayal

Oct 11, 2008 9LBO) – Sri Lanka’s former president Chandrika Kumaratunga had grossly violated public trust in a deal where state lands and a tax holiday were given to a firm in which an associate was covertly holding shares, the island’s Supreme Court has said. The judgement delivered by Supreme Court justice Shirani Tillakawardene said Kumaratunga, the first respondent in the case, had strongly recommended the project and canvassed favours for the promoters such as tax concessions.

“The first respondent has grossly abused her power,” the judgement declared.

Kumaratunga “had failed to function in a manner consistent with the expectations of a public officer, much less an executive president, and in doing so, has completely betrayed the position of trust bestowed upon her by the constitution and by the people of Sri Lanka.”

The judgement in the case involving the Water’s Edge golf course, near Colombo, said the transfer of state land originally meant for flood water retention purposes, was illegal.

It ordered the return to the state of the land which had been transferred to a company in which a friend of Kumaratunga, Ronnie Peiris, was a hidden shareholder.

The Supreme Court in the judgement also said Kumaratunga’s “blatant misreprese