MP Prof. G.L. Peiris has asked Central Bank governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe to explain allegations made by justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe that a person named Chamara Gunasekera has accepted a bribe from the insurer of the sunken tanker MV X-Press Pearl.
The ship with toxic chemicals caught fire and sank off Sri Lanka’s western coast in 2021, causing the worst maritime disaster in recent history.
Peiris told a media briefing by the Freedom People’s Congress yesterday (02) the CBSL governor should tell the public and parliament as to whether it is possible for something like this to happen.
“The amount of compensation which was estimated by maritime experts is $ 6.4 billion and it is two times more than the IMF bailout we are given. So, I have a doubt as to why the government is not taking measures to get this compensation when it is not even a debt.”
“Is it an attempt to divert the public attention to somewhere else?,” the MP asked.
He also demanded the attorney general reveal why he decided to pursue litigation for the disaster in Singapore which would cost Sri Lanka millions of dollars, instead of filing a case in Sri Lanka where the incident occurred.
The government is wasting its foreign exchange by prosecuting vessel owners in Singapore when they can be prosecuted in Sri Lanka.
“The ship was gutted in a fire within Sri Lankan territory. Therefore, the prosecution should be carried out under the Sri Lankan law. Wherever we prosecute them, whether it is in Sri Lanka or Singapore, it should be carried out under the Sri Lankan Law.”
“In my opinion, the best thing to do now is to appoint a special parliamentary select committee to look into this matter,” he proposed.
The MP said this is the best and most impartial method to elicit the truth and prevent any details from being suppressed.