The Sunday Leader

Not Only The Chairman Husband; Chief Justice Wife Must Also Resign!

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and Pradeep Kariyawasam

Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and her husband National Savings Bank (NSB) Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam are at the center of a scandal again.
When Justice Bandaranayake was appointed as the Chief Justice, I raised the serious conflict of interest issues relating to her. Within the Asian region, the sixth Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and the Pacific held in Beijing in August 1995 adopted the Statement of Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. Sri Lanka was represented by the Supreme Court Judge P. R. P. Perera who voluntarily agreed to the Principles on behalf of the then Chief Justice G. P. S. De Silva. Principle 39 of the Beijing Statement says, “Inducements or benefits should not be offered to or accepted by judges if they affect, or might affect, the performance of their judicial functions.”
Under the title “Chief Justice or her husband must resign” I wrote; The Chief Justice must explain how her husband was appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, and a member of the Board of Directors of Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC. How was he also appointed Chairman of the National Savings Bank?  Had he applied for the job? Was he interviewed?  Who were the other applicants?  Weren’t there any other qualified applicants other than her husband? She must also explain how these things are consistent with international standards concerning judicial independence. If she cannot, she or her husband must resign. After all, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

Chief Justice and her husband
While Justice Shirani Bandaranayake sat on the Bench of Sri Lanka’s apex court, her husband Pradeep Kariyawasam was an unsuccessful man working in the marketing field. In June 2009 following a Supreme Court order to the Treasury Secretary to appoint a Board of Directors to the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) after the government took it over, President Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Finance, appointed Justice Shirani Bandaranayake’s husband Pradeep Kariyawasam to the new SLIC Board as its Chairman. Herein lies the rub.
The names proposed by President Rajapaksa for the new Board of Directors for SLIC received Supreme Court approval after the list was presented to Court by Deputy Solicitor General Sanjaya Rajaratnam on 26 June 2009 on behalf of the Treasury Secretary. But Kariyawasam’s good fortune did not end there. He was also appointed to the Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC as a member of its Board of Directors along with Defence Secretary and Presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was appointed Chairman.
But that is not all. On May 15, 2010 Pradeep Kariyawasam was also appointed Chairman of the National Savings Bank by President Rajapaksa. The NSB controls assets worth Sri Lankan Rupees 424,994,303,000/-.
Now under her husband’s chairmanship, the NSB has evolved a “Sophisticated bank robbery”; the questionable Rs. 390 million deal between the National Savings Bank and a group of investors of The Finance Company (TFC).

Sophisticated bank robbery under CJ’s husband
During an interview with Mirror Business, The Finance Company PLC (TFC) Chairman Preethi Jayawardena and TFC Director/Chief Executive Officer Kamal Yatawara reiterated that the transaction in question was strictly a private one between the owners of the shares and the NSB, thereby having no material impact on TFC or its depositors. According to them, this corrupt transaction is not even a transaction between two state run organizations. It is a private deal between two cronies.  Good Governance and Minority rights activist K. C. Vignarajah told The Island Financial Review: “The deal was suspicious from the very start …The management of the NSB should be held accountable to the public, no matter how small the transaction may seem to them. Some had argued that the President cannot prevent the payments from being made on technical grounds, but if the deal was suspect there is nothing wrong with preventing those responsible from getting away with the loot, especially when it is public money”.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce issuing a statement called for an impartial inquiry and urged authorities to take action against any wrongdoers. “The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) notes with concern the recent transaction of approximately 13 percent of The Finance Company PLC. The Chamber believes that ensuring integrity and transparency are vital to maintain investor confidence in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for the capital market to remain robust,” the Chamber observed.
Opposition lawmaker and leading economist Dr. Harsha De Silva said, “This transaction exposed only the tip of the iceberg. There is a mafia in the country’s Stock Exchange and this deal has exposed a few of them and we are not going to let go. We hope the Regulators find the courage to carry out an investigation and give a fair judgement. If they do this, it will have a positive impact on the Colombo Stock Exchange, the inflow of foreign investments and the overall development of the country”.  Alluding to the deal as a ‘sophisticated bank robbery, Dr. Harsha De Silva said the country needed sophisticated law enforcement officers and regulators to tackle such fraud. Dr. De Silva called for the resignation of NSB Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam and said authorities should be allowed to carry out an impartial inquiry and punish any offenders without fear and favour.
Now, I must say the resignation of NSB Chairman Pradeep Kariyawasam is not enough, his wife must also resign! How can any investigation be carried while his wife sits as the Chief Justice?
The government has already announced that it has appointed a committee to investigate the matter. At the end of the day any findings will go to the Supreme Court for a decision.

Nelum Gamage and her Husband
We do not need to go for India or to the west for best practices. Sri Lanka already has a good example. When the husband of the head of the Bribery Commission Nelum Gamage was allegedly involved in corruption, she resigned. She was a respected civil servant. When the then President D. B. Wijetunga had asked her to close the corruption investigation file related to the then General Manager of the Railway Department W. A. K. Silva, she put a note regarding the President’s request. She was a lady of integrity. After the Bribery Commission was established under President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Nelum Gamage was appointed as its first Chairperson. Unfortunately her husband was allegedly involved in corruption, so she resigned. We must ask Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake to follow Nelum Gamage’s example!Like all Chief Justices since President J. R. Jayewardene’s 1978 Constitution, Shirani Bandaranayake’s too was a direct appointment by the President. That then is not the point. What is however important is that none of the spouses of previous judges have accepted political appointments.
The Chief Justice is automatically the Chairperson of the Sri Lankan Judicial Service Commission. This means that, effectively, she is the boss. While much of the work is delegated to others, it is the Chairperson who is ultimately responsible for the “corporate culture” in the operations of any organization. This is how organizations operate on a psychological level. The leader sets the tone. The relationship between the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and her spouse cannot be private. Not when that spouse holds key positions in government institutions that is a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is also corruption. It is worthwhile quoting Dr. Colvin R. De Silva when he said, while participating in a no confidence motion against then Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike, “the service exacts from itself a higher standard because it recognizes that the state is entitled to demand that its servants shall not only be honest in fact but beyond the reach of suspicion of dishonesty”.

44 Comments for “Not Only The Chairman Husband; Chief Justice Wife Must Also Resign!”

  1. rufus



  2. td


  3. Matupala Gamage

    MR of President of Sri Lanka must take responsibility of NSB share trancation.
    Mahinda Rajapakasa has to understand you have NOT given mandate inculded misapporiated and Misused governmant Traesurey Funds.
    Always you preach Buddhist teaching and spending millions of people money promoted buddhsim in Sri Lannka
    .Now like past of Tsunami Fund you have come with NEW SCANDLE.Talk of town in known class nature and actvities of your past behaviour of Tusnami Sacndal,people ,pardon because of WAR against terrorist attacks in our ialsnd
    .After end of war,now START SAME GAME under your leadership and your family member involing billions of ruppes scandles of TAX PAYERS MONEY!
    Now you and your gang of rouges approch NSB saving deposites BELONGS TO POOR DEPOSITES ,with Chairman of NSB and Sapamath Bank Charirman Damika Perera of Casion Gamble ,who is good friend Your Harvrred Eduacted Basil Rajapakasa ,minister of Economice affirs.
    You have many intermidters and agents withing your inner circuls ,who work for Money transcation under hand.
    Your cluprit behaivore knows many people in Sri lanka and outside country..

  4. Patriot

    “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”; true true. In this NSB/TFC case, husband of CJ must stand above suspicion for as chairman of NSB, he is responsible for its TFC share purchases at unjustifiably inflated prices. Cancellation of the shady deal by the President may have saved a lot of public money. But corrupt or not, going back on concluded deals reflects a bad precedent and indeed doubts on all future CSE transactions. So, there should be no hush up; it’s the duty of the opposition to push hard for an investigation to it. And just as the bribery commissioner, Nelum Gamage did some time back; the Chief Justice Dr. Srirani Bandaranayake must resign from her post now and pave the way for an impartial investigation in to this sore deal.

  5. vintage voter


  6. Shaik Anwar Ahamath

    Political appointments of any sort should be subjected to far greater scrutiny than normal if we are genuinely seeking to eliminate cronyism, bias and favouritism. They do this in the developed countries and I cannot see why it cannot be done in ours.

  7. Ravi Austalia

    Thank you for your inside. If you look at the history of chief justice and minster Peris ,you can establish the political relationship,Sharee was appointed from Universtiy as a judge long time ago wihout any experience becasue she was a mate of Peris.
    We all thought orginally Peris was a good man as a Professor now you all know that he has no policies except the post. Nonthing new to Srilankan government appointments.This country will never come right but play the tamil singala cards and stay in power. Since Independance you can see the world development and what happend in Srilana except riots, humal righ abuses, inquiries, kidnaps, killings.Singal peoeple will never learn .Srilanka needs a good democratice leader similar to JR OR Dudley.

  8. Ajantha Jayasinghe

    Pradeep Kariyawasam (PK) was the former General Manager for Browns Motor Division. He brought about 30 double door pick ups under the wrong HS code and had to leave Browns for this blunder – to which Ajith Devasurendra & Murali Prakash – GMD Browns was furious. PK was the Vice Captain of Royal when Hon. Ranjan Madugalle captained Royal in the centenary year where the “King of Hedging” Asantha De Mel was the opening bowler. Ajith Devasurandra – a prominent Royalist was a substitute in this match and he caught Lakmal De Zoysa and Ken De Alwis while fielding. PK played for three years final being the 100th battle of the blues and scored 37/3, 9/41 and 47 during his 5 innings. PK was a failure as an opener and he was shifter to play 3 down in the centenary match. Ajith Devasurendra went onto play and got 88 rune the following year with a partnership of 222 with Sumithra Warnakulasuriya who went onto score 197 runs for Royal. In the final year Ajith Devasurendra captain royal and got 6 wickets. Knowing both these gentlemen I would say they were not so greedy for money but it seems that they are corrupt now. Sad to say they are Royalists – like RW, Mangala, Sagala and Anil Sam.
    God help Sri Lanka since PK has no qualification to be a bank chairman in a state own bank only qualification is he is married to a powerful lady. Please check his qualifications like how they did to King of Hedging Asantha De Mel.

  9. MKV

    Do you honestly think she will resign!?

  10. Sameen Jan

    She can divorce him and kick him out of the house

  11. Sanjeew

    “The Judge was always a rascal. Now the rascal shall be the Judge”. The Caucasian Chalk Circle By Bertolt Brecht, Act no:04

  12. zavahir

    Very dangerous to Judiciary.But it is well organized to trap CJ Mrs. Shirani.

  13. gamarala

    Dont hold your breath. Such things happen only in othercountries.

  14. B.Fernando

    Only in a corrupt lawless Banana Republic, a Political Stooge’s wife will be appointed as the Chief Justice of a Country. This shows the citizens have lost all their rights including the Justice System. Our former peaceful democratic Sri Lanka is no more and the entire democratic world is laughing at us.

  15. laksiri

    this lady came to supreme court from back door since she hold the name of was very clear from the court case filed by group of lawyers to stop doing this dirty thinks .but under the power of dictatorship presidential system only impossible to make man in to women according the father of the dirty constitutions so she managed to get the job.she severed to Chandrika to cover up all the dirty works including 100%wrong judgment she wrote with respect of Sevenagala sugar company matter which was written by former attorney general and singed by was very clear by documentary proof was found in supreme court files written by her owned hand writing.if any man with basic law subject knowledge can understand what a wrong doing that judgment which is basically, fundamentally and factually wrong in law and how it was against the public interest loss of rs1b to treasury and loss for ever to overhaul entire sugar industry of the nation with best technical plan with massive amount of foreign investment.SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT CRIME TOO.READ THE SUNDAY LEADER TWO PAPER ARTICLE OF JUNE1999 AND JULY1999 WITH RESPECT OF THIS MATTER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT A WRONG JUDGMENT TO COVER UP WRONG DOING CHANDRIKA AND HIS CORRUPTED REGIME.

    • SENSE

      The English language does not define a person of such low integrity as a lady…….perhaps just a ‘woman’.

    • Navaratne

      of Sunday leader doesnks Laksiri for the information. Unfortunately the Archives of Sunday leader does not have the publications going as far back as 1999. Are the cases reported in the Sri lanka Law Reports. If so can you let me know the parties/Titles. i.e. Plaintiff/ Respondent/defendant etc.

  16. had enough with these buggers

    Forget it, not under this government, even the main culprit is still keeping the Job. now CJ will be used by rulers to manipulate favourable Judgements for them.

    • asif

      The story goes on.The Rot started from former CJ and its continuing.All the rules are for helpless lot.
      Fantastic points raised in the article.
      Present Judiciary team is a team of Robbers cultivated and planted by MR

  17. rienzie

    I think this is Sri Lankan culture and attitude.Now even in UK or in USA politicians never resign and the same with all other civil servants. In every country the corruption by politicians are rampant.After the presidencies of JR and Premadasa Sri Lanka took a different path.This path is the corruptors and thugs path.Therefore for survival politicians need thugs and thugs are like germs and they thrive on government contracts as well as with illegal businesses or bribes.Unfortunately now in Sri Lanka the situation is the same.Even if the government want to change it they will never be able to do so.Sad but true.

  18. Weel

    Agree100%. If she has an ounce of shame both should resign. How ever, she will not resign as the way things happen in Sri Lanka. The law is un to them selves. Naduth hamudurwange, baduth hamudurwange!

  19. Why can’t we accept that there is no law in Srilanka other than those dictated by the dear leader like in North Korea.

  20. rafee

    Dr.Bandaranayake is an academic. I am sure she will prove that she is no different to Nelum Gamage.

    We need to leave a better country to our future generation. Enough is enough.
    Civil society has to be mindful of their obligations. The politicians must be persuaded to open a new leaf in their approach to governance.

  21. D A Rajapissa

    SL the wonder of legalised unerworld !

    no wonder JVP LTTE revolt again

  22. Anil

    It is possible that CJ is changing the justice system in Lanka from now on to say… Every confirmed criminal/ fraudster in the country is guilty except….

    and every charged criminal in the country can ask the courts to prove that his/her crime/fraud is more to deserve punishment than the criminality/fraud of …..

    In Lanka……. shame is not a recognised word!!!!!

  23. Larson

    Interesting article to say the least. But this is Sri Lanka, and King Rajapakshe does what he wants. The SC is a joke at best. All puppets without one ounce of dignity or self respect. When you have a crook at the helm, you will find that people of similar ilk will always be around to cheer him/her on and get a piece of the pie. This is what is going on in Lanka. Grab whatever they can while the going is good. You need to be a crook in survive in Lanka.

  24. balaraman

    facts and law speak for themselves. do what s right.resign with dignity.

    • Larson

      Balarama, I seriously doubt this woman knows the meaning of the word “Dignity” nor would her pot bellied husband!

  25. idiot

    The finance company does not allow the depositors to get the money back and force them to buy shares. the retirees have no income now from the money they earned over the years after hard work. these corrupted company executives have a luxury life

  26. Kira

    Conflict of interest noone knows the real meaning. Including everyone.

  27. Sam

    The intergrity of the judiciary should be beyond any doubt. The percieved conflict of interest matters a lot.

  28. zavahir

    CJ spoke on the Mr. Wijedasa Rajapakse function regading complains of lawyers. What about today judges spouse & Judges activity.

  29. Don Quixote

    Do these people realise that they will go down in the history of this country as the most corrupt people ever to rule an already corrupt country ?

    We must NEVER let our children forget these names !

  30. Asian Wonder

    You may write heaps of articles on questionable issues involving the so called high government officials mostly being stooges of the rulers they do not have any moral principle or respect the rule of law. How can we expect resignations coming from such individuals after all taking responsibility for their wrong doing and resigning from positions are unheard of in this wonder of Asia

  31. jaliya

    She is not a lawyer only a lecturer who got the job thanks to Sarath Nanda Silva. She is the head of the bench which investigate Golden Key scam. Now she should investigate NSB scam or resign (along with her corrupt husband) and show she abide the law.

  32. jaliya

    But if she decides to resign she must gets the Kings approval for that. He won’t give it since treasury secretary who is also and ex-convict for public fraud!

  33. Sangaralingham

    is there something fishy going on not too fast everything subject to analyses discovery truths or not. just being clever and smart cannot be judged against till proven and assessed yes lot of concerns here but desire can be cruel in high chairs

  34. Jo


  35. jack

    For the sake of country & its nation, we urge you two step back paving the way for dynamic & honest people for high administration & law enforcing seats.

    This will be the greatest meritorious activity you may execute in the life thinking of Karma, inspired by Lord Buddha.

  36. Guzban

    Quite frankly, I fail to see how the article justifies calling Shirani to account on something done by or done to her husband. I know that she has been at the centre of many controversies, including getting promoted and her meteoric rise to this post. She curried favor with chandrika and is known to get along with the top notch quite well.

  37. Sangaralingham

    if this is a case and true to be proven i am sure there are many in the same ship

  38. Dr Shirani Bandaranayake, if she has shame must immediately resign following the example set by an honest and highly principled lady like Mrs Nelum Gamage
    former Bribery Commissioner.

  39. Subash Manamperi

    Even after he left office the former attorney general Mohan Peris is running the Supreme Court and Shirani Bandaranaike acts like his secretary. Mohan Peris does all his corruption with the help of the Supreme Court

  40. tamil circle

    The saying is Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion but not husband of a wife must be above reproach. Feminine rights please. Our constitution is there.

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