Colombo, Oct 8 (FN Agency) The Supreme Court has granted leave to proceed with several fundamental rights petitions seeking legal action against former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and 37 others for financial irregularities and mismanagement of the economy. The Island newspaper reported on Saturday that the cases were filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and former Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Chandra Jayaratne among others. Among the others named as respondents are former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa as well as senior officials who now deal with or earlier headed the Sri Lanka Monetary Board and the Central Bank. The Rajapaksas — Mahinda Rajapaksa was Prime Minister until May this year and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa was President until July when he fled Sri Lanka besides Basil Rajapaksa, another brother — had ruled Sri Lanka with a vice like grip when the country’s economy collapsed.
The court instructed the Auditor General to conduct an audit and submit a report by November 3 in respect of the decision made by the Monetary Board to set the value of the Sri Lankan rupee at Rs 203 against the US dollar, the delay in seeking assistance from the IMF and all matters relating to the settlement of the sovereign bond of $500 million on January 18 using foreign reserves.He was also asked to conduct an audit on the losses caused to the Central Bank by such payments. The court also directed that Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank, to produce copies of all communications and recommendations given to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Finance Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, the Cabinet, the Monetary Board, former Governors of the Central Bank and former Secretary to the treasury, the Island reported. The issue will be again take up by the court in January 2023.The bench consisted of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Vijith Malalgoda and L T B Dehideniya. Sri Lanka is battling its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948 leading to unprecedented inflation and severe shortages of even essential commodities. The crisis has been blamed largely on the Rajapaksas.