Home Local News Room : International Trade Office to Synergize Sri Lanka’s External Trade...

News Room : International Trade Office to Synergize Sri Lanka’s External Trade – The Island


Dual citizenship controversy:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney-at-Law Chameera Dinesh Gallearachchi has warned Controller General, Department of Immigration and Emigration, I.S.H.J. Illukpitiya, that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Corruption or Bribery (CIABOC) will be moved against him unless he arrested British passport holder Diana Gamage, MP, over the violation of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No 20 of 1948 as amended. The lawyer asked that she be deported unless she produced a valid visa to stay here.

Gamage received the appointment as State Minister for Tourism from President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently.

Lawyer Gallearachchi, in a letter dated 20 Dec. 2022. addressed to the Controller General, has questioned the circumstances Diana Gamage obtained two Sri Lankan passports, bearing nos 5091386 and Ol 5654784 on January 24, 2014 and August 07, 2018, respectively, while retaining her British passport. The one issued in 2018 has been categorized as an official passport.

The Counsel for civil society activist Oshala Herath, pursuing legal measures against the rebel Samagi Jana Balawegala (SJB) lawmaker, has sought an explanation regarding the issuance of two Sri Lankan passports to Gamage, who used British passport bearing no 521398876.

Referring to relevant records, maintained at the Immigration and Emigration Department, Herath has asked how British passport holder Diana Gamage continued to live here, without renewing/obtaining a new visa. According to the lawyer’s complaint to the Immigration and Emigration Chief, the visa, issued to Gamage, had lapsed on July 16, 2015 and, thereafter, there was absolutely no evidence to suggest issuance of a fresh valid document.

Herath, the former presidential media aide, during the Yahapalana administration, and failed UNP candidate, at the 2020 general election, told The Island that the recent enactment of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution should compel the Parliament to take tangible measures to remove, not only dual citizens, but foreigners, as well. The Parliament couldn’t continue to turn a blind eye to the issue at hand, particularly against the backdrop of reportage of the British passport matter.

The SJB accommodated Diana Gamage on its National List in appreciation for her, and her husband, Senaka Silva, allowing the breakaway UNP faction, led by Sajith Premadasa, to contest through their party. They also allowed the re-registration of the party as Samagi Jana Balawegala.

The lawyer has also raised Diana Gamage having two birth certificates ,bearing nos 6553 and 4683, on the basis of documents submitted to obtain two Sri Lankan passports, in 2014 and 2018.

On behalf of Herath, lawyer Gallearachchi has requested that the MP be dealt with in terms of the Immigration and Emigration Act, including overstaying visa, and recovering the two Sri Lankan passports.

Meanwhile, Herath has also lodged a complaint with the CIABOC over the inordinate delay, on the part of the Immigration and Emigration Department, to take action, in spite of a lengthy CID investigation that proved the accusations beyond doubt. In spite of the disclosures, pertaining to the issuance of Sri Lankan passports, in 2014 and 2018, and the outcome of the CID investigation being reported to Court, the incumbent Immigration and Emigration Controller issued a diplomatic passport, bearing no D 5659363 to lawmaker Gamage.

Herath has asked how the incumbent controller ignored a letter dated Dec. 15, 2021 written by his predecessor U. V. Sarath Rupasiri, addressed to Defence Secretary, Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, regarding Diana Gamage’s status that she was not a Sri Lanka citizen, hence couldn’t be issued a passport.

Lawyer Gallearachchi has written to Immigration and Emigration Chief, in the wake of Colombo Chief Magistrate, Nandana Amarasinghe, temporarily lifting the travel ban imposed on Diana Gamage for a period of five days.

The Magistrate made this order, subsequent to a request made by President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne.

The Magistrate ordered the temporary lifting of her travel ban on two sureties of Rs.200,000 each.

The SJB recently moved Court against its own National List MP over the issues in hand.

President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne appeared for the State Minister.