Sri Lanka’s top court says ex-president among those who contributed to economic crisis

By Uditha Jayasinghe

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s top court ruled on Tuesday that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, former Prime Minister Mahinda, were among several government officials whose conduct contributed to the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

The court was ruling was on a petition filed against 13 former officials by rights group Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) which said the Rajapaksa brothers and others were responsible for the crisis.

“Their actions, omissions and conduct contributed to the crisis,” the ruling said. The court did not order any punishment, according to a statement by TISL.

The two Rajapaksa brothers, two former central bank governors and President Ranil Wickremesinghe were among those named in the landmark TISL petition.

Wickremesinghe was prime minister at the time of the crisis.

“Looking forward, we hope that this acts as a warning to elected representatives and public officials as they make critical decisions that have serious implications on the lives of citizens,” said Nadishani Perera, TISL Executive Director.

Sri Lanka’s economy collapsed as it shrank 7.8% last year, pummelled by long power cuts, soaring inflation, a plunging rupee and record high interest rates caused by the worst financial crisis in over seven decades.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe, editing by Ed Osmond and Miral Fahmy)