Dispute over Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship fueled with more controversies

Dispute over Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship fueled with more controversies

3 October 2019 03:52 pm

The petition filed before the Court of Appeal regarding the dual citizenship of Gotabaya Rajapakse has a number of issues not specifically highlighted, Mr. K.W. Pathirana, a citizen of Los Angeles, US said.

Anyone acquired retention citizenship of the US automatically is withdrawn from his or her previous citizenship status. If he or she wishes to obtain Sri Lankan Dual Citizenship then he or she has to submit application to the Department of Immigration & Emigration. 

It is possible to request under several categories.

1. Age over 55
2. On movable and immovable property in Sri Lanka
3. Education qualifications (degree or diploma from a recognized university)

Either of the above qualifications would suffice to apply for dual citizenship. The most important certificate to be submitted along with the application is the Police Clearance Certificate obtained from the Police Headquarters at the place where the citizenship resides. Because Gotabaya Rajapaksa resided in California State, he shall obtain the PCC from the respective police headquarters. He shall go to the respective police headquarters and submit an application to obtain the clearance at a prescribed fee. There the applicant's fingerprints are obtained.

This certificate is known as the Certificate of Conduct and Non-Criminal Fingerprint.

This Certificate after obtaining the above application and obtaining the Fingerprints is issued within a maximum of fourteen days (two weeks). This is because the applicant needs to be cross-referenced whether has been convicted of a criminal offense, which is a due process. The certificate itself states that the validity period of this certificate is sixty days from the date of issue. It cannot be argued that he brought it before he came to Sri Lanka. The validity period is two months!

Mr. Pathirana from Los Angeles questioned whether Gotabaya Rajapaksa in obtaining the dual citizenship in Sri Lanka three days after then President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office had submitted the Police Clearance Certificate from his respective state when he was on a tourist VISA. (The purpose of this is to ascertain whether or not he or she has committed a criminal offense before being granted dual citizenship.) In order to obtain the PCC, he must go to the respective police headquarters. This is because the fingerprints of the applicant are required to provide the certificate.

If Gotabhaya Rajapakse claims to have obtained dual citizenship within a maximum of three days, including Saturdays and Sundays, he cannot under any circumstances submit the PCC, Mr. Pathirana argued. 

After completing all the above conditions for obtaining dual citizenship, the application will be registered and forwarded to a committee which includes the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, which will then review and approve the merits of the applications. The applicant will be informed to pay the relevant fees, if any Mr. Pathirana says that the Minister's final approval will be given after the payment.

If the file pertaining to the dual citizenship of Mr. Rajapaksa is reported to have been missing, it is possible to inquire from the Police Headquarters in California where he resided through the Ministry of External Affairs to see whether he has obtained the PCC from the US which is mandatory in that file. Such verification would easily reveal whether Gotabaya Rajapaksa had actually obtained the PCC.

However, the dates cannot be corroborated given his statement and it is not possible he had obtained such clearance, which should be brought to the attention of the judiciary, Mr. Pathirana stressed. 

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