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Udayanga issued ordinary passport – Minister

Minister of Cultural Affairs, Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development, S.B. Navinna, informed Parliament yesterday that diplomatic passports issued to former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga and his wife had been cancelled and they had been issued normal passports.

The Minister said the change to ordinary passports had been effected prior to a Court order being issued against the couple and that had there been a Court order prior to that, such passports would not have been issued.

The Minister made these remarks in response to a question posed by JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa who claimed that Weeratunga had been charged with various crimes including allegations made against him by the Ukranian Government.

Former Ambassador Weeratunga has been linked to the death of a Sri Lankan employee at the Lankan Embassy in Moscow. MP Jayatissa demanded to know who had permitted an individual with such allegations against him to be issued a new passport.

The Minister explained that there was no problem with the renewal or issuance of a new passport to an individual who had been accused of a crime as long as there was no judgment or Court order against the said individual, adding that following developments in the case, the Controller of Immigration and Emigration had informed the International Police (INTERPOL) of Weeratunga and the allegations against him.

The Minister went on to say that Weeratunga's wife had returned to the country and was responsible for obtaining a new passport for her husband while the Police were investigating complaints against him. The Minister noted that these developments had taken place with the concurrence and assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that the new Government had cancelled the diplomatic passport given to Weeratunga and issued him an ordinary passport despite there being a Court order to the contrary.
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