FactCheck investigated the MP’s claim in three ways: through (1) information in the public domain; (2) directly requesting MP Jayakody for his source of information; and (3) publicly inviting verification of this claim on our FactCheck platforms.
According to Article 91(1)(d)(xiii) of the Sri Lankan Constitution, “a citizen of Sri Lanka who is also a citizen of another country shall not be qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in Parliament”. The MP’s claim, in essence, is that some TNA MPs are in violation of this constitutional provision.
When the same allegation of dual citizenship was made against MP Geetha Kumarasinghe in early 2017, a Writ of Quo Warranto was filed in the Court of Appeal, which required her to relinquish her MP post. Following this, in a media release on 24 August 2017, PAFFREL publicised information it received from the Department of Immigration and Emigration under a Right to Information request. This information confirmed MP Geetha Kumarasinghe to be the only MP with a dual citizenship certificate.
FactCheck did not obtain any information that deviated from the information publicised by PAFFREL from either (1) the public domain; (2) direct contact with MP Jayakody; or (3) response to the public request for information on our platforms.
Therefore, we classify the MP’s claim as BLATANTLY FALSE.
*FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment.
This fact check was initially published with a verdict of “VERIFY” on the FactCheck Facebook platform on 8 February 2019. Shortly after publication, FactCheck informed MP Jayakody of the fact check via post and telephone.
We promised our readers that we would review our verdict after allowing MP Jayakody until 28 February 2019 to provide any available evidence for his claim.
MP Jayakody has been in contact with FactCheck following our communication. However, FactCheck has not received any information from the MP, or other sources, that could elucidate his basis for the claim.
Accordingly, the verdict of the FactCheck has been updated to BLATANTLY FALSE, given the contrary evidence in the public domain that Geetha Kumarasinghe was the only MP in parliament to hold dual citizenship.
- People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections, Media Releases, “Geetha Kumarasinghe is the only MP that holds dual citizenship – Immigration and Emigration Controller affirms”, 24 August 2017, available at: http://www.paffrel.com/posters/170824120842Binder1.pdf
- Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka [as amended], available at: https://www.parliament.lk/files/pdf/constitution.pdf