01 August 2015
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Faizer Mustafa and Ali Sabri in sells Gota!

gota fiser sabri editedDeputy minister Faizer Mustafa, and Ali Sabri, the personal lawyer to the defence secretary, the two recently sworn-in president’s counsels, are levying fees far surpassing those of all senior PCs in Sri Lanka to engage in a daylight fraud to swindle money of the state, say sources at the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

According to traditions in the legal profession, a cabinet minister or a deputy minister cannot represent clients in a court of law while holding political office. That is an accepted tradition not only in Sri Lanka, but also in the rest of the world. However, deputy minister Faizer Mustafa has misled Parliament and is using an unlawful permission given by the Speaker to engage in the legal profession while holding political office. In response to a preplanned oral question by an MP, the speaker has said that government ministers and deputy ministers are not impeded from engaging in the legal profession. The speaker has no constitutional right to give such an authoritarian decision without any precedence. The speaker’s decision is not surprising, given the Sri Lankan ideal of ‘Naduth Hamuduruwange – Baduth Hamuduruwange.’

Through that authoritarian decision by the speaker, deputy minister Faizer Mustafa has opened for himself an unending treasure trove of wealth. Deputy minister Faizer Mustafa appears for court cases of government ministries and departments in total violation of the legal theory ‘conflict of interests.’ He charges Rs. 04 million for a single appearance in a case. If the hearing is taking place outside Colombo, his travelling facilities should be arranged. The tavelling facilities are not a luxury vehicle, but a helicopter. Faizer tells his customers that they should rent the helicopter owned by supervising MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena for his travelling requirements, at a separate cost of between Rs. 300,000 and Rs. 1.5 million. Even senior PC Faiz Mustafa, who is Faizer Mustafa’s father, levies an all inclusive charge, including for travelling, of Rs. 1.5 million to attend a hearing at the Kandy district court. The son’s fee is three-fold higher. That is because the payments are being made from state money.

The personal lawyer of the defence secretary M.U.M. Ali Sabri, too, is swindling money of the state in a similar manner. Born to a poor family in Kalutara, he received his preliminary education at Kalutara Central College and the secondary education at Zahira College, Maradana. While doing his first job at ‘Sam Gems’, he passed the Law College entrance examination in 1992 and took oaths as a lawyer in 1995 after sitting for the final examination. While being a first year student of the Law College, he joined the SLFP Lawyers Union and caught the attention of former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, who had been campaigning in the Attanagalle area at the time. After taking oaths as a lawyer, he was appointed a director of the Youth Services Authority of Minister S.B. Dissanayake and was then posted to Jeddah as the Sri Lankan consul there. With the mediation of his contemporary in Saudi Arabia, ambassador Naufer Jabir, Ali Zabri got married to the daughter of the owner of renowned ‘Stone n String’ and buried his past life of poverty. From then on, he began behaving like a Colombo 7 super class Muslim. Very good at knowing where his personal intersts lie, he discarded his links with Chandrika once Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected president and became a close ally of the Rajapaksas.

His per one-hour legal consultation fee of Rs. 50,000 a few years ago has now been increased to Rs. 01 million. If anything wants to be get done from the Urban Development Authority or the Defence Ministry, the lawyer to be reached is Ali Sabri. Or Faizer Mustafa. Both say publicly that they have to give half of their income to the defence secretary. And, they say that, that is why their fees are higher than the other lawyers, and that it is them who should be reached if anything to wants to be get done fast without any delay. The lands and unlawful constructions coming under the Urban Development Authority have become a treasure trove of wealth for both of them. According to BASL sources, Faizer Mustafa and Ali Sabri each earn a monthly income of Rs. 50 million.

Both are making their services available to UNP MPs with the hope to preventing any drying out of their fountain of wealth in the future too.

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