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Lankan police to hunt ex-president’s brother on charges of fraud

Qadijah Irshad
Filed on March 27, 2015

Basil Rajapaksa, who is a US citizen, left the country with his wife for the US immediately after his brotherís shock defeat at the presidential elections in January.

Colombo — The Sri Lankan police will seek court order to extradite Basil Rajapaksa, the former economic minister and brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa to investigate allegations of fraud running into millions of dollars.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told reporters on Wednesday that the newly established Financial Fraud Investigations Division (FFID) seeks to bring back Mahinda Rajapaksa in order to question him over alleged financial fraud of over 70 million rupees during his tenure as economic minister.

However, the police said that it could not locate Rajapaksa’s whereabouts to bring him in to conduct investigations.

“We have to inform the former minister to appear before the FFID to give a statement but we do not know his whereabouts, except that he is not in Sri Lanka,” the police spokesman said.

Gunasekara said that the Sri Lankan police is seeking the assistance of Interpol to bring back the former minister to probe him on corruption charges.

Basil Rajapaksa, who is a US citizen, left the country with his wife for the US immediately after his brother’s shock defeat at the presidential elections in January.

However, a government official has claimed that Rajapaksa has fled to Vietnam to avoid extradition. Of the three brothers of the former president, Basil Rajapaksa had the most number of allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds levelled at him.

The Financial Fraud Investigations Unit set up by the new president Maithripala Sirisena is currently investing 38 cases of major scams using public funds during the previous Rajapaksa regime.

Basil Rajapaksa has been accused of spending over LKRs 70 million of gratuity funds belonging to the Divi Neguma, a community based programme based on micro-finance, physical and social infrastructure to strengthen 1.8 million families in Sri Lanka.

The police last week grilled the former director general of Divi Neguma R.R.A.K. Ranawaka over the LKRs 70 million fraud and other questionable deals falling under the ministry of Economic Development.

The police said that according to a statement given by Ranawaka, Basil Rajapaksa had ordered him to spend the monies on his brother’s presidential election campaign.

news@khaleejtimes.com





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