Former Sri Lankan president refutes charges of graft

Calling recent reports by the current government “false and misleading”, the former president categorically denied recent allegations of misuse of public funds.

By Qadijah Irshad

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Published: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 1:59 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:43 PM

Colombo: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa who has been accused of massive abuse of his executive presidential powers during his 10-year terms has denied all charges of corruption and opulence levelled against him by the new government.

Calling recent reports by the current government “false and misleading”, the former president categorically denied recent allegations of misuse of public funds.

In a statement, he said that the alleged opulent lifestyle during his years in the presidency, widely reported by local and foreign media, has been exaggerated by the present government.

Rajapaksa denied recent reports that LKRs10 billion was allocated to the Presidential Secretariat for this year, which the current government said has been reduced to LKRs 2.720 billion.

“A sum of 10 billion was never allocated to the Presidential Secretariat. The actual sum allocated for 2015 was LKRs 9.593 billion,” said Rajapaksa in a statement, adding that the former presidents and their widows as well as several other projects were also maintained by the Presidential Secretariat during his tenure. Rajapaksa also denied charges of a special $16 million plane ordered for his exclusive use with taxpayers’ money and media reports that hint that several presidential residences were built by him.

“None of these properties were built during my tenure,” said the former president who together with his family, is being accused of numerous state resource abuse complaints including fraud, misuse of power and murder.

Rajapaksa said that it was “absurd” that the new government “discovered” 75 vehicles left abandoned, including bullet proof and luxury vehicles since his defeat in January as they were “parked in the official yards of Presidential Secretariat.”

The Rajapaksas are also being investigated by the current government in a money laundering scam where the former president and his brothers who were Defence Secretary and Economic Minister are said to have taken LKRs 700 billion ($5.31 billion) out of the country illegally through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The Seychelles government last month announced that it would assist the Sri Lankan government to investigate funds transferred to Port Victoria offshore bank accounts during the Rajapaksa regime.

news@kaleejtimes.com


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