Gotabaya rejects Raviís accusation on BoC account
January 19, 2015 12:57 pm
Former Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, today rejected allegations leveled against him, regarding an account in the Thaprobane Branch of the Bank of Ceylon containing nearly Rs 8 billion under his name.
In a press conference yesterday (18), newly appointed Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake claimed that a sum of Rs. 7,500 million was found in the bank account under the name of the former Defence Secretary and that the money has now been transferred to the Treasury.
“This is grossly misleading and appears to discredit my reputation with ulterior motive,” Rajapaksa said, in a statement released to media.
He stated that there is an Operational Account held with the Bank of Ceylon Thapprobane Branch dedicated for the use of financing the construction of Army Headquarters building at Pelawatta.
He alleged that the account was created with the approval of the Cabinet from the revenue from the sale of land at Galle Face, Colombo where the Army Headquarters was previously located.
“After the relocation and construction work was started, withdrawals were to be made from it based on the progress of the construction work undertaken by various contractors and suppliers,” he said.
Rajapaksa says the account is operated by the Chief Accountant and other authorized officials of the Ministry of Defence under the overall supervision of the Secretary of Defence.
“All cheques are issued with two signatures upon the receipts of certified payment vouchers. As I recall, the Account was open with the total receipts of about Rs. 20 billion in 2011 and withdrawals have been made each year thereafter for the payment of certified claims from contractors,” he said.
He added that the names and signatures of authorized persons are available with the Bank and Chief Accountant of the ministry and that the balance as at the last day of his holding office was “certainly over Rs. 8 billion.”
“The figures can be verified from the Treasury as annual deposit balance is reported to the Government balance Sheet,” Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.
“As I have ceased to be the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, my successor is the automatic custodian of that Account and he can verify all these. My name appears in the signature card in my capacity as Secretary Defence along with other authorized officials and hence it has nothing to do with my personal account.”
“Therefore, there is no truth whatsoever that I have a personal account in the Bank of Ceylon with Rs. 8 billion. I deny this completely and request the Secretary to verify this with the bank and the Treasury and disclose the correct situation on this account,” he said.