Mahinda denies allegations on misuse of funds
June 14, 2015 05:47 pm
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday dismissed allegations that former first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa had got Siriliya Saviya funds transferred to her personal account and that she had bought a house with the money.
Issuing a statement, Rajapaksa said, “At a press conference last Friday former president Chandria Kumaratunga alleged that Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa had got Siriliya Saviya funds transferred to her personal account and that she had bought a house with the money. The FCID had in fact asked Mrs Rajapaksa about the purchase of the property at No: 260/12 Torrington Avenue Colombo 5. It was Mrs Rajapaksa’s nephew Dilshan Wickremesinghe, a businessman, who had loaned her Rs. 35 million to buy this property. This money had been declared in Dilshan Wickremesinghe’s tax returns as an amount lent to Mrs Rajapaksa. This outstanding loan has also been declared in former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official assets and liabilities statement and also his tax returns as a liability of his family. Siriliya Saviya money was not used to buy this property which is now used as a storage facility.
Various stories have also been circulating about the unregistered Prado jeep belonging to Siriliya Saviya that met with an accident in Tangalle in the early hours of June 9. This vehicle was one among many imported duty-free into the country by the World Food Programme (WFP) in the wake of the 2004 December Tsunami. They were released immediately to the WFP for emergency relief work with red number plates that authorised the use of these vehicles without being registered with the RMV. After using these vehicles for several years, the WFP donated them to various governmental and non-governmental organisations.
In 2012, Siriliya Saviya received two of these Prado vehicles bearing red number plates CR 109 and CR 114. However, Siriliya Saviya was not able to get these two vehicles registered, due to the heavy import duties imposed by the Customs dept. Hence the two vehicles remained unused for the past three years and were parked in a land in Weeraketiya. No one had been authorised or given permission by Siriliya Saviya to use these vehicles for any purpose. The Prado that met with an accident was not a vehicle belonging to the presidential secretariat as some have alleged. Furthermore these vehicles are now around ten years old.”