Wimal ran taxi service with illegally obtained state vehicles - Rajitha

* Ashu Marasinghe resigned refusing to follow unlawful orders


by Zacki Jabbar

Former Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Wimal Weerawansa not only illegally obtained forty state vehicles for the use of his family members and stooges, but also ran a taxi service, the government charged yesterday.

Co Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Deparment said that it was due to a "load of evidence" that Court on Tuesday refused Weerawansa bail and further remanded him until February 7 .

Of the 40 vehicles belonging to the State Engineering Corporation that Weerawansa illegally obtained, 14 were given to his relations and stooges, while the majority of the other vehicles were used to run a taxi service",he noted adding that allegations of abusing state housing units were also being investigated.

Responding to a question, Senaratne said that there was no basis for accusations that Weerawansa had been remanded to prevent him from participating in the Sri Lanka Peoples Front led rally to be held at Nugegoda on Friday. After following proper investigative procedure which began about a year back , the Attorney General instituted legal action last last year .The date on which the case is heard is determined by court and not the government .

Deputy Media Minister Karunarantne Paranavithana said that Weerawansa had not been jailed as eroneously stated by some. A person, he noted could be sent to gallows only after charges were framed and proved in a court of law.

Minster Senaratne recalled that when he handed over the Construction and Engineering Services Ministry to Weerawansa it had been running at profit of Rs.290 million, but subsequent mismanagement had led to the Ministry becoming dependent on overdrafts. Ashu Marasinghe resigned as Chariman of the State Engineering Corporation refusing to follow Weerawansa's illegal directives.

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