Rajapaksa should have accepted responsibility before ‘sil redi’ judgement was delivered - JVP


by Saman Indrajith

The JVP yesterday said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should read the 19th amendment to the Constitution which clearly defines the term public servant.

Addressing a press conference held at the party head office in Pelawatte, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijtha Herath said that Rajapaksa had stated that his former Secretary Lalith Weeratunga was not a public servant.

"According to the provisions of the 19th amendment, the Secretary to the President is a public servant. Even before the enactment of the amendment, the Secretary to the President is not empowered to act against constitutional provisions. He or she is not allowed to break international laws too. He or she was required to act in accordance with the written law," MP Herath said.

He said: The question before us today is not whether Weeratunga was a thief or not in accordance with the constitution. The Rajapaksas cannot escape blame for this theft by blaming the Constitution. If Weeratunga is not a public servant, how could he obtain Rs 600 million from the funds of the Telecommunication Regulation Commission to spend on ‘sil redi’ which had been distributed during Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign? Now Rajapaksa says that the distribution of sil redi was part of implementing a government programme. That is a lie. If there was such a programme it should have been included in the budget proposals. We did not see such a programme proposed in the budget. Similarly such programmes should be included in the TRC’s Action Plan for the year. None of those documents had mentioned any distribution of  ‘sil redi’. That was proven in courts too. Therefore this is a clear misappropriation of public funds. Now after the judgment is delivered, Mahinda Rajapaksa says that he would accept responsibility. He should have said so when the case was being heard not now. He did not do so. Therefore it is now crystal clear that both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Lalith Weeratunga planned the project and implemented it.

The All Ceylon General Fishermen’s Federation Secretary Nishantha Ferdinando, the Ceylon Fisheries Harbour General Workers’ Union’s convenor Gamini Wickremesinghe also addressed the press conference.

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