Payments to MPs: Austin promises to inquire into Dayasiri’s allegation

Can of worms about to be opened?


By Norman Palihawadane

Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando yesterday said that he would find out whether the Presidential Secretariat had the list of names of 118 MPs who had taken money from the Perpetual Treasuries.

Responding to a query whether the Presidential Secretariat had the full report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on the bond scam which contains the names of 118 MPs who had taken money from the Perpetual Treasuries as alleged by MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, Fernando told The Island that he needed to check with his office whether that statement was true.

Fernando said that he saw media reports of MP Jayasekara making a statement that there was a list of names of 118 MPs who obtained money from the Perpetual Treasuries.

"I will tell the media whether we have that list. I inquired from MP Jayasekara about his statement. He assured me that there was such a list in the Presidential Secretariat. I am not sure whether the list contains in an audio tape. In whatever case, I have to check it with secretariat officials," Fernando said.

He said that police could obtain permission from the Courts and get a fresh statement from Arjun Aloysius with regard to the issue.

The 16 SLFP MPs who had left the government said that they would file a Right To Information (RTI) application next week to obtain the list of names from the Presidential Secretariat.

Jayasekara told The Island on Monday that the PCoI report was publicized by the President’s Office earlier this year, but several hundred pages of the report were withheld. Jayasekara added that those withheld pages contained the names of MPs who received donations amounting to Rs 1.3 billion from Aloysius.

"The President’s Secretary should release the full document. A lot of people are asking me to reveal the names of the MPs who got money. The best thing is to release the full PCoI report," he said.

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