Malik says CB has denied he received Rs. 150 mn


By Saman Indrajith

Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama yesterday called on the Speaker to take necessary steps to prevent Members of Parliament being insulted and defamed by the media, spreading fake news.

"If not, no decent person will want to enter Parliament," the Minister said.

Making a ministerial statement, he said that there seemed to be a determined attempt by certain sections of the social media and an electronic media channel to discredit him.

"While I was in Germany,

about 10 days ago, I was made to understand that a Director of Ceylon High Speed Railway Limited, a company who had sent a proposal to the Board of Investment (BOI) to produce and export high speed trains, has accused the State Minister and myself of requesting a commission of US 25 million to have the project proposal approved. This is a totally false allegation. In fact, I have never met this party; nor have I spoken to them or even seen the colour of them.

"I do not wish to delve into details of the process through which the BOI and the Single Window Investment Approval Committee approves the investments proposals submitted to the BOI, since the BOI officials have given a detailed description of how the proposals are evaluated and approved. At no stage do the ministers get involved in the approval process. However, I have requested for and received a report on this proposal from BOI which I would like to table.

"I would like to highlight some elements of the proposal submitted, so that Members of this House can see for themselves whether the proposal should be approved or not.

"Again last week the same media institutions alleged that a sum of Rs 150 million had been received to be credited to my Bank account, and the Central Bank had frozen the funds.

"This is a totally false allegation. I have checked with the Central Bank and I am informed that no such funds had been received to be credited to anyone of the Cabinet of Ministers’ accounts.

"However, I have written to DIG –CID to investigate this matter urgently and take necessary action against any Cabinet Minister if such funds have been received.

"Is this the media freedom that we wanted? This is nothing but freedom of the wild ass."

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