Maithripala reveals tobacco industry attempt to bribe him

Money would have been sufficient for 14 generations

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said the tobacco industry had attempted to bribe him to block the issuance of the special gazette notification which made it mandatory for companies to print pictorial warnings covering 80 per cent of the principal display area of each packet of cigarette. The money offered to hime was sufficient for 14 generations to live in clover in a first world country, the minister said.

Minister Sirisena made the shocking revelation at a recent special felicitation ceremony on Monday at Royal College Polonnaruwa in recognition of the special WHO award conferred on him for his dedicated service.

The tobacco industry had sent some person to him for a discussion, while others wanted to see him at home or in Parliament, Minister Sirisena said, adding that many in the tobacco industry wanted him to stop his anti-smoking campaign. But, he did not want the money offered by the multinational tobacco companies, he said, adding that he would never betray the country and its people to any multinational company and would never give up his struggle.

As long as he was the Health Minister he would never change his principles., Minister Sirisena said, stressing that he loved his country more than any thing else and would lead the national struggle against smoking.

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