Former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa told the police Financial Crimes Investigations Department (FCID) today that the freezing of funds to her NGO had resulted in the death of three patients who were receiving assistance through the fund.
Mrs. Rajapaksa gave a statement to the FCID this morning to assist in an investigation concerning ‘Siriliya Saviya’ an NGO run by her.
The FCID was informed that Siriliya Saviya is a charity, an NGO registered with the National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organisations and is financed by local and foreign donations.
Mrs Rajapaksa also stressed that no state funds were utilised in running this organization and that the Carlton Suwa Udana Programme is a part of Siriliya Saviya and was launched with the aim of building a children’s hospital with residential facilities for the mothers who look after their sick children. A fund was being raised for this purpose.
“Mrs Rajapaksa also said in her statement that owing to the freezing of the Siriliya Saviya bank account, she has come to know that three patients who had been receiving financial assistance from the organisation had died,” the office of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a statement.
The statement said that political opponents of the Rajapaksa government have alleged that the three individuals including Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa, authorised to sign cheques on behalf of Siriliya Saviya had provided ‘false’ national identity card numbers to the People’s Bank Suduwella Branch.
When the bank account was first opened by officials of the organisation a copy of Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaksa’s passport was given to the bank and the other two signatories Mrs K.H.A.N.Jeewani Kumari and Mrs S.K.K.Dissanayake, provided copies of their national identity cards to the bank.
The names and addresses of all three signatories in the bank’s system are correct but an error has obviously been made in entering the identity card numbers into the computer system. Cheques issued by Siriliya Saviya were not signed by non-existent persons. All three authorised signatories are real people who still serve the organisation. (Colombo Gazette)