President Maithripala Sirisena said of the out of Rs 10 trillion loans taken, only about Rs 1 trillion could be properly accounted for in the assets as per documents at the Finance Ministry. He made this revelation at a media briefing with newspaper editors and heads of media institutions at the Presidents House in Colombo today.
Furthermore, a large sum of funds that should have been deposited with the treasury have gone to private companies and institutions and that has been done in a systematic manner to avoid disclosure, he said.
He said that there were sale of state owned institutions and state properties during the last three years of the current Government, and some of these deals were done without even informing the cabinet of ministers.
“I left the ministerial post in the last Government and became the common candidate with the promise of ending frauds, bribery and corruption and I will continue my crusade against corruption and malpractices without giving any consideration to the political party or status of the persons involved in such deals,” he said. He added that many individuals in the Government and the opposition were angry about the steps he has taken in that direction, but vowed that he would continue the fight against corruption.
The President said that an unholy alliance of elite robbers both in the Government and the opposition had managed to delay the debate on the Central Bank bond commission report and the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into serious acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC). He challenged them to hold the debate on the bond commission and PRECIFAC report before February 10, prior to the Local Government elections.
President Sirisena said a coalition of VIP ‘robbers’ involved in the bond scam attached to the Government and the opposition had gathered at a house in Borella and decided to delay the debate on both reports.
He said they had met the day before when Parliament decided to hold the debate after the election.
President Sirisena said after receiving the bond commission report by him, the opposition had continuously urged to hold a debate on it and to make it a public document immediately. “By then I had not read the full report. Within three days time, I went through it and made a statement with regard to it after consulting senior legal experts and senior public servants including Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando. Then, the bond commission and PRECIFAC reports were presented in Parliament,”
He said, however, surprisingly these parties were silent after presenting these two reports to the Parliament and they had decided to hold the debate after the Local Government election.
The President also referred to the cost of living and mentioned that some imported items worth Rs 500 were sold for exorbitant prices such as Rs 1,500. He said that there were some political hands interfering in price fixing and expressed concern about the delays on the part of the Consumer authority to check such trade practices. He said that he would take every possible step to find early solutions to these issues.
President Sirisena, stating that the Government is fully committed to hold a free and fair election and assured fullest support to the Election Commission in this endeavour. (Colombo Gazette)