Mahinda denies Mangala’s allegations

Sunday, 10 May 2015 14:29 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday denied allegations by the Government that he had siphoned state funds during his decade-long tenure in office and also held assets worth $ 18 billion overseas.

Rajapaksa’s response came a day after Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists in Colombo said that according to intelligence reports, the former leader had stashed billions of dollars abroad and was involved in mass-scale corruption.

The Foreign Minister added that Rajapaksa along with his family were second among heads of state and government who had stashed billions abroad, according to a list prepared by Transparency International (TI) Germany.

Samaraweera also revealed that Sri Lanka had the backing of four nations to trace these illegal sums and assets owned by the former leader.

Rajapaksa, however, in a statement released today, denied all these allegations, stating that neither he nor his family held any secret offshore accounts or foreign assets and blamed the Government for carrying out a false propaganda campaign to ruin his image.

“In making the statement about my family’s supposed $ 18 billion fortune, Minister Samaraweera took the precaution of adding that he did not know whether this information was correct or not. By covering himself in that manner, fiction can be passed off as fact,” he said.

“I would like to inform the public once again that neither I nor my wife, sons nor my brothers has secret offshore accounts or illegal overseas investments in front companies,” Rajapaksa said.

The former leader and his brothers face a corruption probe in the country after his surprise defeat at the 8 January presidential election to his onetime Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.

During a recent discussion with the new Sri Lankan President, Rajapaksa urged Sirisena to drop the investigations against his family and supporters. This request was turned down. (Colombo Gazette)