PRECIFAC grills ex-army chief Ratnayake on flood relief distribution

Friday, 21 October 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Ex-Army Chief Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Daya Ratnayake was questioned by the anti-corruption commission yesterday for distributing flood relief, one week before the presidential elections.

 He was questioned by the Police Unit of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) for more than five hours over the alleged misappropriation of Rs. 50 million, which was allocated to distribute building materials for those in the flood-hit areas of Kurunegala, Ampara and Vavuniya.

 PRECIFAC sources told the Daily FT the ex-Army Commander had obtained money from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) without approval from the Ministry of Disaster Management.

“Rs. 50 million was credited to the Welfare Account of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) during his tenure as the Army Commander. The investigation was done to find out whether the entire allocation of Rs. 50 million was spent on distributing building materials and why it was hurriedly done a week before the elections,” PRECIFAC sources said.

Sources said, according to information, the money was distributed among the Army Brigades in those districts and the Brigade Commanders of those Brigades except those in the Kurunegala District have returned their allocations.

“They had spent Rs. 25 million to distribute building materials like roofing sheets and cement among families affected by the floods in the Kurunegala District on 30 December 2014, just a week before the elections,” he said.

However, he said the distribution of flood relief should have been done by the Government Agents of the respective areas and the Ministry of Disaster Management but not the SLA.

“The PRECIFAC police investigators have questioned the Brigade commanders of the respective Brigades before questioning Lt. Gen. Ratnayake,” he said. 

He was questioned by a team of police investigators led by ASP Lalith Abeysekara and assisted by Chief Inspector Geethika Bodhipaksa.

Meanwhile, sources said that Lt. Gen. Ratnayake had informed the police investigators that he had conducted the distribution in accordance with the guidelines of a circular.