Written by Keshala Dias
30 Nov, 2016 | 10:11 pm
In parliament today, the JVP called for a special investigation into alleged irregularities which are said to have taken place at the Ministry of External Affairs during the tenure of the previous government.
JVP parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake said, during the previous administration, the Foreign Ministry had been transformed into a “ministry of thugs” and that it could not be found who the foreign minister was.
“There were hotel bills of 2.5 million for a day”, he added, “Have investigations been conducted in this regard? Who were the officials who approved this? This is a ministry which watched pornographic films at the expense of the government’s tax money”.
He went on to note that when they broke their legs while on unofficial trips in Australia for other purposes, a sum of Rs.10.9 million of the tax payers’ money was spent.
“This is shameful. Is this Swaziland? Shouldn’t these be investigated? Doesn’t the country need to be told? Shouldn’t those responsible be punished? Who paid these bills?”, he added.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera said that with the intention of isolating the country, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has spent Rs.2.3 billion for overseas tours of the president and his family for just two years between 2012 and 2014. He said that even the youngest son went to Japan in 2014 at a cost of Rs.2.68 million of the government’s money.
He went on to note that a new house was obtained on rent in Los Angeles at a time when there wasn’t a single Consul General – and a sum of twenty seven million ninety eight thousand six hundred and fifty three rupees had been spent on maintenance..
MP Sunil Handunnetti intervened in between to ask who approved the payment for these happenings stated by MP Mangala Samaraweera.
In response, MP Samaraweera said, several investigations are being held now and that he personally examined the documents as to who approved these payments
“Two members of the army have also been sent on this overseas trip for the security Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s son”, he added. “A lobbying firm was hired between 2009 and 2014 in the United States for a sum of over Rs. 339 billion under Sajin Vass Gunawardena, most of this was approved by Ajith Nivard Cabraal”.
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe : What happened to my friend Prof. G.L. Peiris?
Sunil Handunnetti : I propose that we appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee, during this working committee meeting itself to conduct a special investigation on these matters at the Foreign Ministry from between 2010 and 2015.
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe : We have no objection. If someone proposes it, I suppose you could get it done.
Mangala Samaraweera : I think MP Lokuge is trying to second it.
Gamini Lokuge : Include the bond scam into this as well.
Mangala Samaraweera : One wrong thing does not make the other wrong things right. Do not try to evade the problem.
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe : Yes I agree with you, please sit. We have looked into the bond issue of the Central Bank, but this time we will hand over the task of investigating the buildings which were bought in Brazil and New York by the Central Bank.
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