Politicos deny spending Rs. 2.8bn on new vehicles

Politicos deny spending Rs. 2.8bn on new vehicles

Written by Staff Writer

08 Feb, 2020 | 9:51 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- Several MPs and ministers responded to the statement made by Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday (February 7), regarding a cost of Rs. 2.8 billion incurred by the government to import vehicles for ministers and ministries of the previous regime.

The former Minister of Power, Energy & Business Development, Ravi Karunanayake speaking on the matter said:

“When Minister Johnston Fernando revealed all of that information yesterday, he did not reveal anyone’s name. But I am a politician who used the same old vehicle during the five year period when I served as the finance minister, foreign minister and minister of power.”

Also commenting on the subject, former Non-Cabinet Minister of Science & Technology and Research, Sujeewa Senasinghe said:

“There are many other important issues that must be pointed out. If you take a look at the expenses incurred by Mahinda Rajapaksa for his helicopter trips during the 52-day political turmoil, we can get a clear picture of how public funds were misused. These vehicles are capital assets, that can be used by the next minister who assumes duties. I used a vehicle that was nearly ten years old for about three years.”

Former Minister of Land and Parliamentary Reforms, Gayantha Karunathilaka says:

“I served as a minister for nearly four and a half years. But a vehicle was never purchased by the ministry for my use. While I served as the minister of mass media, I used the vehicle of my predecessor, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. After taking over as Minister of Land, we used the same vehicles that belonged to the ministry, and when we left, we handed over everything to the next minister.”

Former State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Ashok Abeysinghe said:

“Vehicles were not purchased for the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation. During the past five years, we used the same old vehicles. When we came to power in 2015, many have forgotten how vehicles were abandoned in many places, and how vehicles that belonged to the government were privately held by certain state officials. Back then, this was normal. However, our government never did this.”

The Minister of Transport Service Management and Power & Energy, Mahinda Amaraweera also spoke of the issue, saying;

“It was mentioned in parliament that a Benz car for a cost of Rs. 42 million, was imported for me. I was shocked by this statement, as I have not purchased any vehicle for more than ten years. I have always used second-hand vehicles. So we must launch an investigation to find out, what happened to this vehicle? If the government decides to sell these vehicles at a public auction, I would not oppose it.”

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, Chandima Weerakkody says;

“We have not purchased vehicles for billions of rupees. We are from the Galle district. No matter the position we held, we have used only one vehicle, and that too because we cannot travel to Galle without one. When a vehicle is purchased by a ministry, that is generally used for about 30 years. Mitsubishi jeeps that were purchased in the 1980s are still being used. But if we look into the past four to five years, many luxurious vehicles that were purchased have been abandoned in car parks. Now, this is a matter that the government must look into.”

The Former Minister of Science, Technology & Vocational Training, Dr Sarath Amunugama also speaking on the issue added;

“Some politicians who initially came in bicycles, now travel in Benz cars. But locals in the area are aware of their true background. The general public must analyze all of this, and take the right decision in the upcoming general election. Locals in the area should identify those who obtained bar licenses and those involved in illegal sand mining.”

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