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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Ready to Face Challenges on Behalf of 1.4 million Samudhri Benificiaries

Colombo, 24 April, (Asiantribune.com):

Prison authorities yesterday transferred former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa from Welikada prison hospital to ward 43 of the National hospital.

Prison officials said that the former Minister had been moved to the National hospital on the advice of doctors.

Sources said that Gampaha District MP had been suffering from high blood pressure and the Judicial Medical Officer decided to move him.

In the meantime former Economic Development Minister and MP Basil Rajapaksa told the media when he was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate on 22 April that “All Divi Neguma funds were spent for the people’s welfare and if doing so is wrong I am ready to face any challenge on the people’s behalf,” former Economic Development Minister and MP Basil Rajapaksa told the media when he was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate on 22 April.

He pledged he would campaign for “a people’s regime instead of a regime which has now emerged in the name of good governance but is doing the opposite”.

After recording for nearly eight hours MP Rajapaksa’s statement he gave to assist the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division, Kollupitiya in probing the activities of the Divi Neguma Department on 22 April, he along with former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke and former Divi Neguma Director-General R.A.K. Ranawaka were produced by the Police before Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Ganepola.

The Magistrate remanded them till 5 May and gave permission for Basil Rajapaksa to be admitted to the Prison Hospital for medical treatment.

Charges of misappropriating State funds were filed against the former Minister, former Ministry Secretary and former Divi Neguma Director-General in connection with

(1) providing 1.4 million Samurdhi beneficiary families each with 2,500 (a total of Rs.2,900 million) under the first stage of providing Rs.10,000 for repairing their houses under the Isurumath Niwasa program;

(2) paying Rs.1,700 million from Divi Neguma funds as compensation to 1,067 Samurdhi Officers who voluntarily retired when establishing the Divi Neguma Department by combining five institutions including the Samurdhi Authority, until the Treasury took over the responsibility of the payments; and

(3) Spending Rs. 23 million on printing five million almanacs for year 2015.

Former Minister Rajapaksa said that since these benefits were given direct to the Samurdhi beneficiaries, there was no possibility any financial irregularity. He added that the ‘Yahapalana’ Government’s 100-day program has only exposed the regime’s failure and that there had been no development in the country during the past three months.

Basil Rajapaksa, who resigned from the post of SLFP National Organiser accepting responsibility for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at the last presidential election, returned to the island on 21 April after undergoing medical treatment in the USA. Nearly 5,000 people were present at the airport to welcome him.

Dinesh Gunawardena, Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa were among 31 Opposition Parliamentarians who were present at the time Basil Rajapaksa was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate.

Others present included Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, Provincial Minister Nimal Lansa, provincial councillors and mayors, numbering nearly 100, around 2,000 supporters of Basil Rajapaksa and Coalition Government Ministers Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Deputy Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Lalith Dissanayake.

- Asian Tribune -

Basil Rajapaksa  when he was  produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate on 22 April
diconary view
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