“Patta Pal Boru” (an outrageous lie) President Mahinda Rajapaksa thundered, when he angrily castigated the Chairman of The Sunday Leader. The President’s call to Chairman Lal Wickrematunge followed our lead story last week ‘Chinese Economic Hitmen And The Rajapaksas’ which said that in March this year, USD 9 million (over one billion rupees) was given as a grant to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to use at his discretion. According to highly places sources at the External Resources Department these monies were part of a grant amounting to a total USD 12 million for “enhancing friendly relations and bilateral economic and technical cooperation.”
China made another similar payment in June last year amounting to USD 500,000 to Namal Rajapaksa to promote IT technology among the youth in Sri Lanka.
As we pointed out in our article last week this is the first time in the history of the country that a foreign government has given grants to a country’s leader and his son; money to be used “at their discretion”.
The article provoked a furious response from the President who vehemently denied that China had given him over a billion rupees to use at his discretion.
Apart from our sources at the External Resources Department we reproduce today a photograph of Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera together with Fu Ziying, Vice Minister of Commerce, Government of the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka at the Ministry of Finance and Planning signing two Exchange of Letters during the three day visit of Fu Ziying to Sri Lanka when he arrived on March 16 this year.
We reproduce more than one news item carried to this effect including a television broadcast on State owned Independent Television Network (ITN) (below).
E-biz together with the Wijeya Groups Financial Times this year reported that the Government of the People’s Republic of China, with a view to further enhance friendly relations and bilateral economic and technical cooperation between the two countries, provided a grant of Yuan 50 million (approximately US$ 9 million) to Sri Lanka. In addition, Yuan 10 million (approximately US$ 2 million) for the provision of roofing sheets and engineering equipment to support relief efforts in flood area and Yuan 5 million (approximately US$ 1 million) for the extension of technical and support services for Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial and the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies were extended.
Our article last week sought to ascertain what has happened to the USD 9 million which according to our documentation was given to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to use at his discretion.
That the monies indeed were handed over is confirmed with the photograph we carry today and the fact that Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera signed two Exchange of Letters accepting the grant.
Despite the President’s angry response and veiled threat to Wickrematunge we stand by our story and continue to seek clarification from the president’s office in the name of good governance, transparency and accountability.
Instead of telephoning publishers and yelling at them Rajapaksa should have the foresight (he is after all President) to explain why his son was given USD half million? Why indeed did China choose to favour him with over one billion rupees to use at his discretion? Into which fund/account where these monies deposited? How are they to be utilized? Why was Parliament and the relevant line ministries bypassed?