Rajapaksa questioned by Lanka’s anti-graft panel

COLOMBO (TIP): Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was Sept 25 questioned by a special anti-corruption panel for allegedly not paying Rs 10.1 million dues to a state-owned TV channel for carrying out his 2015 presidential campaign propaganda.

The officials of Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into serious acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC) visited Rajapaksa’s residence and recorded his statement.

The 69-year-old former strongman was questioned over non-payment of money owed to ITN TV for broadcasting his poll advertisements during the election campaign, officials said.

An audit inquiry conducted by the ITN TV found that from November 24, 2015 to January 5, Rajapaksa had paid Rs 62 million to the channel for election advertisements. However, he still owes Rs 10.1 million for advertisements carried out during the period.

At the same period, the channel, which had agreed to air advertisements worth Rs 44 million of Rajapaksa’s rival Maiithripala Sirisena during the January polls, only aired advertisement worth of Rs 2.6 million despite the agreement.

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Since Rajapaksa was defeated by Sirisena in the presidential elections, the Rajapaksa family has faced multiple tribunals for alleged wrong doings.

Rajapaksa and his supporters have dubbed these as political vendetta.

His brothers Basil and Gotabhaya and elder son Namal have also been questioned in different graft cases since January.

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