ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new government is to take legal action against the former ruling alliance for spending public money on its election campaign and seeking payment for hiring state-owned buses to transport participants to political rallies.
“Although bills have been sent, the payment have not been settled,” government spokesman Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
Claim have sent to the General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) demanding payment of 142.5 million rupees for unsettled dues owed to the state-run Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), he told a news conference.
The UPFA formed the government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa until the latter lost the January 8, 2015 presidential elections.
Investigations by the new government has revealed several cases of public money being spent by the former rulers for Rajaaksa’s election campaign, Senaratne said.
Only 50 million rupees had been provided as advance payment for hiring SLTB buses and the former ruling alliance need to pay 142.5 million rupees more, he said.
Buses of the Sri Lanka Transport Board had been hired to transport participants to political rallies of the UPFA.
In another case, a 50-foot stretch of wall at Shalika Ground in Colombo had been demolished owing to its use for presidential election meetings and had to be repaired at great cost, Senaratne said.
“The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to take legal action to get payments due and obtain compensation for damage caused,” he said.
These were cases of spending by institutions under the Ministry of Internal Transport during the January 2015 presidential election campaign on external activities which do not come under official duties, he added.
Another 8.2 million rupees had been incurred by the National Transport Commission on an event where former president Mahinda Rajapaksa met bus owners, drivers and conductors on 6 December 2014, he said.
(Colombo/July 23 2015)