Sri Lanka finance minister apologises for drug dealer accusations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said he “deeply regrets” saying big drug dealers were holding positions in social services organisations like Lions, Rotary and some Buddhist charities.

“I understand that my comments would have resulted in causing pain of mind to many. To all of them, I express my sincere apologies,” he said in a statement.

Samaraweera said his remarks had been in response to a question on the restoration of capital punishment for drug dealers at a press conference last week.

“While reiterating my opposition to capital punishment, I said that certain individuals connected to the drug trade try to cover their sins by being benefactors of society, holding high positions in various organizations or as philanthropists in religious organizations,” the statement said.

“Inadvertently, I also mentioned Rotarians and Lions Clubs, which I deeply regret.”

Samaraweera said “there may be some individuals in society that join various organizations for such reasons.

“However, I fully recognize and acknowledge that this does not,in anyway, diminish the noble charitable work which has been,and continues to be done by these organizations throughout the country, especially for the poor, needy, destitute and the vulnerable.”
(COLOMBO, July 16, 2018)

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