Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday (11) called on the Elections Commission (EC) to take appropriate action against the politicians using the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopters for transport to and from campaign rallies.
Issuing a statement, TISL noted that such action could constitute a violation of the directions issued by the EC in its gazette notification.
‘The gazette states that All Secretaries of Ministries / Heads of Departments should ensure that public funds are not utilized for the use of airplanes or helicopters or other vehicles for political propaganda activities. TISL has simultaneously submitted a Right to Information (RTI) request to the Sri Lanka Air Force seeking details of any payments that have been made for such transportation,’ the statement said.
The statement further said that TISL observers have come across some incidents of using helicopters to transport politicians.
“In the past week reports have come in from rallies in Seruwawila, Kanthale and Trincomalee. The most recent report was received and photographed by TISL observers on 10 November 2019 when two helicopters were used to transport the New Democratic Front Candidate, Minister Sajith Premadasa and UNP Leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, respectively to campaign rallies in Nuwara Eliya, Badulla and Kegalle,’ the statement added.
“If these services have been paid for, the ability of certain candidates to procure such services raises questions around the financing of their campaigns. The candidates should use this opportunity to proactively disclose information on their campaign finances to underscore that state resources have not been misused” TISL quoted its Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere as saying.