Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that plans were afoot to assign the Wijerama Mawatha residence currently occupied by President Maitripala Sirisena to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his official residence.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardane on the inadequate security both in terms of personnel and vehicles to Mr . Rajapaksa.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said the President would move into the residence which was occupied by the late President D.B. Wijetunga in Colombo. He said it was being repaired at the moment. However, he said the government could assign a different house to Mr. Rajapaksa if the repair work was delayed .
According to the law which stipulates benefits for former Heads of State, he said an ex president was entitled to two official residences .
Besides, he said he said 105 police officers including three ASPs had been assigned to the security detail of Mr. Rajapaksa in addition to 104 armed forces personnel including 14 officers.
The Prime Minister said a bullet proof Benz car and bullet proof BMW jeep were used by Mr. Rajapaksa. Other vehicles assigned for his use includes one Defender, one Double Ca andone Land Cruiser in addition to 21 vehicles provided for the use of his security purposes. They include a car, three Defenders, three Land Cruiser Jeeps, two Double Cabs, three signal cabs, four trucks ,two buses and three motor bikes.
The Prime Minister said , " We have to provide security to him. There is no question about that."
He also promised to increase security for Mr. Rajapaksa during the election time if needed.(Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)