'MR is entitled to have such facilities'

15 May 2016 08:01 pm - 30     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is entitled to be facilitated by the state for his travel expenses on official tours such as the Uganda trip, according to the law governing benefits for retiring presidents in the Presidents’ Entitlement Act no. 4 of 1986, his Private Secretary Udith Lokubandara said today.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the Private Secretary to the former president said there was no preference given by the Foreign Ministry to Mr. Rajapaksa, in deciding to bear the travel expenses of the Uganda trip.

According to the Presidents’ Entitlement Act no. 4 of 1986, there shall be provided to every former President, official transport and all such other facilities as are for the time being provided to a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Amidst the controversy about the state sponsoring the Former President for his Uganda trip following an invitation of the Ugandan government, Mr. Lokubandara said it was not a private trip, but was to represent the country at the inauguration ceremony of Ugandan President Yoweni Musaveni who was sworn in for his fifth term as President.

“His recent visit to Thailand was a private trip and therefore we did not inform the Foreign Ministry at that time. All the expenses were born by him,” Mr. Lokubandara said.

He said there should not be so much fuss about the state money given for the airlines tickets of Mr. Rajapaksa, because it should be done for any former president’s official tour.

However, he said the Foreign Ministry declined to bear the expenses of accommodation, food and security and only agreed with conditional facilities of travel fares.

“Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is entitled to have an office for him as same as the former president Chandrika Kumaratunga. When the office received an official invitation from the Ugandan government which has directly addressed and invited only Mr. Rajapaksa, we informed the Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera himself telephoned and informed us what procedures to follow. Everything was done in line with the normal protocol. No favoritism involved,” Mr. Lokubandara said.

He said after the Foreign Minister approved the tour, Mr. Rajapaksa’s office confirmed the Ugandan government about his attendance and requested them to provide him with other facilities.

Further, he said that the entourage comprising Gamini Lokuge, Dhanasiri Amaratunga, Lohan Ratwatte and some of Mr. Rajapaksa’s personal staff members bore their travel and other expense by themselves.

“It was a state visit as a former president of Sri Lanka who is having very good connections with foreign countries. Everyone talk about these few benefits he is entitled to, and not the due facilities. Even though he should be given an official residence, the government has not given him one. We are requesting and requesting, but to no avail,” he said. (Piyumi Fonseka)

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  Comments - 30

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  • S.Sriranjan Monday, 16 May 2016 06:14 PM

    3rd time failee attends the ceremony of 5 times succeeder!

    CitizenPerera Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:10 PM

    Just because a person is entitled to something by law does not mean it is morally justifiable. Here is a recent law that has come to be questioned by Internal jurisprudence. Sri Lanka law permits a Muslim man to marry a minor. But is that morally justifiable? Is this expense justified when the ordinary people are burdened with debts incurred by the very MP when he was in power?

    Citizen Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:11 PM

    You better tell these crap stories to put children sleep..

    BUSHEL Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:23 PM

    It is not the private sectary who should justify the grant. It is the government's role.

    Dayan Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:26 PM

    He is a MP and not a former president. He is lost president. Not to find means to eat up public funds.

    Unchikun Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:34 PM

    The guy is talking bull. If a ticket was given why not food and accommodation. It is just a coverup. Time to vote for the "Red Brothers" and get some sanity into the government.

    nalaks Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:45 PM

    MR trip was a total waste of valuable money. He is now a loss cause so no use for this country any more via DM Android App

    Hassanda Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:53 PM

    MR doesn't need the MEA's money The looted wealth of the country is enough for 100 Generations of the former ruler

    IVJ Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:10 PM

    Is CBK entitled for such benefits too? How come her entitlements were taken away? BTW, MR is an ordinary MP, how can he represent SL and on what capacity?

    idroos2002 Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:11 PM

    He entitlements r one thing but a former president has no right to represent the country .Its a foolish and a stupid protocol.No former presidents r invited for a swearing in of a elected president. Birds of feather flocking toghether

    Aba Jayasekera Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:22 PM

    Argument unacceptable. Invitation made to him personally so it is not a state invitation and accrediting does not arise.His travel expense cannot be met by the state. His assertion that he is entitled to travel expenses refer to expenses within Sri Lanka. He cannot go on foreign jaunts at public expense.

    anu Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:43 PM

    this is a stupid expense that this government is going to do... such kind of unnecessary expense should not be paid by the government... people are suffering from various Taxes.. they are enjoying from people money... via DM Android App

    GC Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:51 PM

    If this was an "official" tour of Sri Lanka, instead of an "official" tour of an ex-presidenta) Did the invitation come via the GOSL?b) Why is the justification not coming from the GOSL?c) Why was only travel fare and not accommodation and food paid?d) Why was the entourage not paid to travel?Over to you for an explanation, discredited so-called Yahapalanaya of MS and RW..

    kondaya77 Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:56 PM

    Good that Sri Lanka is a rich country! They can afford all these luxuries! No more begging bowls!!!1

    REALPATRIAT Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:12 PM

    SUCH FACILITIES ENTITLE ONLY FOR RETIRED PRESIDENT BUT MAARA IS NOT RETIRED HE WAS DEFEATED SO HE DOESNT ENTITLE FOR SUCH FACILITIES AND HE IS A MP NOW. via DM Android App

    TONY Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:30 PM

    HEY. IT WAS PUBLISHED THAT MR WENT TO UGANDA ON PERSONAL INVITATION AND THAT IT WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL TRIP. THAT IS WHY HE WANTED TO TAKE HIS SON ALONG WITH HIM, BUT THE COURT DID NOT PERMIT HIM TO TRAVEL

    TONY Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:33 PM

    PLEASE SHOW HIS INVITATION FOR US TO DETERMINE IF HE WENT ON OFFICIAL TRIP OR NOT. RE THAILAND TRIP, HE WOULD HAVE GOT HIS POCKETS FILLED BY HIS FRIEND WHOM HE MET IN THAILAND FOR HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES PLUS PLUS PLUS

    TONY Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:36 PM

    MR DOES IS REFUSING TO USE THE OFFICIAL RESIDENCE GIVEN TO HIM. HE MUST BE ASKING FOR TEMPLE TREES

    kolla Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:41 PM

    What a country to travel and have relationship. Is the next trip to swaziland.??? Udith you are a shame to your father WJM

    Tax Payer Sunday, 15 May 2016 10:45 PM

    It is high time that the Presidents Entitlement Act is done away with. via DM Android App

    yashy Monday, 16 May 2016 07:08 AM

    why cant he use the money that had been stolen over the years. He still cant get rid of his own habits of using state money. via DM iOS App

    Philip Monday, 16 May 2016 07:19 AM

    I do not represent any political party nor do I caste my vote, but as I understand Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse, would have been entitled to Government expenses, subject he retired from the Presidential position at the end of his term, but if he lost a presidential election after contesting, then he has to be treated as a normal citizen.(he still gets his pension etc). At present as he is a member of parliament he should be entitled, to the privileges of a Member of Parliament only.

    sanipanado Monday, 16 May 2016 07:19 AM

    Official Transport is not foreign Travel .

    Chandrica Monday, 16 May 2016 07:30 AM

    We await CBK's comment whether she was treated similerly

    PTH Monday, 16 May 2016 10:56 AM

    Certainly agreed.

    Prem Monday, 16 May 2016 11:01 AM

    To me, he is not entitled to such benifits as he is a defeated president not a retired one, and he is a member of parliament who receives both salaries as a MP and an ex president. On the other hand he should say 'no' to benifits as the "Appachchi" to the nation.

    D.E.M.O.Crazy Monday, 16 May 2016 11:02 AM

    Why can't he spend from the colossal money he earned from corrupt activities. Not only him the entire family including powder baba's family.

    Sincere Monday, 16 May 2016 11:12 AM

    Yes now as we have tightened our belts, our stomachs, purses are getting squeezed, so what is left there can drain out to provide luxury tours to disgruntled politicians!

    Sincere Monday, 16 May 2016 11:13 AM

    Please debit it to Helping Hambantota account!

    Upali Adithhetti Monday, 16 May 2016 11:16 AM

    Is it justifiable when a huge number of ministers (some are rejected by people) to live a luxury life while putting the burden on poor countrymen?


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