Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected the allegations made by the Opposition parties and said the President has complete authority to allocate funds for any purpose for which funds had not been allocated by Parliament.
In a statement, Mr. Rajapaksa said the Opposition claimed that the previous government had passed a Vote on Account up to the 30th of April and that therefore, after this date, the President has no authority to allocate funds for any purpose.
"This is an absurd argument. Under Article 150(3) of the Constitution, the President has complete authority to allocate funds for any purpose for which funds had not been allocated by Parliament. It goes without saying that if Parliament has already allocated funds for a given purpose, there is no need for the President to intervene in the matter. The opposition also alleges that the President is not reconvening Parliament with the ulterior motive of misusing the funds coming in from abroad for the anti-Coronavirus campaign. They contend that Parliament should be reconvened to supervise how that money is spent. All funds received by the government go to the Treasury via the Central Bank system. There are procedures that have to be followed in spending this money. Funds in the Treasury cannot be spent in the manner that yahapalana ministers spent the money of the Central Cultural Fund," Mr. Rajapaksa said.
He said after the new Parliament convenes, the opposition will have the opportunity to raise questions about how the government money was spent between the time of the dissolution of the old Parliament and the convening of the new Parliament.
"Until then they should refrain from misleading the public with blatant lies. At this moment, we should set politics aside and concentrate on controlling the Coronavirus outbreak and restoring normalcy to the lives of the people. We all saw the magnitude of the Coronavirus cluster that had formed among Navy personnel due to their involvement in the anti-Coronavirus campaign. I wish them all a speedy recovery. This highlights the personal risks taken in the service of the people by our health sector workers, and Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police personnel at the forefront of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. I call upon all members of the public to extend their fullest cooperation to these heroic individuals to enable them to fulfill their duties effectively," he said.