There is no deal between the government and the United National Party (UNP) to arrest Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariywasam said yesterday.
He told a news conference that instead a deal between the government and the SJB was more of a possibility with the government gaining from the split in the UNP.
“It were those who formed the SJB who separated from the UNP despite the offer made to Mr. Premadasa to make him the Prime Ministerial candidate, to form an alliance and to appoint him as the head of the nomination board. In addition I offered to step down from the post of general secretary to pave the way for the SJB General Secretary to be appointed as the new UNP General Secretary. However, it was Mr. Premadasa and his supporters who decided to contest separately,” Mr. Kariyawasam said.
He said he was unaware about any misappropriation of money in the Central Cultural Fund (CCF).
“I was a member of the CCF Administrative Council in my capacity of being the Chairman of the UNESCO National Commission and no one sought the Council’s approval to spend any funds. I am not aware of the allegations that have been made against Mr. Premadasa by the committee appointed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,” Mr. Kariyawasama said. “There was Rs.4.5 billion in the CCF when I handed it over to the ministry of cultural affairs. There was on Rs.300 million when I took over the ministry. There was US$150,000 in the dollar account which we opened. Daily revenue from Sigriya exceeded Rs.10 million during my time."
He said the money in the fund was only used with the approval of the administrative council.
"The previous government spent a lot on preserving some of the sites. Rs.80 million was spent to develop Deegawapiya,” Mr. Kariayawasam said. By Yohan Perera