A certificate distributed yesterday purporting to show that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has renounced his US citizenship has been debunked as a forgery, the Daily Mirror learns.
The purported Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States was distributed widely on social media groups yesterday morning by parties close to the former Defence Secretary’s emerging presidential election campaign.
It stated that Rajapaksa had become a US citizen on March 13, 2003, and renounced his US citizenship at the US Embassy on July 5, 2019. The certificate carried a red seal dated July 26, 2019, stating “Approved American Embassy Colombo,” with the signature of a US official named Joel Fifield.
However, Rajapaksa was not in Sri Lanka on July 5. He was in Singapore purportedly recovering from open-heart surgery. Official records viewed by the Daily Mirror also demonstrate that Rajapaksa became a US citizen on January 31, 2003, not in March 2003.
Details of a passport given on the purported certificate are also false. Rajapaksa’s US passport was issued on October 2012, according to official records, not July 2012 as stated on the certificate.
The clearest evidence of forgery was that the certificate very closely resembled a sample certificate on the Wikipedia internet encyclopedia, including the name and signature of the purported US official Joel Fifield, who was apparently a consular officer in Paraguay.
The forged document also carries Rajapaksa’s passport number and its issuing date which is the same given in the sample certificate on the Wikipedia internet encyclopedia.
Obtaining an authentic certificate of renunciation or confirmation letter is essential for Rajapaksa’s presidential bid, as the Sri Lankan constitution bars citizens of a foreign country from being elected to the presidency or to parliament. (Nirmala Kannangara)