It is a question to be raised as to how I. H. K. Mahanama was appointed as the President’s Chief of Staff, when the investigation had been underway against him in relation to soliciting a bribe of Rs. 540 million from an Indian businessman, which was caught red handed recently, Centre for Human Rights (CHR) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said.
Addressing a news briefing, he said I. H. K. Mahanama was unaware until he was caught red handed that the Indian businessman from whom he had been solicited the bribe, had lodged a complaint to the Commission Investigating Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) about the initial stage of asking the bribe and added accordingly the CIABOC had commenced the investigations.
“Although the said incident came into spotlight recently, there have been discussions with the President’s Chief of Staff Mahanama and State Timber Corporation (STC) Chairman P. Dissanayaka and the Indian businessman since May, 2017. Then and there, they have been threats to the businessman from the solicitors. In such a background, it is questionable as to how Mr. Mahanama was appointed to such a higher rank as President’s Chief of Staff,” Tennakoon said.
Meanwhile, he accused Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on his statement made at the UNP May Day rally that the Samurdhi Development Bank would be soon brought under the control of the Central Bank (CB).
“If the Samurdhi Development Banks came under CB, it would be the end of the Samurdhi Banks and the deposited money of the poor would be wasted,” Tennakoon added.
However, he said the government might use the currency of the Samurdhi Banks to overcome the existing economic calamity. (Sheain Fernandopulle)