A statement was taken from former president Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday evening by a special police team attached to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC), over a petition alleging that losses were sustained by the State-owned ITN TV network.
A highly placed official of the Commission said that a police team had visited Mr. Rajapaksa’s Mirihana residence and questioned him for about an hour regarding the matter.
He said further action would be decided on the recommendations of the investigating team.
The Commission had received a petition alleging that ITN had sustained a loss of Rs. 200 million because of the non-payment of outstanding dues by Mr. Rajapaksa for the telecasts of his presidential election campaign advertisements. These had been telecast while the paid-for advertisements of his rival Maithripala Sirisena had been withheld.
ITN had had to reimburse Rs. 89 million to Mr. Sirisena for the advertisements that it had failed to telecast.
The statement was scheduled to be recorded last morning, but it was delayed till 4.30 p.m. as Mr. Rajapaksa had informed the Commission that he would be unavailable in the morning.
Statements had earlier been taken from several people, including former ministers Keheliya Rambukwella and Dallus Alahapperuma, former presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga, former ITN chairman Anura Siriwardena and former treasury secretary P.B. Jayasundera regarding the subject.(Ajith Siriwardana)