By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Cabinet Spokesman and Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana told the weekly Cabinet news briefing held yesterday that the family members in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s entourage to India last week spent their own money for airfare and accommodation.
When a journalist asked as to who footed the bill of the retinue of 27 that included a group of family members the premier accompanied to India, he said they toured at their own expense.
“This is the new culture introduced by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He expects all ministers and officials to follow this policy of frugality by limiting unnecessary spending and foreign tours. I had been invited for three foreign tours since I was appointed as a Cabinet Minister last November but did not spend a single rupee or dollar from government coffers for them nor did I escort official or family members in these tours. Air tickets, accommodation and other facilities were provided by the invitees,” he said.