President Maithripala Sirisena indirectly accused cabinet ministers of being corrupt and strongly defended his decision to investigate the alleged bond scam under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s watch.
Speaking at the second death anniversary commemoration of Maduluwawe Sobitha thera who spearheaded a citizens’ movement that propelled him to power in 2015, Sirisena said the late monk would have applaud his actions.
“If he was alive, he would have appreciated my appointing a Presidential Commission to probe the bond issue,” the President said adding that he was appalled that such a scandal hit within months of the new government’s election.
He said the people voted at the January 8, 2015 election to change a corrupt regime and not to have the new administration repeat the same corruption.
“We must review if those who accepted the government have fulfilled the aspirations of the people who elected them,” the president said.
He referred to the bond scam as a “maha vinashaya” (huge destruction) and said those responsible must accept responsibility.
“Within three months of forming the new government, this ‘vinashaya’ was committed. Those responsible must accept responsibility. I don’t like positions, I have not come to power to remain in this office.
“I need the support of the government to do the right thing. If we want to serve the people, we still have time to correct our mistakes.’
He insisted that it was “only a small group within the government” that was trying to undermine him by launching a media campaign against him. He did not name them.
However, the tone of his speech suggested serious differences with the government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).