The Commission which has held former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa responsible for causing colossal losses to the Government through the abuse of power, has given a detailed account of how former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa allegedly misused Gama Neguma project money.
The PRECIFAC, in its final report, observed that even though a Cabinet Minister is entitled to three vehicles, former Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s fleet had eight State vehicles worth around Rs 612 million and another six vehicles of which the value has not been estimated. These included bulletproof vehicles too.
In addition, Basil Rajapaksa, deviating from accepted norms, has had 20 Sailors and 72 Army officers in his security detail as at 1 January, 2015. According to the report, Basil Rajapaksa has had a security detail of 64 Sailors and 84 Army officers from 10 January 2010 to 10 January 2015 by paying State allowances and Very Important Persons security allowances at a cost of Rs 264,370,800 to State coffers.
The Commission report, which points out that the findings should be referred to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and to the Attorney General for further legal action, also noted that Basil Rajapaksa and his officials had made arrangements to pay Rs 155.4 million to the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) from the capital funds of the Gama Neguma project.
While noting that individuals, including Parliamentarians Dayasiri Jayasekara, Wimal Weerawansa, Namal Rajapaksa and one of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sons, Yoshitha Rajapaksa owed millions of rupees to Heli Tours – the commercial domestic air service by the SLAF – they had in fact taken steps to pay that amount to the SLAF while the investigations were continuing. The Commission recommended another investigation to ascertain from where these individuals had found such large sums to pay off the said amounts.
Also, the Commission noted that the monies owed by Namal Rajapaksa and Yoshitha Rajapaksa were in fact paid by an Army Corporal on behalf of the President’s Office, and therefore it needs to be investigated further as to how a Corporal was able to pay off an amount of over Rs 26 million.
Among the controversial issues considered by the PRECIFAC are the following:
The misuse of State media to publish and broadcast election campaign messages of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The loss caused to the State by using ‘Rakna Arakshaka Lanka’ security company employees for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.
The case of the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa being questioned on the investigation into handing over Rakna Arakshaka Lanka weaponry to the Avant Garde Security Services.
Statements recorded from individuals including prominent artistes over allegations of fraud and corruption in organizing the opening ceremony of the Hambantota Port.
Basil Rajapaksa being questioned over the misuse of State-owned helicopters during the Presidential Election campaign.