Investigations into former President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement, that a group of MPs were offered financial bribes during the Constitutional Crisis in 2018, have been suspended by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).
The CIABOC said there was not enough evidence to continue the investigation further. The CIABOC revealed this following an inquiry by Transparency International Sri Lanka, which made the complaint, more than three years ago, based on the above statement made by Sirisena and several statements made by MPs, in connection with the Constitutional Crisis of 2018.
The Constitutional crisis began when then President Sirisena appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister on 26 October 2018 before formally dismissing the then Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe refused to resign saying Rajapaksa’s appointment was illegal. Sirisena dissolved Parliament and set a snap poll, after Rajapaksa could not secure a majority in Parliament
The UNP alleged that Rajapaksa loyalists had been luring its MPs to support Sirisena and Rajapaksa with the offer of significant bribes and ministerial portfolios. Some say they have been offered over Rs 500 million. Another UNP MP claimed he had been approached by Sirisena’s party to defect with an offer of 500 million rupees and an apartment in Malaysia along with free passage for the entire family to a foreign destination.
Sirisena, after the Supreme Court ruled that former President’s move was unconstitutional and illegal, claimed in an interview with a national newspaper that he personally knew about financial bribes demanded by MPs to cross over.
The Transparency International Sri Lanka filed a complaint at the CIABOC following these statements.
BY Bingun Menaka Gamage