UNF Govt misused Public Property Act – Yoshitha
By Faadhila Thassim
Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, yesterday (22), said the United National Front (UNF) Government misused the Offences Against Public Property Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, to remand him and his family.
Testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) appointed to probe the political victimisation of public officials during the tenure of the UNF Government, he added that most investigations that took place during the tenure of the UNF Government were conducted with the intention of political vengeance.
Rajapaksa testified before the PCoI in regard to a complaint filed by him, that his arrest with regard to the financial fraud and the use of public funds by the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) was politically motivated. He added that he was questioned in January 2016 in regard to the complaint by officers attached to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on the basis that he was the owner of the television channel, but that he never operated as the owner. Rajapaksa said he was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate (since suspended) Dhammika Hemapala at 7:00 p.m. on a particular day, and that the FCID produced facts in relation to the allegations against him, during which the receiver of the telephone in the Magistrate’s quarters was raised and faced towards the FCID Officers. Rajapaksa added that he assumes that Hemapala was attempting to converse with someone and therefore, the PCoI instructed to obtain records of the telephone conversations of Hemapala on the said date, while also requesting the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for all documents pertaining to the CSN case.
Former CSN Director, Rohan Weliwita, further making statements before the PCoI yesterday, said Parliamentarians during the tenure of the UNF Government, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Patali Champika Ranawaka were constantly involved in producing statements of the investigations and arrests pertaining to the CSN case to the Media, while the former Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka was justifying the imprisonments in the case.