Feb 9 (AdaDerana) – Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has revealed that the money found at the President’s House in Colombo by protesters on 09 July 2022 were from his personal funds, and was due to be distributed amongst the public.
This was disclosed by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (08 Feb.).
For similar articles, join our Telegram channel for the latest updates. – click here
Accordingly, appearing on behalf of the former President, President’s Counsel (PC) Harigupta Senadeera requested that the funds, amounting to nearly Rs. 17.5 million, which is currently in the custody of the court, be handed over back to Rajapaksa.
However, the opposing counsel, including President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsekularatne, vehemently objected to the funds being released back to Rajapaksa in the absence of a formal investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Bribery Acts, adding that the manner in which the funds were obtained were not revealed in Rajapaksa’s statement.
Thus, they requested that the court refrain from handing over the money on the grounds that the former President was not present in court, and that the manner in which he obtained these funds are yet to be disclosed.
Appearing on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Attorney-at-Law DIG Ruwan Gunasekara stated that the IGP had ordered that the relevant investigations be handed over to the CID from the Special Crimes Unit on the instructions of Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles, as they had delayed investigations.
The opposing counsel argued, however, accusing Alles of being the very reason as to why these investigations were delayed, by interfering unnecessarily.
Accordingly, Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage stated in open court that an inquiry into the matter is required if the former Head of State fails to disclose how the money was obtained.
Meanwhile, in relation to the incident where the Officer in Charge (OIC) of Fort Police had received a call ordering him to hand over the funds to Minister Tiran Alles, the phone records presented to the court yesterday revealed that Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) in charge of the Western Province, Deshabandu Tennakoon, had in fact made a phone call to the Fort OIC on the day in question.
The money was found by protesters on 09 July 2022, when they stormed the presidential residence during mass anti-government protests.
At least Rs. 17.5 million in cash was handed over to the Fort Police by the protesters who were at the presidential residence on that day, which was subsequently handed over to the Fort Magistrate’s Court three weeks later.
Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates from around the world