Colombo, May 3 (newsin.asia): Dr.I.H.K.Mahanama, the newly appointed Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and the State Timber Corporation (STC) Chairman, P. Dissanayake, were arrested by Bribery Commission sleuths Thursday evening as they were accepting a bribe of LKR 20 million (US$ 126, 798) from an Indian businessman promising to approve shares he purchased at the Kantale sugar factory reports said..
A Bribery Commission official told Daily Mirror that the suspects had solicited LKR. 560 million (US$ 23.5 million) from the businessman but had later agreed to reduce it to Rs. 200 million (US$ 1.2 million).
The Indian businessmen has not been identified yet.
They were arrested at the car park of a leading luxury Hotel in Colombo while accepting LKR 20 million (US$ 126, 798) as an advance payment.
Dr. Mahanama was former Secretary to the Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms and P. Dissanayake was former Secretary to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Dr.Mahanama had been appointed President’s Chief of Staff only recently.
President Sirisena was informed of the arrest when he was addressing senior government officials, reports said.
Controlling corruption is one of the issues on which President Sirisena was elected in January 2015 and several cases were filed against top persons and leaders in the previous regime headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa.
After Srisena came to power, his coalition partner the United National Party (UNP) headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came under fire for promoting or tolerating corruption including the LKR 11 billion Central Bank Bond Scam.
The arrest of top officials Dr.Mahanama and Dissanayake is expected to help President Sirisena refurbish his image as a valiant fighter of corruption at the highest level.
(The featured image at the top shows Dr.I.H.K. Mahanama (extreme right) when he too over as Secretary Lands Ministry)