Gotabaya must prove he gave up US citizenship – Mangala

Mangala Samaraweera

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday challenged Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa to prove the renunciation of his American citizenship before the country goes to the polls next week.

Addressing a press conference at the Finance Ministry auditorium, Samaraweera reiterated that Rajapaksa remains a US citizen to-date, while being a candidate for the presidency of Sri Lanka.

Re-igniting the controversy surrounding former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa’s citizenship claims, Samaraweera said Rajapaksa has a duty and an obligation to make a clear statement in this regard to the country. He added that the all the concerned citizens of the country should flood the US Embassy with requests demanding to know the truth.“What should be of great concern to all Sri Lankans at this moment of time is not the MCC Agreement, but the fact that one of the principal candidates of the Presidential Elections to be held next week has still not renounced his US citizenship and his wife and son continue to be fully fledged citizens of the United States of America,” said Samaraweera towards the end of the press conference convened to debunk the false rumours related to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Agreement.

“In order to renounce the citizenship, a US passport holder must obtain a “Certificate of Loss of Nationality” with the US Treasury, where the DS 4079 is approved for denunciation. In the 1st six months of 2019, about 1,090 have been officially recorded as having renounced their US citizenship. However, there is no approved DS 4079 for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in any of the 94 US District Courts. The filing could also still be in US Embassy in Colombo waiting to be cleared. Usually, transactions and procedural backlogs between the US Treasury and the US State Department take 16 to 24 months to be completed,” he explained.

“It is also a lengthy process due to the taxation portions if income and assets are greater than the stipulated amount. Even after approval by the State Department, there is further 6 to 9 months with the US Treasury when the DS 4079 is approved for renunciation. Therefore, it is extremely clear that Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains a US citizen today, while being a candidate for the presidency of Sri Lanka,” he added.

“In fact, in the unlikely event of Gotabaya Rajapaksa winning on the 16th, Sri Lanka will have a president, who is a US citizen and Sri Lanka will also have the dubious honour of having the only other American first lady in the world other than Melania Trump, the First Lady of USA. Therefore, I challenge Gotabaya Rajapaksa to produce the certificate of loss of nationality and the DS 4079, proving his renunciation of his American citizenship before the country goes to the polls next week,” he stressed.

(Source: Daily News – By Disna Mudalige)