Former Sports Minister and UPFA Kandy District Candidate Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that despite the big hue and cry made by the government to bring crooks to book as early as possible, the government over the past six months has failed to find anybody guilty over the alleged financial frauds and other charges levelled against some UPFA politicians.
In an interview with the Sunday Observer, the former Minister said the ongoing investigations by the FCID, CID and Special Presidential Commission of inquiry into large scale corruption and fraud are deliberate attempts to suppress prominent UPFA politicians who raise their voice against the UNP led Government.
If the UNP’s agenda was to suppress the opposition and go for an election, their plan has failed and has boomeranged on them.
The incumbent government is targeting sprats, not sharks who had committed massive scale financial frauds, he said.
Q: What is your response on the number of investigations conducted by the CID, FCID and Special Presidential Commission of inquiry into large scale corruption and fraud against UPFA politicians?
A: We have no objections to any investigation. If any fraud or crime is committed by a politician, he should be brought before the law. But it is unfair to single out UPFA politicians who raise their voice against the UNP. If any politician has committed any offense, definitely legal action should be taken. Before taking action against the opposition, the government should conduct an investigation on the controversial Central Bank Bond issue, the biggest financial fraud in recent history.
Q: Despite a promise by the government that crooks will be brought to book with immediate effect, even after a lapse of over six months, no UPFA ex-parliamentarian has been found guilty of financial corruption charges. Do you see this as a political witch hunt by the UNP led government against their political opponents?
A: Certainly. This is a political revenge by the government to silence the voice of the UPFA politicians who are critical of their actions.
The government also introduced a fake 100 Day Program to mislead the people. Actually, all these baseless allegations on financial frauds were levelled against prominent UPFA politicians like me, Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Wimal Weerawansa who were at the forefront of bringing back former President Mahinda Rajapaksa into politics.
The UNP’s agenda was to suppress the opposition and go for an election, but their plan failed.
President Maithripala Sirisena in his recent address to the nation said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is held responsible for the Central Bank bond issue.
When the government commenced investigations on the financial frauds, they told the people that they had all the evidence and would bring the culprits to book soon.
At present, the people don’t care about UNP’s drama to realise their narrow political objectives.
Q: Would the UPFA election campaign suffer adversely due to these financial crimes charges?
A: Whatever charges levelled against the UPFA, the people are well aware that those are mere speculations by the government to get political mileage. The people don’t believe these absurd jokes and they know this is just another political strategy of the UNP to grab power. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intention was to suppress the main opposition UPFA and come to power by giving various false pledges to the people. But finally it has boomeranged on them.
They could not fulfill the pledges given under the 100 Day program. At the end of more than 150 days, there is not even a single ‘crook’caught by the government.
Q: A few ex-UPFA Parliamentarians who have been charged for financial and other irregularities were not given nominations to contest the election. How would you look at this decision taken by your party hierarchy?
A: It was also an absurd decision. To cover up the UNP’s blatant lie, a few UPFA candidates were taken for a ride by rejecting their nominations.
Three of those UPFA candidates who were not given nominations have not been found guilty before the law over the charges levelled against them. This is entirely a political campaign launched by the UNP to cover up their inadequacies.
Q: In a situation when the UPFA seeks a fresh mandate under its manifesto “A guarantee for the future”, do you think these alleged corruption charges levelled against some ex-UPFA parliamentarians would pave the way to change the mindset of the voters?
A: The people are waiting until August 17 to rectify the error they made on January 8 because the UNP took over the government by hoodwinking the people. Apart from reducing the fuel prices, what are the other key promises fulfilled under the 100 Day program? None of those allegations on frauds have been proved before the law.
Therefore, the people have realised that the UNP was engaged in a futile attempt to mislead them. The UNP is trying their level best to make Ranil Wickremesinghe the Prime Minister by implementing the agenda of the Western powers. The UNP under the pretext of President Maithripala Sirisena brought Ranil Wickremesinghe into the scene.
Q: Like a few other UPFA politicians, you were also taken before the FCID and questioned. Do you see this as an attempt by the UNP to take political revenge from you?
A: Definitely. I was taken before the FCID over a decision taken as former Sports Minister to distribute some carrom boards. If the Sports Minister cannot distribute carrom boards, who else can? The charge levelled against me is for importing some sports equipment and distributing them. Isn’t this a task entrusted upon the Sports Minister? Actually, those sports equipment were imported, paid for and distributed by the CWE. But I was taken to the FCID and questioned. Why did they question me? This is political revenge to target their political opponents.
Q: If the UPFA comes to power will it investigate these financial corruption and other serious charges?
A: We would never resort to this kind of third grade acts to play to the gallery. Once we come to power, a special Presidential Commission will be appointed to look into the controversial Treasury Bond issue.
Going behind sprats without catching the sharks is of no use. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Highways and Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim and UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrama are also held responsible for the Central Bank Bond scam which is a massive financial fraud. During the past six months, a lot of other financial irregularities have also been taken place within the Finance Ministry.
Q: Do you think the government levels these financial frauds and other charges against UPFA politicians as they are not in a position to win the forthcoming General Election?
A: Definitely. The UNP knows they are not in a position to win as Ranil Wickremesinghe is an unmarketable product. That is why the UNP extended their support to field Maithripala Sirisena as the Common Presidential Candidate and brought forth Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister.
They introduced a 100 Days Program with various false pledges and systematically shifted the President’s executive powers to Premier Wickremesinghe.
Their intention was to form a government within three months and brand the opposition MPs as crooks. Finally their 100 days were extended to 150 days and the UNP became a laughing stock among the people.
Q: The UPFA which is critical of the legality of the FCID alleges that it was set up to launch a political witch-hunt against the political opponents. Is there any truth in this?
A: Certainly. The FCID functions on the instructions of Prime Minister. The FCID is the second Batalanda torture chamber set up by Ranil Wickremesinghe. He set up the first Batalanda torture chamber to kill youth during the 1988-1989 insurgency.
The FCID is the second Batalanda torture chamber commenced to kill SLFPers. Those who are against Wickremesinghe are brought before the FCID and various cases are filed against them.
When there is an accepted rule of law, judiciary, Police, CID and Bribery Commission in the country, what is the purpose of setting up yet another body named FCID to investigate financial frauds. If we win the election, we would never take revenge from our political opponents as committed by the UNP.
Legal action will be taken against those who have resorted to financial and other frauds. We don’t need the FCID and we would act in accordance with the existing law in the country.