Sri Lanka's ex-president faces anti-graft probe

2015-04-20 13:25
Mahinda Rajapakse. (File: AFP)

Mahinda Rajapakse. (File: AFP)

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Colombo - Former president Mahinda Rajapakse has been summoned to appear before Sri Lanka's anti-graft body later this week over bribery allegations, parliament was told on Monday.

Rajapakse loyalists said the 69-year-old had been ordered to present himself on Thursday before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.

Although the commission told AFP that it would not comment on individual cases, supporters of the former president asked the Speaker of parliament - who is Rajapakse's eldest brother - to intervene and stop the probe.

"If you are questioning a former president about his executive actions, then it is not something that we can accept," said Nimal Siripala de Silva, who leads Rajapakse's People's Alliance faction in parliament.

De Silva urged Speaker Chamal Rajapakse to pressure the anti-graft body to drop the investigation. Chamal Rajapaske replied that he could not give a ruling immediately.

Unrelated corruption allegations

Official sources said the anti-graft commission was probing allegations that Rajapakse paid a senior member of the opposition to defect shortly before January's presidential election, in which he was defeated by one-time ally Maithripala Sirisena.

Since coming to power, Sirisena has launched a series of investigations against Rajapakse's inner circle into allegations of corruption. But this will be the first time the former strongman himself will face questioning.

Monday's session of parliament also heard that Rajapakse's younger brother Gotabhaya is to be interrogated by commission investigators on Wednesday over unrelated corruption allegations.

Gotabhaya served as defence secretary under his brother and was widely regarded as the main power behind the Rajapakse throne.

A court has already slapped a travel ban on Gotabhaya while an arrest warrant has been issued for another brother, former economic development minister Basil, who fled the island soon after the election defeat.

Read more on:    mahinda rajapakse  |  sri lanka

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