Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema has asked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to start a full scale investigation into any Cabinet Minister who has allegedly received a fund of Rs.150 million to be credited to his or her bank account.
Samarawickrama responding to the media reports that Rs. 150 milion had been received to be credited to his bank account and the Central Bank had frozen the funds, yesterday urged the CID to investigate this matter at its earliest and take action against any Cabinet Minister if such funds have been received.
Text of the minister’s speech as follows:
I wish to inform you that there seems to be a targeted attempt by certain sections of the social media and an electronic media channel in particular, to discredit me.
While I was in Germany, about 10 days ago, I was made to understand that a Director of Ceylon High Speed Railway Limited, a Company who had sent a proposal to the Board of Investment (BOI), to produce and export high speed trains, has accused the State Minister and myself of requesting for a commission of US$ 25 Million to have the project proposal approved. This is a totally false allegation. In fact, I have never met this party, nor have I spoken to them or even seen the colour of them.
I do not wish to delve into the details of the process through which the BOI and the Single Window Investment Approval Committee approves the investment proposals submitted to the BOI, since the BOI Officials have given a detailed description of how the proposals are evaluated and approved. At no stage do the Ministers get involved in the approval process. However, I have requested for and received a report of this proposal from BOI which I would like to table.
I would like to highlight some elements of the proposal submitted, so that Hon. Members of this House can see for themselves whether the proposal should be approved or not; (refer annexure 1)Again last week, the same media institutions alleged that a sum of Rs. 150 Milion (Rs. 1,500 lakhs) had been received to be credited to my Bank Account and the Central Bank had frozen the funds.
This is a totally false allegation. I have checked with the Central Bank and I am informed that no such funds had been received to be credited to anyone of the Cabinet Minister’s Accounts. However, I have written to DIG – CID, to investigate into this matter at his earliest convenience and take necessary action against any Cabinet Minister, if such funds have been received. I am tabling the letter I have sent to the DIG.
Hon. Speaker, is this the media freedom that we wanted? This is nothing but freedom of the wild ass.
I request you to kindly take necessary steps to prevent Members of Parliament being insulted and defamed by the irresponsible media, coming out with fake news. If not, no decent person will want to enter Parliament.