President Maithripala Sirisena’s office has written to award winning Australian journalist Nick McKenzie requesting for information on the recent allegations that Sirisena and his advisor solicited a bribe when Sirisena was a cabinet Minister. The story was carried under the bylines of MxKenzie, Emmanuel Freudenthal, Michael Bachelard and Richard Baker.
In a letter to McKenzie, the secretariat had requested for the name of the person allegedly involved, the mode of communication, the exact date of the incident and proof if any of such communication where the report said that Sirisena and his advisor had requested for a ‘donation’ if they were to approve a contract.
Soon after the story broke, Sirisena in a statement said that he had ‘no knowledge of the incident.’ The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian Federal Police is currently carrying out investigations involving the iconic Snowy Mountains Engineering Company (SMEC) where it is reported that the company’s overseas staff allegedly bribed officials to secure a US $ 2.3 million aid funded sewerage project in Sri Lanka in 2011.
Based on the investigations, the emails show a plot to skim the money off a World Bank-funded dam project in 2009. According to the Newspaper, if the company had made the ‘donation’ Sirisena was to approve the awarding of the dam contract to SMEC, which was worth US $ 1.8 million.