A senior member of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance says that it is former president and current parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa who is responsible for non-payment of dues to a state owned TV channel for broadcasting advertisements for his 2015 presidential campaign.
Rajapaksa who was questioned over the matter by a presidential commission of inquiry recently had said that the responsibility for the payments was vested with the UPFA as he was the party’s nominee for the polls.
According to the UPFA senior a candidate prior to handing over nominations has to appoint an election agent and this agent will be responsible for the campaign issues of the candidate including relevant payments.
In the event that no such appointment being made such candidate shall be deemed to have appointed himself as his election agent.
The UPFA bigwig said that as Rajapaksa had not appointed an agent it is he who should bear responsibility for the matter.
Rajapaksa was questioned recently by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe corruption and abuse of power during the previous regime.
A special team of Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIPAC) visited Rajapaksa’s Mirihana residence to record a statement.
The Commission summoned Rajapaksa to record a statement on a petition lodged about the losses incurred by the State during the last presidential election.
The special team questioned the former president over non-payment of dues to a state-owned TV channel for broadcasting advertisements for his 2015 presidential campaign.
An audit inquiry has found that the state television Independent Television Network has incurred losses over Rs. 101 million as Rajapaksa has failed to pay the dues to the state TV for advertising his election campaign.
Same audit has found that the ITN had agreed to broadcast Rs. 44.7 million of advertisements for current president Maithripala Sirisena but only aired Rs. 2.6 million worth advertisements despite the agreement.
Mentioned below is a clause in the Presidential election act on the above issue;
Presidential Elections Act (No. 15 of 1981) – Sect 31
Appointment of election Agent
(1) On or before the day of nomination a person shall be appointed in writing by or on behalf of each candidate as his agent for such election and such person is in this Act referred to as the election agent. In the event of no such appointment being made by or on behalf of such candidate on or before that day, such candidate shall be deemed to have appointed himself as his election agent.
(2) A candidate may appoint himself as his election agent, and thereupon shall, so far as circumstances admit, be subject to the provisions of this Act, both as a candidate and as an election agent, and any reference in this Act to an election agent shall be construed to refer to the candidate acting in his capacity as election agent.