Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who visited Welikada Prison this afternoon to see his former Ministers Premalal Jayasekara and Tissa Attanayake as well as UDA official Managing Director, H. R. Amaraweera said that some of them have been arrested on baseless charges.
“I came all the way from home to see them but I could not visit Jayasekara since he has been transferred to Kuruwita. Amaraweera has been arrested for possessing the weapon he is officially entitled to hold – he was a former Navy official. . .” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued today, he said the corruption allegations that are being leveled against him are completely baseless.
Speaking to the media outside the Prison, he referred to the claim regarding a luxurious airplane worth 16 million USD, which President Sirisena during an interview said was ordered exclusively for the use of MR and said, “No such plane was ever ordered for my use,” he said.
He made the following explanation with concern to the aircraft in question, “When Sri Lankan Airlines ordered new aircraft, Airbus Industries had provided a complimentary VIP conversion kit to install a cubicle with special facilities for special customers on commercial flights which can be installed and dismantled as required. The sum of 15 million USD was only the manufacturer’s indicative value of this kit which is actually provided free . . .”
He also dismissed the allegations of construction ‘palaces’ for himself in various locations of the country and said none of them were constructed for his private exclusive use.
“The Temple Trees, President’s House and the residences in Nuwara Eliya and Kandy were used by heads of State and government since the colonial era. The presidential residences in Anuradhapura, Embilipitiya, Mahiyangana and Kataragama were built by President Premadasa,” he added.
However Sri Lankan Airlines placed orders for 12 air craft with Airbus Industrie consisting of six A 330 and six A 350 in a major re fleeting exercise, one of which was to be fitted in a tailor made fashion for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s use. The A330 was to be fitted like the Air Force 1 used by the President of USA costing millions of dollars. The fitting necessitates gear to be fitted permanently to the front end of the aircraft which would add at least one tonne in weight even when other interior fittings are taken off when in use for commercial transport. The added weight would inflate the cost per flown mile in addition to lesser yields for the troubled airline, Colombo Telegraph reported last month.