President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother, controversial businessman Dudley Sirisena trivialized the corruption case against former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the construction of the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum saying it was a “minor matter”.
Sirisena, in an interview with Derana TV channel last night, even offered to pay the amount allegedly misappropriated by Rajapaksa and save the former Defence Secretary from the case.
“It’s just 35 million. I sometimes wonder whether I can pay that money and end the case. We should not forget the service rendered by the former Defence Secretary to the country. He was the person who gave ‘administrative leadership’ to the war. This case is a negligible matter when compared to the service they have rendered to the nation,” Sirisena said.
“I was a former serviceman. So I personally know how valuable Gotabaya Rajapaksa is,” the controversial businessman said, lavishly praising the former Defence Secretary.
“He would have been a national hero during the time of our ancient kings,” Sirisena added while admitting that he has maintained close ties with the Rajapaksa family since the day former President Mahinda Rajapaksa fell out of power on January 09, 2015.
“I admit they made some mistakes. Who doesn’t make mistakes? But that does not mean we can undermine their service to the country.” the President’s brother, one of the main negotiators on behalf of Sirisena with the Rajapaksa family in the run up to the constitutional coup on October 26, said.
The Special High Court, last Tuesday, read out the indictments against Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others over the DA Rajapaksa Museum case for misappropriating State funds amounting to nearly Rs. 34 million to construct the museum at Weeraketiya in Medamulana. They have been charged under Section 5(1) of the Public Property Act and Section 388 of the Penal Code, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Public Property Act.
The case was taken up before the three-judge bench of Justices Sampath Abeykoon (Chairman), Sampath Wijeratne, and Champa Janaki Rajaratna.
After the defendants were read the indictments, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, appearing on behalf of Rajapaksa, raised objections that the Special High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case noting that according to the Judicature Amendment Act, the permanent Special High Court had the authority to investigate cases of serious economic and financial fraud. De Silva argued that this case did not fall into that category.
The other respondents in the case are former Chairman of the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation Prasad Harshana de Silva, and members of the Board of Directors Bhadrawati Kamaladasa, Sudhammika Attygalle, Saman Kumara Galappathi, D. Mendis Saliya, and Mallika Kumari Senadheera.