The Colombo Telegraph can now reveal the name of the Presidential photographer who was barely escaped arrest at the Dubai Airport last week after stealing a camera worth Rs. 300,000 from the duty free shops inside the airport en route to Colombo from Kenya with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s entourage.
Milinda Ratnayake, an official photographer attached to the Presidential Media Unit was caught on close circuit television footage at the Dubai airport trying to make off with the merchandise hidden in his bag. Shop staff had observed him stealing the camera before he was detained by airport security.
“We have the highest respect for President Rajapaksa. We are, therefore, releasing you. Otherwise, you would have ended up in jail,” one airport security official told the photographer.
After his return to Colombo, Ratnayake has been relieved of his duties.
A similarly embarrassing event took place when President Rajapaksa visited Belarus in August this year. An official complaint had been lodged to the Ministry of External Affairs through diplomatic channels that a hotel where the Presidential delegation had stayed in Minsk was missing a bed cover.
The hotel had complained that Wijayananda Herath, the President’s Director of Sinhala Media had taken a bed cover from his room back with him.