Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare S. B. Dissanayake has come forward to rescue former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, saying that the former Minister has not committed any wrong in distributing GI Pipes which were purchased from the Divi Neguma funds and distributed among local government institutions during the run up to the 2015 Presidential Election.
“I don’t see any fault committed by Basil in this case as pointed out by the FCID,” he told a news conference in Colombo on Tuesday.
According to the Cabinet Minister, proper procedure was followed when calling for tenders and when the GI Pipes were distributed among the local government institutions. “Maybe the timing was wrong but it definitely is not a fraud as charged by the FCID,” Dissanayake said.
Rajapaksa is currently out on bail over his alleged involvement in a financial misappropriation of Rs. 33 million in purchasing GI Pipes from the Divi Neguma funds. “There is no law that says one cannot distribute pipes during an election, maybe the timing was off, but that doesn’t mean he has committed a crime,” Dissanayake said.
According to the Minister it seems like the FCID has got it wrong. “There are other charges against Basil, and those are being investigated. I don’t know about those or whether he committed wrong in those cases, but I can tell you clearly that in this Divi Neguma case he is not at fault,” Dissanayake said.
When a journalist asked as to why the FCID was then terming this as a fraud, Dissanayake said, “You will have to ask the FCID that.”