Former president and current parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that it was the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that should bear the responsibility for the non-settlement of payments to the Independent Television Network (ITN) for telecasting his advertisements during the January presidential election campaign.
Speaking to the media after giving a statement to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) on the matter Rajapaksa said he was the party’s candidate and not an independent candidate.
“ The party should take complete responsibility over the matter because I was the candidate of the party” he said.
The UPFA has not made any comment on the matter as yet and the new UPFA Secretary Wiswa Warnapala has said the party will make its stance clear when party leader President Maithripala Sirisena who is currently in New York to attend UN General Assembly sessions returns to the country.
Rajapaksa was questioned Wednesday by four members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe corruption and abuse of power during the previous regime.
The team had visited Rajapaksa’s Mirihana residence to record a statement from him deviating from the normal practice of summoning individuals for questioning at the commissions office at the BMICH premises.
The special team questioned the former president over non-payment of dues to state-owned TV channel ITN 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.