Ready to face any challenge for the people - Basil
April 24, 2015 12:28 am
Former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa says that all ‘Divi Neguma’ funds were spent for the people’s welfare and that if doing so is wrong he is ready to face any challenge on behalf of the people.
Rajapaksa was arrested on Wednesday (22) along with former Economic Development Ministry Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke and former Divi Neguma Director-General R.A.K. Ranawaka in connection with the misappropriation of funds in the Divi Neguma Department.
“All Divi Neguma funds were spent for the people’s welfare and if doing so is wrong I am ready to face any challenge on the people’s behalf,” he said, in a statement released to media.
He pledged to campaign for a people’s regime instead of a regime, which he claims has now emerged in the name of good governance but is doing its opposite.
Charges of misappropriating state funds were filed against the former minister, former ministry secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke and the former Divi Neguma Director-General while the Kaduwela magistrate remanded them till May 5.
The statement claimed that the charges were filed in connection with “(1) providing 1.4 million Samurdhi beneficiary families each with 2,500 (a total of Rs.2,900 million) under the first stage of providing Rs.10,000 for repairing their houses under the Isurumath Niwasa programme (2) paying Rs.1,700 million from Divi Neguma funds as compensation to 1,067 Samurdhi Officers who voluntarily retired when establishing the Divi Neguma Department by combining five institutions including the Samurdhi Authority, until the Treasury took over the responsibility of the payments and (3) spending Rs. 23 million on printing five million almanacs for the year 2015.”
Former Minister Rajapaksa said that since these benefits were given direct to the Samurdhi beneficiaries there was no possibility any financial irregularity. He added that the ‘Yahapalana’ government’s 100 Day program has only exposed the regime’s failure and that there has been no development in the country during the past three months.
Basil Rajapaksa who resigned from the post of SLFP National Organiser, accepting responsibility for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at the last Presidential Election, returned to the island on April 21.