By Waruni Karunarathne
The Mahinda Rajapaksa campaign team has overdue payments for several public institutions for the election campaign carried out during the last Presidential election.
Sources from the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the Rupavahini Corperation said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidential election campaign used the services of the state institutions but has failed to settle the overdue bills.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Workers Union (ACTWU) Sepala Liyanage said that Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign used SLTB buses for the presidential election campaign but has not yet paid the overdue amount of Rs. 140 million. According to him, the SLTB has lodged a complaint with the Bribery and Corruption Division regarding this matter and the investigations are pending.
Meanwhile, source at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation said that the cost of commercials used for the Rajapaksa campaign was estimated at about Rs. 8 million. “Out of that, he later had settled Rs. 4 million. The real value of the commercials would have been over Rs. 16 million,” he added. The source also revealed that Rajapaksa had carried out indirect promotion campaigns during the elections in form of trailers which would have technically cost more than Rs. 8 to 10 million.
“There were many indirect campaigns such as trailers giving publicity to the work he has done such as Hambantota harbour, Mattala Airport and other projects which were also aired without an estimated cost. There were many other promotional activities aired without a proper agreement, sponsors or without a funding agency,” he pointed out. Accordingly, he said that the Rajapaksa presidential campaign would have at least cost more than Rs. 30 million whereas only a small amount was settled. He further added that the Rupavahini Corporation lodged a complaint with the Bribery and Corruption Division regarding such activities that took place during the last presidential election and there is an ongoing court case against former government media spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella in relation to some of those allegations. Sources added that the Rupavahini Corporation is suffering financially due to such activities which took place during the previous regime.