‘Misappropriation’ of Rs. 240 mn by Mahinda group

Thalatha wants Dilan probed.  ‘Misappropriation’ of Rs. 240 mn:

article_imageBy Saman Indrajith

Parliament was told yesterday that a foundation established under the name UPFA MP Dilan Perera, during the previous government, had received funds from the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB).

Perera backed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidature at the last general election. He was appointed to Parliament through the National List and made a deputy minister.

Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorale yesterday informed Parliament that the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) had been asked to probe the misappropriation of Foreign FEB funds amounting to Rs. 240 mn.

Ratnapura District MP said that the Auditor General, too, had investigated the alleged misappropriation of funds. There had been several instances of misappropriation of funds. She said Rs. 9,119,909 had been spent on a road show at Gampaha, Colombo and Hambantota to promote foreign employment, Rs. 2,854,000 on meals supplied by Rawanaella Food and Caters for the road show, Rs. 3,627,000 on purchasing of T-Shirts and caps from Tata tailors for the road show, Rs. 925,309.40 on banners and balloons for the road show and Rs 1,713,600 on propaganda material at road show in Hambantota.

The minister also alleged that Rs. 1,693,600 had been obtained fraudulently by using forged documents. The entire sum had been given to a non-government organisation, she claimed, adding that Rs. 3.5 million had been spent on pirikara, Rs. 3,962,410 for the Rataviru family members at Hali Ela in the Badulla District affected by a landslide in December 2014, Rs. 9,157,060 on a ceremony for laying the foundation stone for the migrant resources centre at Hali Ela and Rs. 9,559,884 on political activities.

The Minister was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti. The Minister mentioned that a foundation named after an MP as one of the organisations which had obtained the funds.

MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out that it was against the Standing Orders of Parliament to mention the names of MPs.

Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Minister Atukorale both said that they were referring to the Dilan Perera Foundation but not to an MP.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that there was nothing wrong in mentioning the name of the Dilan Perera Foundation and it was permissible

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