By Niranjala Ariyawansha
Member of Parliament of the Puttalam District, Range Bandara yesterday produced voice tapes containing recordings of telephone conversations with a powerful figure of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), requesting him to join the Government and saying that he will be given Rs 500 million (US Dollars 2.8 million).
He produced the recordings at a media briefing held at Temple Trees yesterday. A number of voice tapes containing telephone conversations regarding this deal were produced.
The well-known member of the SLFP is a former powerful minister representing the Kandy District. He had telephoned Range Bandara on 1 November.
Range Bandara said on this occasion, the powerful SLFP member had offered him, in addition to the Rs. 500 million, a Cabinet post as well as membership of……the Central Committee of the SLFP and the Organizer post of Anamaduwa Electorate. Range Bandara arranged for the media to listen to a number of voice tapes which included telephone conversations that confirmed his statement.
Range Bandara complained to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, at the meeting of the Parliamentary group held on 2 November, that a powerful member of the SLFP had said that he will provide a bribe of Rs. 500 million and asked him to join the government.
During one telephone conversation the former SLFP Minister says that, President Maithripala Sirisena told him that Range Bandara was going to join the government.
During this instance, Range Bandara says that the President will call him.
“Range, it is at this time that you have to join us. If you join now only will you be given a Cabinet Ministerial post. A group of ours also tried to quit the government and join the UNP but we have solved that problem now,” the former SLFP Minister says during the telephone conversation.
All journalists present at that moment identified the voice on the tape as that of the former SLFP Minister.
A certain individual confirms in one telephone conversation that the sum of Rs. 500 million will be brought to Range Bandara’s house in Anamaduwa and handed over to him by a well-known Professor who is closely associated with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.
Range Bandara said then that this particular individual was a co-ordinating secretary of the former SLFP Minister. At the same time, the co-ordinator of a son of a powerful politician in the government had explained the procedure of how the transaction of Rs. 500 million could be carried out, in a number of voice tapes containing telephone conversations, which the media were facilitated to listen to.
In these voice tapes it was heard that two co-ordinators would visit the Parliamentarian and tell him on several occasions that they wanted to meet ‘Sir’ for half an hour.
However, finally MP Range Bandara is heard saying “you ask them what my offer is.”
In response to an inquiry we made from the Director General of the Bribery or Corruption Commission, President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne, regarding giving bribes and accepting bribes for changing Parties, in the face of the political crisis that exists, he said, “It has been publicized across the country that political parties are giving bribes of millions of rupees to Members of Parliament. However, just because it is mentioned, we cannot conduct any investigation.
But these public statements that bribes are being given, are creating a harmful situation in society.”