Former President Rajapaksa's wife questioned by Lankan police over graft

Colombo, Jun 1: Sri Lanka's former first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was on Monday grilled by police over alleged corruption in an NGO which she ran during her husband Mahinda Rajapaksa's presidency, the latest in a series of questioning of his family members.

She was questioned by the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) at a location outside the headquarters for over two hours, sources said.

SL: Police question Rajapaksa's wife

She was summoned for an inquiry over alleged corruption in connection with a bank account of the 'Carlton Siriliya Saviya' Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. An investigation is currently being carried out into the bank account of the 'Siriliya Saviya.'

The former First Lady is the patron of the foundation. Local media quoted her media coordinator as saying that the former first lady had obtained funds from overseas for her humanitarian work in a transparent manner and she never got involved in politics.

[Mahinda Rajapaksa summoned by anti-graft commission]

The Rajapaksa clan has dubbed the investigations against several of the former regime members as a political witch-hunt. Rajapaksa charged that his successor Maithripala Sirisena's government was out to jail all members of his family, including himself.

Rajapaksa's younger brother Basil, the powerful economic development minister, is under remand custody for alleged financial wrongdoings under his ministry.

The other brother, Gotabhaya, who was the top defence ministry bureaucrat, has been questioned several times by the anti-graft commissions as well as the FCID.

The government says many complaints of corruption and wrongdoings by the Rajapaksas when in power have surfaced after his defeat to Sirisena in the January presidential election.

The FCID was set up to fast-track investigations but the opposition members who back Rajapaksa have questioned its legality.

Rajapaksa, who is mulling a political comeback, has found resistance from Sirisena who does not want to allow him contest the next parliamentary election as the UPFA coalition's prime ministerial candidate.

However, Rajapaksa backers who held a press conference today said Sirisena was not the sole authority in the UPFA to give party tickets to contestants and its executive council will nominate Rajapaksa.

Sirisena is expected to call a fresh parliamentary poll soon.


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