State Minister Shehan Semasinghe claims that any allegations the opposition levels at the Rajapaksa family must be levelled at the opposition itself as well as a number of former presidents.
He was responding during a parliament debate yesterday (05), when MP Thushara Indunil Amarasena mentioned that former deputy minister Nirupama Rajapaka and her husband Thiru Nadesan were named in the massive exposè – Pandora Papers, unveiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
“The name Rajapaksa is mentioned. We’re embarrassed as Sri Lankans when something like this happens,” Amarasena had said.
In response, Semasinghe went on to claim that the funds referred to in the Pandora papers cover a period between 1990 and 2000. A book written by former United National Party (UNP) heavyweight Tiron Fernando, Through Winds of Fire, Semasinghe claimed, mentions that former president J R Jayawardena pressured outgoing president D B Wijetunga in 1994 to appoint Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as prime minister after the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led coalitions historic election victory. Jayawardena had allegedly asked Wijetunga to overlook former prime minister and SLFP leader Sirimavo Bandaranaike, fearing a possible loss of his civic rights the way Bandaranaike lost hers in the 1980s.
“If such money was made between 1990 and 2000, who would’ve supported it” said Semasinghe.
“I advise those who make this allegation against the Rajapaksas to level them against [opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa]. He should know what deals his father would’ve had. [Former president Kumaratunga] would also know [of deals with the parties mentioned in the Pandora papers]. Jayawardene might know, as might Wijetunga,” he said.
However, the government will investigate the matter, said Semasinghe, but warned that it will end up making the SJB look bad.
“Remember that any revelations will only be an embarrassment to [your party],” he said.