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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Allegedly Funding Rajapaksa Polls Campaign: FCID to Prosecute Chinese Company

The Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) will file legal action against the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for allegedly funding the election campaign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in January, last year.

An authoritative police source said the FCID would file a B report in court in this regard within the next three weeks.

The FCID had probed 11 ‘suspicious’ financial transactions – amounting to a staggering Rs. 3,117 million conducted by the CHEC, shortly before the last Presidential election.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has also launched a separate investigation.

“The investigations were first launched months after the Presidential election last year. After nearly one year, we have now ‘shortlisted’ 11 suspicious transactions by the Chinese company. We have already recorded statements from multiple parties and found enough evidence to proceed with the inquiry,” a highly placed police source told the Sunday Observer.

According to the FCID investigation, the company had allegedly given three cash cheques on December 12, 2014, and January 7, 2015, to a company whose office is in the Gampaha district. The police had received evidence to suggest that the money had been used to purchase caps and T-shirts for the supporters who campaigned for the former President.

Meanwhile, another cash cheque of Rs. 5 million had allegedly been given to a prominent bhikkhu in Colombo who openly supported former President Rajapaksa’s political campaign. The FCID had already recorded a statement from the bhikkhu who had admitted that he invested the money in a fixed deposit account.

However, the bhikkhu had told the investigators that the money was offered to him by some ‘Chinese gentlemen’ as a donation and he was not aware of an involvement of any Chinese company. When the allegations first surfaced last year, the Chinese company vehemently denied them, calling the allegations ‘false’ and ‘baseless’.

“The CHEC calls on all the relevant Sri Lankan officials and parties not to misunderstand their responsible and cooperative partner, and not to send a wrong signal to the investors from China and all other countries,” the CHEC said in a statement, in July, last year.

“We also urge them not to hurt the company which has worked so hard for Sri Lanka’s development and prosperity during the past 17 years,” the statement said.

Sunday Observer


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