The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) gave former President Mahinda Rajapaksa over Rs. 36.9 million worth of air time free for his election propaganda work during the last Presidential election campaign.
This was revealed in the audit of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation conducted by the Auditor General’s Department.
Apart from this, it was also revealed that air time worth Rs. 2.2 million was used to promote Rajapaksa in SLRC productions. The Sunday Leader attempted to contact the former Director General of SLRC, Chandrapala Liyanage in this regard but the attempts ended in failure.
When The Sunday Leader contacted the former Deputy Director General of SLRC, Nalin Kumara Nissanka, he said that the instructions to air promotional programs of Rajapaksa were received from the top.
Rajapaksa has already been questioned by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into serious acts of Fraud, Abuse of power and Corruption (PRECIFAC) for allegedly not paying Rs. 10.1 million dues to ITN for carrying out his 2015 presidential campaign propaganda. Rajapaksa had denied the allegations but he has been questioned on several occasions by the Commission.
An audit inquiry conducted by the ITN found that from November 24, 2015 to January 5, Rajapaksa had paid Rs. 62 million to the channel for election advertisements. However, he still owes Rs. 10.1 million for advertisements carried out during the period.
At the same period, the channel, which had agreed to air advertisements worth Rs. 44 million of Rajapaksa’s rival Maithripala Sirisena during the January polls, only aired advertisements worth Rs. 2.6 million despite the agreement.
by Ranjith Gunawardena/ Sunday Leader