Colombo (PTI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday appointed a Presidential Commission to investigate allegations of corruption said to have taken place when his government was in office, a move seen as another attempt to sully the name of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The five-member Commission of Inquiry, to be headed by retired Supreme Court judge Upali Abeyratn, will investigate allegations of corruption that took place between January 15, 2015 to December 31, 2018, Sirisena’s office said.
Sirisena became the president in January 2015 after defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa. He formed the government with the support of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).
The duo’s government of national unity introduced many key reforms in their pledge to establish democratic good governance opposed to the authoritarian regime of Rajapaksa.
However, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe’s relationship soured and the president ditched the prime minsiter to align with Rajapaksa. Sirisena in late October installed Rajapaksa as the prime minister by sacking Wickremesinghe, in an action widely described as a constitutional coup.
Sirisena from time to time accused Wickremesinghe of corruption and appointed a probe into an alleged scam on the issuance of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s bond issues.
The bank was headed by Wickremesinghe’s close friend Arjuna Mahendran. His son-in-law’s primary dealer firm of the central bank was charged with wrong doings in the bond issues with Mahendran’s inside information.