Sri Lankan ex-president appears before commission

Colombo, Oct 15 (IANS) Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa appeared before a Presidential Commission on Thursday to make a statement over allegations that his party failed to pay state media during his failed bid for another term in office.

Rajapaksa is accused of using state media to promote his presidential election campaign ahead of the January polls, without paying for this, Xinhua reported.

During an election, under Sri Lanka’s election laws, candidates are treated equally and, state media is expected to give equal coverage and accept a fixed amount for advertisements promoting any candidate.

The former president and his campaign team had allegedly used state television to telecast commercials in support of Rajapaksa on credit and failed to repay.

As a result the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC), appointed by the new government, began inquires into the allegations.

The PRECIFAC summoned Rajapaksa on Thursday for a public hearing.

Former media minister Keheliya Rambukwella also appeared before the commission in relation to the same case.

Rajapaksa contested against Maithripala Sirisena in January at the presidential election and lost.

Sirisena’s government subsequently launched investigations into alleged corruption said to have taken place during Rajapaksa’s term.

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