President Maithripala Sirisena said of the out of Rs 10 trillion loans taken, only about Rs 1 trillion could be properly accounted for in the assets as per documents at the Finance Ministry. He made this startling revelation at a media briefing with newspaper editors and heads of media institutions at the Presidents House in Colombo yesterday (26th Jan.).Furthermore, a large sum of funds that should have been deposited with the treasury have gone to private companies and institutions and that has been done in a systematic manner to avoid disclosure, he said. He said that there were sale of state owned institutions and state properties during the last 3 years of the current government too, and some of these deals were done without even informing the cabinet of ministers.
“I left the ministerial post in the last government and became the common candidate with the promise of ending frauds, bribery and corruption and I will continue my crusade against corruption and malpractices without giving any consideration to the political party or status of the persons involved in such deals,” he said. He added that many persons in the government and the opposition were angry about the steps he has taken in that direction, but vowed that he would continue the fight against corruption. The President also referred to the cost of living and mentioned that some imported items worth Rs 500 were sold for exorbitant prices such as Rs 1,500. He said that there were some political hands interfering in price fixing and expressed concern about the delays on the part of the Consumer authority to check such trade practices. He said that he would take every possible step to find early solutions to these issues. President Sirisena, stating that the government is fully committed to hold a free and fair election and assured fullest support to the Election Commission in this endeavour.Warning about agendas of some groups to disrupt and sabotage these efforts, the President said that nobody could condone these groups using fresh innocent university students by forcing them to demonstrate disobeying rules as happened yesterday during the anti SAITM protest.