COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police caught a top aide of President Maithripala Sirisena in the act of allegedly accepting a bribe from a foreign investor on Thursday, an anti-corruption official said.
Sirisena's Chief of Staff, I. H. K. Mahanama, was arrested with some $133,000 that he apparently received to release state land for a private sugar company, anti-graft commissioner Neville Guruge said.
Guruge said the Indian investor in the sugar firm had complained to authorities that Mahanama and another official, identified only as the chairman of a state corporation, had demanded 100 million rupees ($666,000).
"We caught them accepting the money at a hotel in Colombo," Guruge told AFP.
"They were accepting a fifth of the (total) amount when they were apprehended," he added.
There was no immediate comment from the presidential secretariat, but Sirisena's senior aides said he had been informed of the arrest.
Guruge said Mahanama became the highest ranking public official to be arrested from Sirisena's administration, which came to power in January 2015 promising to end a culture of corruption.