COLOMBO: Detained former Sri Lanka Army Commander Sarath Fonseka received thousands of dollars for his presidential election campaign from a diplomat of another Asian country, Lakbimanews reported on Sunday.
The paper said that the diplomat, along with an intelligence official, had arrived in the country days before the January 26 election.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that found US $527,000; £100 sterling; and Sri Lankan Rupees (SLRs) 15 million in the bank lockers of Asoka Tillekaratne, mother of Fonseka’s son-in-law Danuna Tillekaratne, was trying to find out if these funds were given by the foreign diplomat.
When questioned, Asoka Tillekaratne said that the money was not her’s but Fonseka’s and, that he had asked her to keep it, the paper said.
When leaders of the United National Party and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which had supported Fonseka in the election, were questioned, it was found that their parties had not received any funds from Fonseka. The leaders said that the money they spent on his campaign were from their own coffers.
The computers seized from Fonseka’s campaign office and the questioning of Anoma, wife of Gen Fonseka, yielded lists of persons who had been given money running into millions. Fonseka’s campaign manager S.H.A.de Silva had given SLRs 72 million to two retired Majors General, The Sunday Times reported. It noted that de Silva was a convicted criminal.
Fonseka had set up district wise campaign councils comprising retired army personnel and even deserters. But the leaders of the UNP and JVP told the CID that Fonseka had hidden these committees from them. The CID and the government suspect that Fonseka was clandestinely planning a military coup, if he lost the election to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Perhaps these secret committees were meant to help mobilise support from all districts of the country.