Sri Lankan president to probe alleged fraud by former gov’t

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (R) has said he had not gone against the constitution of the country by removing Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointing former President Mahinda Rajapakse (L) to the post as Prime Minister. Xinhua

COLOMBO (Xinhua) – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said that he will appoint a commission to probe into the alleged fraud and malpractices which took place under the previous government led by ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Association on Sunday, Sirisena said he had not gone against the constitution of the country by removing Wickremesinghe and appointing former President Mahinda Rajapakse to the post, and alleged that the former government had been involved in fraud and corruption.

“The new commission will investigate corruption and fraud committed from the time the new government was appointed in 2015 to date. I am certain there will be frauds of serious nature that will surface,” the president said.

Mr Sirisena further said he will not re-appoint Mr Wickremesinghe as the premier if the current government led by Mr Rajapakse fails to secure a majority in the parliament.

“I will appoint someone who I can work with and whose economic policies will benefit this country,” Mr Sirisena said.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a severe political crisis following Mr Wickremesinghe’s sacking on Oct. 26, with Mr Wickremesinghe and his party, the United National Party alleging that the president had violated the constitution by removing him.

The UNP said that the present caretaker government appointed by Mr Sirisena could not continue as they had been defeated in a no-confidence motion in Parliament, which Mr Sirisena rejected, saying it had not been conducted in a constitutional manner by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Mr Sirisena has requested the parliament to conduct the vote again, following all parliamentary traditions.

Some 122 Sri Lankan legislators last week also filed a legal challenge in court against the new government’s continuation in office.

Mr Sirisena has maintained that the present crisis is not serious and will not affect the daily lives of Sri Lankans and assured the political unrest will be settled soon.

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