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Ratnasiri to give statement over alleged rubber fraud
By Tania Fernando
Former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has agreed to call over at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and make a statement about an alleged fraud, at the Sri Lanka Rubber Manufacturing and Export Corporation. He was Plantation Industries Minister during that period.

The former Premier who was missing since last week had contacted the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday and agreed to present himself at the CID for his statement to be recorded, with regard to the alleged fraud at the Rubber Manufacturing Corporation.

A CID official said that Mr. Wickremanayake had said that he would present himself at the CID within the next few days. The CID which was trying to contact Mr. Wickremanayake since last Wednesday had failed to locate him and had subsequently sought the assistance of Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse to locate the former Premier.

The CID commenced investigation after it was revealed that money amounting to Rs. 2.5 million was released to the Corporation when President Kumaratunga was Finance Minister. These monies were allegedly released for the purchase of lands for various factories. However the Corporation has no deeds with regard to any of the transactions.

The former Chairman of the Rubber Manufacturing Corporation along with the accountant and factory manager were remanded in connection with the massive fraud in the Corporation and later released on bail. Statements of several leading opposition politicians were also recorded in connection with the alleged fraud, along with those of several VIPs and officials in the plantation industry.

During CID investigations it was found that over Rs. 540 million of public funds were siphoned off from the Corporation without anyone being held accountable. This sum of money was from a total of Rs. 941 million approved for providing relief to rubber smallholders.

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