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Malik calls for CID probe 

Refuting media reports of him together with State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe requesting a commission of USD 25 million from an investor to set up a high speed train manufacturing plant, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema said yesterday in Parliament that the allegations are unfounded as he has never even met this person or spoken to them.

"While I was in Germany, about 10 days ago, I was made to understand that a Director of Ceylon High Speed Railway Limited, a Company who had sent a proposal to the Board of Investment (BOI), to produce and export high speed trains, has accused the State Minister and myself of requesting for a commission of USD 25 Million to have the project proposal approved.  This is a totally false allegation.  In fact, I have never met this party, nor have I spoken to them or even seen the colour of them", the Minister said.

Samarawickrama responding to the media reports that LKR 150 milion had been received to be credited to his bank account and the Central Bank had frozen the funds, yesterday urged the CID to investigate this matter at its earliest and take action against any Cabinet Minister if such funds have been received.

Text of the Minister’s speech is as follows:

"I wish to inform you that there seems to be a targeted attempt by certain sections of the social media and an electronic media channel in particular, to discredit me.

While I was in Germany, about 10 days ago, I was made to understand that a Director of Ceylon High Speed Railway Limited, a Company who had sent a proposal to the Board of Investment (BOI), to produce and export high speed trains, has accused the State Minister and myself of requesting for a commission of USD 25 Million to have the project proposal approved.  This is a totally false allegation.  In fact, I have never met this party, nor have I spoken to them or even seen the colour of them.

I do not wish to delve into the details of the  process through which the BOI  and the Single Window Investment Approval Committee approves the investment proposals submitted to the BOI, since the BOI Officials have given a detailed description of how the proposals are evaluated and approved.  At no stage do the Ministers get involved in the approval process. However, I have requested for and received a report of this proposal from BOI which I would like to table.

I would like to highlight some elements of the proposal  submitted, so that  Hon. Members of this House  can see for themselves whether the proposal should be approved or not; (refer annexure 1)Again last week, the same media institutions alleged that a sum of LKR 150 million (LKR 1,500 lakhs) had been received to be credited to my Bank Account and the Central Bank had frozen the funds.

This is a totally false allegation.  I have checked with the Central Bank and I am informed that no such funds had been received to be credited to anyone of the Cabinet Minister’s Accounts.  However, I have written to DIG – CID, to investigate into this matter at his earliest convenience and take necessary action against any Cabinet Minister, if such funds have been received.  I am tabling the letter I have sent to the DIG.

Hon. Speaker, is this the media freedom that we wanted?  This is nothing but freedom of the wild ass.

I request you to kindly take necessary steps to prevent Members of Parliament being insulted and defamed by the irresponsible media, coming out with fake news. If not, no decent person will want to enter Parliament."

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