Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa who arrived in Sri Lanka last month from the United States has admitted that he had not paid for the refreshments served at the VIP Lounge of the BIA, but the bill was instead paid by a state minister on his behalf.
Last month the Daily Mirror reported that when Basil walked in through the Gold Route of the BIA, the former minister had neither paid the mandatory US200 dollars per person to use the VIP lounge service nor had he paid for the refreshments and tea which were served to the over 100 guests that had gathered. The refreshments were provided by Sri Lankan Catering Service and Basil is not entitled to such VIP treatment as he is no longer a minister or a parliamentarian but is only an ordinary citizen.
The Daily Mirror then learnt that following the Daily Mirror article, the bill for the refreshments had been paid by a state authority to which the SLPP hurriedly released an official statement saying Basil had paid a sum of US400 dollars for himself and his wife to use the Gold route and the bill for the refreshments had also been paid. SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam however failed to mention who paid for the refreshments on behalf of Basil Rajapaksa.
However to set the record straight, Basil Rajapaksa in an interview on a television channel last night admitted that following the Daily Mirror article he had inquired from a state minister and this particular state minister who is not named had paid the bills on Basil’s behalf from his ‘personal funds’.
Basil also said that the sum of US400 dollars was paid by himself for the use of the Gold Route Service.
Following is the Q and A :
Q : Everyone is asking how Basil Rajapaksa had returned to the country through the BIA VIP entrance last month?
BR : That can be used by anyone who pays.
Q: So you have paid for the VIP service?
Q: After an investigation, the Daily Mirror Web has reported that a state institute has paid the bill for the tea party last month at the BIA. Even MP Mujibur Rahaman raised this in parliament.
BR: After they (DM) reported, I inquired about this from the particular MP who is a State Minister. He told me that the State Minister himself has paid the bill from his personal funds. No funds from the state institutes had been used. I didn’t even know they had arranged a tea party. They have treated those who were at the airport to welcome me. The State Minister who has organized the party has paid the bill himself.