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Sri Lanka’s Opposition Party Demands Rajapaksa Trial For ‘Misusing Funds’

Although Sri Lanka's Constitution allows privileges to former presidents, including personal security and an office with staff, that does not grant him safe cover from the allegations of fraud that have been put before him

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Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s former president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who spent a temporary stay abroad as a fugitive leader, has every right to return to his own country but must be held accountable for the several allegations of misuse of funds since he no longer enjoys legal immunity, main Opposition Party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has said.

Rajapaksa, 73, fled the country last month with his wife and resigned from his post thereafter, amid a popular uprising and protests against his government for mismanaging the country and lacking the political drive or inclination to save the country from one of the worst economic crises in decades.

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The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted SJB’s CEO Ajith P. Perera who said, “Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a citizen of this country and he has the right to return to his motherland. No one can deny this right. However, he should be tried for the allegations of misuse of funds.”

Although Sri Lanka’s Constitution allows privileges to former presidents, including personal security and an office with staff, that does not grant him safe cover from the allegations of fraud that have been put before him.

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There was a case against him for allegedly spending State funds for his parent’s monument. It is possible to make him face the trials and penalise him if is found guilty, as he does not enjoy a legal immunity as per the constitution,” Mr Perera said while addressing the media on Friday.

The opposition party has accused Rajapaksa’s disgraced government of misusing the USD 1 billion loan facility extended by India as part of its financial aid to the nation’s crippled economy which faces a severe shortage of food items, and fuel and other essential commodities.

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A media report on Thursday suggested that Rajapaksa may apply for a green card as he passes the eligibility criteria since his wife Loma Rajapaksa is a US citizen.

The former president renounced his US citizenship to contest the 2019 presidential polls.

Also Read: Ex-Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the Run, Exits Singapore for Thailand

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