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Fonsekas son got arms contracts illegally

[Express Buzz, Monday, 4 January 2010 16:48 No Comment]

The Mahinda Rajapaksa camp has accused the joint opposition Presidential candidate, Gen.Sarath Fonseka, of giving arms contracts to his son’s firm based in Oklahoma in the US, when he was chairing the army tender board as the Commander of the Sri Lankan army.

The accusation was made by the Minister of Construction Industries, Dr.Rajitha Senaratne, at a press conference here on Sunday.

The minister said that the General had made full use of the rule that for arms purchases under $ 25 million, the tender board could be chaired by the Army Commander, and that purchases could be made without consulting the Defence Secretary.

“We have documents to show that the entire Fonseka family (including the son and son in law) was involved in arms purchases,” Senaratne said.

Further to  hoodwink the US government, the Fonseka family had changed the address of its firm, the Minister alleged.

Challenging Fonseka to clear his name before the January 26 Presidential election, Senaratne said that Fonseka could either come for an open debate on the issue, or if he was too busy campaigning, he could nominate somebody to represent him in the debate.

Earlier, Gen.Fonseka had denied that his son’s firm had had any dealings with Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa kept India militarily intervening

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that if the war against the LTTE was won this time round, it was not because of Fonseka’s military strategies but because of President Rajapaksa’s decision to increase the size of the armed forces and keep India from militarily intervening.

The top official ,who is also the President’s younger brother, said that the previous Presidents had not increased the size of the army because it would have increased the defence budget, and probably, also because they were scared of increasing the size of the army.

Gotabaya then went on to say that the US and other Western countries could make a big noise in the world against Sri Lanka, but they could not militarily intervene to stop the war in Sri Lanka. The only country that could military intervene was India.

President Rajapaksa was well aware of this and saw to it that India was kept on the side of Sri Lanka throughout the war, Gotabaya said.

Tamil intellectuals against boycott of poll

Sri Lankan Tamil intellectuals, including the Tamil scholar Prof.K.Sivathamby, on Monday asked Tamil politicians not to entertain any thought of boycotting the Presidential election or contesting the election on behalf of the Tamils.

The intellectuals said that the need of the hour was to use the election to advance the interest of the Tamils. This could be done by presenting a united front and collectively bargaining with the main candidates (Rajapaksa and Fonseka), they suggested.

The Tamil National Allince (TNA) which has 22 MPs ,was expected to make up its mind on Monday after a threadbare discussion. However, the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, which is a constituent of the TNA, has already decided to boycott the poll. The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), another constituent, has actually fielded a candidate, M.K.Sivajilingam.

Those TNA MPs who owed their entry into politics entirely to the LTTE like Kajendran, Pathmini Chidambaranathan, are for a boycott. But others are for siding with Sarath Fonseka.

Why Fonseka is favoured

The reason why Fonseka is favoured over Rajapaksa is that Fonseka is backed by the pro-peace, pro-West and pro-LTTE United National Party (UNP) as was evident during the 2002-2004 peace process.

Fonseka has also made a promise to meet all the major demands of the Tamils like the dismantling of the High Security Zones and also the grant of amnesty to former LTTE cadre against whom there are no criminal cases.

[Full Coverage]

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