Sri Lanka opposition accuses govt of misusing public funds

Sept 19, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Wednesday accused the government of illegally channeling state funds to a new budget airline and a bank. He said the right of the Parliament to control public finances is a fundamental principle of democracy.

The transfer of funds to set up the new state-owned budget airline Mihin Lanka and for the Lankaputhra Development Bank was illegal as they had not been approved by parliament, he said.

Wickremesinghe said money was approved for one purpose and had then been diverted to other purposes using methods that were not legal or constitutional.

“This is a deliberate act of violating the principles of parliamentary control over public finance,” Wickremesinghe said

He said the Parliamentary control of public finances was assured through Article 148, 149 and 150 of the constitution.

He said there has been no parliamentary approval to set up the Lankaputhra Development Bank though an Act, as set out in a budget speech.

Wickremesinghe also slammed the creation of the budget airline Mihin Lanka saying there was a question over its very nature and whether it is a public institution.