President alleges Premier is corrupt
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 October 2002, 09:31 GMT]
The acrimony between Sri Lanka’s President and Prime Minister, who are bitter political rivals from opposing parties, deepened this week as the former accused the latter of taking bribes when he was education minister. The United National Front (UNF) cabinet is to hold a special meeting to discuss the practicalities of working with her amid repeated accusations against the Premier and several ministers, press reports said.
Government sources told the Daily Mirror newspaper that a special cabinet meeting would be held Wednesday without President Chandrika Kumaratunga amidst calls by several ministers for legal action to be taken to counter her charges.
Ministers had protested to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that they could not work with the President because of what she was saying and doing, the paper said.
In two controversial speeches at Pilimatalawe and Anuradhapura - broadcast repeatedly over the state media - the President made a series of allegations and attacks on the Prime Minister and other ministers. Kumaratunga’s comments was duly relayed to Wickremesinghe, who instructed state media to carry the speech in full.
President Kumaratunga told school children on Sunday that, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, is a bribe taker. She told winners of the Presidential Millennium Scholarship Awards to whom she distributed prizes, that bribes were taken for giving admission to one of the country’s most prestigious schools, Royal College.
She said that a “person” took Rs. 25,000 for giving admission and had shared it with the then Education Minister, who is now the prime minister, the Asian Tribune reported. She did not name the person.
"This Education Minister is the present Prime Minister, who did not admit my child, because I refused to pay the bribe," President Kumaratunga said. "[The Prime Minister] is not clean and he had a bad track record."