MP denies embezzling legal aid, wants museum in Jaffna Fort

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 May 2003, 11:40 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) take steps to transform the Jaffna fort into a museum, said northern Parliamentarian Mr. M. K Sivajilingam, speaking to the press Friday. He said the TNA will strongly oppose any move by the SLA to build a camp in the Jaffna fort. Mr. Sivajilingam denied reports that he had misused assistance sent by well wishers in England to needy families of Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka’s Kalutara prison. Controversy surrounds allegations in the Tamil press that lawyers had embezzled monies collected and sent from UK for the welfare of Kalutara prisoners.

The allegation came to light when the contents of two letters which Tamil political prisoners in Kalutara wrote to Mr. A. Nadesan, senior correspondent and political columnist for the daily, Virakesari, were published in the media.

According to the prisoners’ letters, four lawyers appearing for them, including Mr. Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, TNA MP for Jaffna, had received funds from UK, mainly through one Mr. S. Santhakunavadivel, a well wisher resident in England. The prisoners, according to letters sent to Mr. Nadesan, allege that none of the monies were accounted for by the lawyers although the funds had been sent over a period of time to them (the lawyers).

It was alleged that Mr. Sivajilingam MP too had received part of these funds, amounting to 70000 rupees.

Meanwhile, Thinamurasu, a weekly tabloid backed by the EPDP, a close ally of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, charged that Mr. Sivajilingam had embezzled the money sent to him for the welfare of the prisoners.

Speaking to the press Friday, the MP acknowledged that he had indeed got 70000 rupees from Mr. Santhakunavadivel in UK but said that he gave 12000 each to the families of two Tamil political prisoners in Kalutara and sent the balance back to the donor in England.

The MP said he would take legal action against Thinamurasu for defamation.

In a third letter to Mr. Nadesan recently, the political prisoners allege the monies have to be properly accounted for.

 

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