Jul 08, 2018

A comparison of 2 articles on China’s ‘bribe’ to Mahinda Featured

‘Ravaya’ has found similarities and dissimilarities between the ‘New York Times’ and the ‘Ceylon Daily News’ articles on China Harbour Engineering Corporation’s having funded the election campaign of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

According to the NYT report dated 25 June 2018, the sum given to Rajapaksa was 7.6 million US dollars, but the CDN in its 22 June 2015 issue put the figure at 149 million.

At the time a dollar fetched Rs. 138, and the sum could be calculated at nearly one million dollars.

The NYT says the money was transferred under HPDP phase 2 of Hambantota port development project via a Standard Chartered Bank account, while CDN additionally mentions the bank account no. as 013359190/19.

From that account, 3.7 million USD had been withdrawn for use in Rajapaksa’s campaign – 678,000 USD to buy T-shirts, caps and hats, 297,000 USD to buy other gifts, 38,000 USD given to a well-known Buddhist monk and a further 1.7 million USD given to volunteers at Temple Trees.

The CDN report says V.M.R.H. Francisco obtained Rs. 89 million by three cheques from the account and handed the money over to Hema Madiwela who was in charge of the campaign at Temple Trees, which he used to buy 245,000 T-shirts and 125,000 caps with Rajapaksa’s picture.

Also, Priyantha Samarasinghe had been given Rs. 58 million by two cheques from the account, which were later given to Madiwela too, CDN quoted a CID official as saying.

Meanwhile, at a media briefing by the Chinese embassy, a representative of China Harbour Engineering Corporation noted that the figures given by a foreign media outlet to be contradictory.