JVP MP Vijitha Herath yesterday wanted to know what the government had done with the US dollars 6.2 million it had received from Venezuela as tsunami assistance.
He said the money was collected by the people of Venezuela, with President Hugo Chavez launching the fund raiser and sent to Sri Lanka in mid July 2005 during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga`s term of government.
`The funds were collected by the people of Venezuela as a symbol of their solidarity with the tsunami-affected people in Sri Lanka. It was initiated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,` Herath told The Island yesterday.
`The Venezuelan government has inquired about what was done with the money but has received no answer,` he said.
Herath said the Venezuelan Chief Director of the Cabinet of the Vice Minister Asia Middle East and the Pacific Wolheng Gonzales had told him in the presence of the Venezuela`s Ambassador to India, Milena Santana-Ramirez, that they believed the money had been misused.
He said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had led the fund raiser titled `One Bolivar for Asia` and it was mainly the poor Venezuelans who had contributed in order to show their solidarity with the tsunami affected people.
The meeting between the JVP and Venezuelan government officials took place last week at the Colombo Hilton, where the two teams discussed measures to be taken to strengthen bi-lateral relations between the two nations.
Venezuela`s contribution was for the construction of 1,000 houses in Arugambay, Ampara. `A Venezuelan delegation was accompanied by the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse to Arugambay to survey the area after the catastrophe. When they had promised this huge sum of money as aid, our PM had promised to invite the Venezuelan government to send a delegation to declare open this village. Now, Venezuela is wondering what our people had done with money as there is no sign of the 1,000-houses scheme, Herath said.