A powerful ruling party politician, from the Anuradhapura district, is under scrutiny over the disbursement of compensation to Mavilaru farmers who were affected by the closure of the anicut by the LTTE.
Nearly Rs. 7 million has been disbursed fraudently, the head of the investigating team said.
The special team, appointed by the government to investigate irregularities and malpractices in the disbursement of compensation, yesterday recorded statements from a large number of victims.
The team, which is from the Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Ministry, headed by A. A. Wickramasinghe is on a six-day visit to Mavilaru. It recorded statements from farmers at the Seruwila Pradeshya Sabha, Navodya School in Mahaweligama, Kilivedddi camp for Internally Displaced People and the Seruwila Raja Maha Vihara.
`The farmers had complained to the investigators that there had been a lot of injustice in paying the compensation. Some had been paid more than the estimated amount and others less. In certain cases they had complained that people who were not entitled to compensation at all had been paid. Some had produced bogus documents and received money for 300 acres of uncultivated land, claiming that they were cultivated during that particular season. It has been revealed that these monies have been claimed by the some farmers in connivance with certain government officers,` an official who wished to remain anonymous said.
On Wednesday, Attorney-at-law Mohan Peiris dropped a bombshell at the Chief Magistrate`s Court in Colombo, when he asked the CID why they had only arrested minor government officers when investigating into the irregularities that had taken place in the paying of compensation to the Mavilaru farmers. He demanded that the CID divulge the name of the political heavyweight who should be held responsibile for the compensation scam.
Peiris also requested the Court to issue warrants for the arrest of the political authority behind this scam.
When the case was called before Chief Magistrate Colombo Kusala Sarojini Weerawardane, the former Chairman of the Agricultural Insurance Board Piyasena Namal Ratnayake, its Finance Director Punyasiri Perera, Farmers` Pensions Director Undiya Ralage Chandradasa, Deputy Director Saravanamuttu Aravindan and Rasaiah Saradah (clerk) were produced as suspects.
The Chief Magistrate asked the CID why the investigations were not conducted on officers in the higher echelons but only on the officers below them.