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Sunday, 01 July 2018 - 13:20
Former President rejects New York Times report
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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has categorically rejected claims by The New York Times that he had obtained money from China Harbour Company for expenses related to the 2015 Presidential Election.
 
He rejected these claims in a communiqué, in response to the article published by The New York Times titled “How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a port”.
 
The former President said that the main allegation in this article that funds had been given to me as campaign contributions by China Harbor Company during the 2015 Presidential Elections, is based on a Reuters report that appeared three years ago in July 2015.
 
At that time the Yahapalana government had suspended all Chinese funded projects and all Chinese firms including China Harbour which was building the Colombo Port City were being investigated.
 
Former President Rajapaksa said that more than a year later, this government cleared China Harbour Company of any wrongdoing and the Port City project was handed back to them.
 
He also said that the New York Times article has been intentionally vague about who had given this money and who had received it.
 
The former President also said that the main preoccupation of this government since it came into power has been to sling mud at the opposition.
 
While pointing out that the New York Times report had said that the Hambantota Port drew only 32 ships in 2012 but failed to mention that this increased to 335 in 2014.
 
Former President Rajapaksa finally said that the New York Times had described me as China’s preferred partner in Sri Lanka but given what has taken place after 2015, he has no doubt that he is now the preferred partner of India as well.
 
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Colombo has issued a statement regarding the reports published by New York Times which said that China had funded former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.
 
The statement said that the report was unsubstantiated and full of political prejudice and has already been criticized by many.

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