Sri Lankan foreign minister resigns

Karunanayake steps down days after motion against him in parliament that objected to his involvement in corruption scam

Sri Lankan foreign minister resigns

World Bulletin / News Desk

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake resigned on Thursday, days after a no trust motion was submitted to the parliament by the opposition over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.

The no-trust motion submitted in the parliament by the joint opposition led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the foreign minister had no right to represent Sri Lanka when serious allegations of corruption were being levelled against him.

In a statement made before the parliament prior to resigning from his portfolio, Karunanayake defended his innocence in the highly-publicized 2015-2016 bond issuance scam, claiming he had done nothing wrong.

He said he was resigning in the interest of his party and the coalition government he represented.

“I have never done anything wrong and I resign with pride to help create a new political culture in Sri Lanka," he told the parliament.

There had been a strong demand for Karunanayake’s resignation, including from his own party -- the United National Party -- led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

President Maithripala Sirisena had appointed a special presidential commission in January 2017 to probe the allegations.

Karunanayake was touted as a financial beneficiary of a stock broker and a central figure in the bond scam, Arjuna Mahendran.

Mahendran is also the son-in-law of the governor of the Central Bank. At the time, Karunanayake had held the finance portfolio.

Last week, the foreign minister told the presidential commission probing the bond scam that he was not aware that his wife had leased and subsequently purchased a penthouse for 165 million rupees ($1.08 million) with money advanced by the controversial businessman.

Karunanayake was appointed foreign minister on May 22 through a portfolio swap that saw then foreign minister Managala Samaraweera taking up the finance portfolio. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2017, 15:03