Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa
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Court drops corruption charges against Gotabaya
Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was absolved of all corruption charges linked to the embezzlement of nearly $185,000 by a high court which also lifted the overseas travel ban on him and released his impounded passport.
Rajapaksa, 70, stormed to victory in the presidential election, trouncing his nearest rival Sajith Premadasa by a margin of over 13 lakh votes.
Rajapaksa and six others, including brother Mahinda, were charged for alleged misappropriation of nearly 34 million Sri Lankan Rupees, or around $185,000, to build a museum for his parents in their home town, Hambantota.
A three-judge special court acquitted Rajapaksa after deputy solicitor general Dileepa Peiris informed that the country’s constitution prevents trying an executive president on any criminal or civil charges.
The court also ordered the lifting of overseas travel ban imposed on Rajapaksa and told the court registrar to release the president’s impounded passport. Rajapaksa will embark on his first foreign tour with a visit to India on November 29.
The judges ordered the prosecution to inform the court on or before January 9 on the measures to be taken regarding the remaining 6 defendants in the case. AGENCIES