Why Did Sirisena Lash Out At Bribery Commission?

On October 12, in an unprecedented move, President Maithripala Sirisena lashed out at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, and the CID and FCID, alleging that they could be carrying out their work with a political agenda.

He expressed his contempt at the bribery Commission for taking three former navy commanders to court over alleged corruption at the Avant Garde company.

While he was severely criticized by several groups over his comments, political circles are now abuzz with a claim that could harm the President even more.

It is in the grapevine that Sirisena is more displeased by the action taken by Bribery Commission against his supporters than by the case filed against the navy commanders.

The Bribery Commission recently filed a case against State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, a veteran SLFP stalwart and a Maithripala Sirisena ally. Meanwhile, it is reported that Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has also been questioned by the commission over a separate issue.

The President, currently in a power struggle within the SLFP and the UPFA against the 'Joint Opposition' led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is said to be suspecting that there was an attempt to undermine his support within the party.

Several weeks before the filing of the case against Fowzie, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake warned that the Bribery Commission will file a case against a deputy minister. While the Bribery Commission actually filed a case against a State Minister, Ramanayake's statement has not gone unnoticed, political circles say.

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