Last Wednesday (18th of September), Chairman of the Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya notified that the much anticipated Presidential Elections would be held on the 16th of November by an extraordinary gazette notification.
Hence as per the presidential election protocol (THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ACT, No. 15 OF 1981), the dates for accepting the nomination of candidates and deposit of securities were made public along with the actual election dates. In this backdrop we found a Facebook post being shared widely, stating that SLPP Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam paid a deposit for presidential election on behalf of Shiranthi Rajapaksa (wife of opposition leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa) as reported by Ada Derana.
A Facebook page called “Lella Hutan” made the below remarks claiming that “රාජපක්ෂ කියලා නම තිබ්බට හැම එකාටම ජනාධිපතිකම් කරන්න බෑ. ඡන්දෙ දෙන්නෙ ගෝඨට. එච්චරයි ??” which translates to “Anyone cannot become a president just by having the name of Rajapaksa. Voting for Gota. That’s all ??”
|Facebook Link||Archived Link|
Similarly, a Facebook page called “කොළ බලකාය” translating to “The Green Force” made the below post stating that “ගමන සුභයි. අලියට ජය නියතයි. ගෝඨාභය කපෝතියි”
|Facebook Link||Archived Link|
Number of similar posts were seen and there was even talk about this incident in Twitter as seen below, in a more sarcastic manner.
|Twitter Link||Archived Link|
Before verifying the claim, we checked the media releases done by the Election Commission to understand the deadlines for accepting nomination of candidates, deposit of securities along with the actual presidential election dates. The official statement (Media Release 01) released by the Election Commission with regards to Presidential Election 2019 states as below with regard receiving of nomination and deposit of securities.“All the candidates should have made the prescribed deposit before nomination. A sum of Rs. 50,000 is required to be deposited for a candidate nominated by a recognized political party and a sum of Rs. 75,000 for an independent candidate. Deposits are accepted by the Chief Financial Officer of the Election Commission, Sarana Mawatha, Rajagiriya during the period from 18th September 2019 to 12th noon of 6th October 2019, the day prior to the date of nominations, on working days, from 8.30 am to 4.15 pm and from 8.30 am to 12 noon on 6th October 2019”
|Election Commission Press Release|
Since the claims had stated that the message was sent from Ada Derana, we checked the SMS alert feed sent from Ada Derana and found only the below messages on 20th of September, related to this incident.
We verified the same with Ada Derana Facebook page and Digital and confirmed with Ada Derana that there had not been a news update published as per the above claim in any of their platforms.
|Ada Derana Online||Archived Video|
Cash deposit of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for presidential election was covered in most of the main-stream media as below.
|Daily Mirror Online||Archived Link|
|Ceylon Today Online||Archived Link|
|Daily News Online||Archived Link|
From our investigations, it is clear that the claim “SLPP Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam paid a deposit on behalf of Shiranthi Rajapaksa” is completely false. It is further evident that SLPP Secretary, Sagara Kariyawasam has actually deposited the cash deposit on behalf of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, The presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Title:Security deposit for Presidential Election 2019 paid on behalf of Shiranthi Rajapaksa ?Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe