Sri Lanka is in a precarious situation, entangled with a severe political and economic crisis. Country has become a default state and the government is trying hard to restructure foreign loans and carry out necessary reforms to rescue the country from the current economic crisis. The Sri Lankan government decided to seek the support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in this regard and a staff level delegation from IMF recently arrived in Sri Lanka to hold discussions.
In this context, we noticed a viral photo post claiming to be scenes of Sri Lankan ministers and high-ranking officials, holding discussions with the IMF delegation. However, Fact crescendo Sri Lanka found these claims to be misleading as the photo was not related to any IMF meeting.
Social Media Posts
A viral image with accompanying a text message is being spread rapidly in WhatsApp, claiming to be recent scenes of Sri Lankan officials meeting with IMF delegation. The text message claims that there is no surprise why Sri Lanka is in a bankrupt status as none of the ministers had carried any pen or paper to the IMF meeting, to note down any important points, as seen below.
We detect similar posts in Facebook as well.
However, as the image clearly shows some of the former ministers, who are now functioning as independent MPs we we decided to check the origins of this image.
First, we did a Google Reverse Image Search and noticed that while this image was recent , it had no connection with any IMF delegation.
As Hiru News had reported, the image was related with the meeting on July 21st, participated by independent parliament members, Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Wasudewa Nanayakkara etc. The had met with the ambassador of the Russian Federation to discuss about current issues related to Sri Lanka and possible solutions, at the Russian Embassy in Colombo.
Independent parliamentarians (currently, they are not holding any ministerial positions), discussed the possibilities of agreements to source fuel, gas, coal, fertilizer etc. from the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka. More on this can be read here. Archived.
Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa, one of the independent parliamentarians who participated in the meeting, also published these photos on his official Facebook page.
Former Minister, current independent MP , Udaya Gammanpila also stated that some had tried to misinterpret that the image was an IMF meeting. His response to the viral post via an FB post can be seen here.
However, the IMF staff delegation had in fact landed in Sri Lanka recently and a preliminary round of discussions to obtain loan assistance from the International Monetary Fund were held with Sri Lankan officials led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. The Prime Minister’s Office further stated that the IMF delegation will stay in Sri Lanka for ten days, till 30th June, and is expected to hold talks with a number of key stakeholders. Details about this can be taken from here & here
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According to our investigation, we were able to find out that the viral photo claiming to be scenes of a discussion between IMF officials and Sri Lankan government delegates including current ministers is misleading.
Even though IMF staff delegation had landed in the country and started initial level discussions, the photo depicts scenes of a meeting held on 21st June, between few independent parliamentarians and officials of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka, on possibilities of obtaining gas, fuel, coal, fertilizer etc. to Sri Lanka at lower prices.
Title:These are NOT scenes of SL ministers and officials holding discussions with IMF delegation!Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha