COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s police Friday seized a fleet of more than 50 state-owned vehicles, including bullet-proof limousines, that were not returned after president Mahinda Rajapakse’s toppling in this month’s elections.
A police spokesman said 53 vehicles belonging to the presidential secretariat had been recovered from an open patch of land in Colombo as part of efforts to track down 128 vehicles that disappeared after the January 8 polls. “We are conducting investigations on how these 53 vehicles ended up at this yard,” Ajith Rohana told AFP.
Some of the cars were wrecks while others appeared to have been hastily abandoned with bottles of water and food left inside.
More than half the vehicles were bullet-proof, Rohana added.
Among the vehicles was an armour-plated BMW that was wrecked in a claymore mine attack in Colombo in 2006. Its passenger, the then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the president’s younger brother, escaped without injury.
The cars were found a day after the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena pledged to trace billions of dollars in stolen wealth stashed abroad by members of the previous regime.
Rajapakse and his powerful family are accused of syphoning large sums of money from the public coffers during his decade in power, which ended when he was voted out this month.