Army "needs 98 more battle tanks"
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 October 2004, 09:52 GMT]
A top commander in the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), addressing a National Security Council meeting last week, had called for a purchase of 98 more battle tanks, the Daily Mirror said Tuesday. Major General Sisira Wijesuriya’s comments were highlighted in the paper’s report on his arrest Tuesday over financial irregularities.
Maj. Gen. Wijesuriya, the Army's Director General of General Staff, was arrested by the Commission Investigating allegations of bribery and corruption on charges that he was not able to account for more than Rs. 1.9 million in assets, the paper said.
Commissioner Kingsley Wickremesuriya told the Daily Mirror they had launched an assets investigation as Maj. Gen. Wijesuriya, among the top five in the Army, had failed to provide adequate evidence on how he obtained his assets.
“Major General Wijesuriya was present at the National Security Council meeting last Tuesday and he reportedly spoke of the necessity to equip the Army with an additional 98 main battle tanks,” the paper added.
Among Maj. Gen. Wijesuriya’s field commands is his appointment in April 2000 to head the elite 53 Division in April 2000 as part of the SLA’s efforts to stall the Liberation Tigers’ then offensive into Jaffna.
Maj. Gen. Wijesuriya later also served as Security Forces commander in Jaffna and Vanni.