Despite claims by himself and his associates, that he is now no longer an US citizen, the newly declared SLPP presidential contender’s name has failed to appear on a list of individuals who renounced American citizenship in the quarter ending June 30, 2019, according to a list published by the US Government yesterday.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was declared the SLPP presidential hopeful last Sunday, reportedly claimed that he handed in his papers to renounce his US citizenship on April 17, 2019.The document released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US Department of the Treasury on August 7, 2019, does not contain Rajapaksa’s name among those who lost their American citizenship. “The listing contains the name of each individual losing US citizenship...with respect to whom the Secretary received information during the quarter ending June 30, 2019,” the 17-page document perused by the Daily News states.
Rajapaksa’s name was also missing in the quarterly report compiled by the IRS for the three months ending March 2019, sparking concerns about the veracity of the claim that he had in fact given up US citizenship. However, Rajapaksa’s aides insisted that since he had only handed in his papers in April 2019, his name would appear in the IRS list to be published in August. However the ex-Defence Ministry Secretary’s name is missing from the August 2019 list as well.
In response to growing calls for proof of renunciation, earlier this month media organisations aligned with the former defence secretary released a document purporting to prove that his application to give up his US citizenship had been accepted on May 3, 2019.
Last week, two civil society activists Gamini Viyangoda and Professor Chandraguptha Thenuwara, called on the IGP to investigate how the former Defence secretary obtained a new Sri Lankan passport and National ID without declaring his status as a dual citizen or making a declaration under the Citizenship Act. Investigations by our sister publication Sunday Observer found irregularities in the manner in which Rajapaksa obtained dual citizenship in November 2005.
According to Article 91 of the Constitution as amended by the 19th Amendment in 2015, no person can contest the presidency or serve as President if they are a citizen of any country other than Sri Lanka.