The brief life of a document that appeared to show that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had renounced his US citizenship which was exposed as a fake is raising more questions than providing answers.
It is a fiasco that needs some explaining from the camp of the Presidential aspirant.
Who did this cheap fake, and what was its intention? Is it to push Gotabaya’s candidacy claim because he is uncertain of the nomination, or was it an elaborate prank to embarrass the former Secretary to the Ministry of Defense?
Or was it some slick operation to bolster the stock market that failed. Stocks did open strong today but fell sharply by afternoon.
The document first appeared early morning as the Colombo Stock Market opened as a WhatsApp message and some stockbrokers sent it out to reporters.
The document “certified” Gotabaya’s process of renouncing his US citizenship was complete.
But on a second glance, there were a few things that did not ring true and suspicions were aroused.
The clincher came when fact-checkers and many on the internet found that this certificate was very similar to a sample certificate found on Wikipedia.
The same person had signed the Gotabaya certificate, except that the Wikipedia sample showed a certificate issued in Paraguay, and although the names and addresses differed, the Passport number of both Gotabaya Nandasena Rajapaksa and the Wikipedia individual Glen Lee Roberts were the same.
This hit Twitter in the early afternoon and inquiries to Gotabaya’s spokesman Milinda Rajapaksa about the fake document were never answered.
Then later in the afternoon, the website of the Sunday Morning, the English newspaper of the Gotabaya-friendly Derana Stable ran a story with Gotabaya’s response.
He said it was a fake but he has the genuine original documents in his hands would show it at the right time.
This raises the obvious question – if you have it then show it and put the controversy to bed.