Issuing a press release yesterday, Channa Wijewardena and Upuli Panibharatha categorically denied allegations that their foundation had accepted Rs.15 million for their dances performed during the opening ceremony of the Hambantota Port.
The veteran dancers, issuing the press release on behalf of the Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation (Pvt) Ltd. stated they had been called before the Presidential Commission into Large Scale Corruption and Fraud to give a statement regarding the matter. Accordingly, the duo had submitted all cash receipts, invoices and other documents related to the transaction to the commission of inquiry.
While rebuffing media reports claiming that they had charged Rs.15 million for their performances at the ceremony, the artistes stated the correct amount they received was just over Rs.6.8 million (Rs.6,888,125).
They had also stated that as a policy, their foundation does not charge any money for creating dances or costumes when the event concerned is a state event.
Channa and Upuli have noted that the performance in question involved 200 dancers and they had to be trained over a period of two months. This involved providing food and lodging to these dancers during the period, while money was also spent to purchase sound systems, create props and to pay make-up artistes for the dancers.
The two have also expressed concern and regret over the allegations, which has negatively affected their hard-earned reputations, while also inducing mental stress for their children and students who study at the Channa-Upuli Foundation.