President of the Avant-Garde Maritime Services Nissanka Senadhipathi claims a project which would have brought USD 800 Million to the country while generating a large amount of jobs was lost simply due to the opportunistic decisions taken by the Ministry of Defence.
According to him, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that looked into the Avant-Garde issue found the organization to be beneficial to the national economy as well as being able to generate a large number of employment opportunities.
Senadhipathi made these claims in an interview held with the Voice Tube website. Please find the link to the video below.
According to him, Avant-Garde is one of the three leading companies that engages in Martime Security Services in world and is only second to the renowned American privtate military company, Blackwater. Senadhipathi pointed out that it is unfortunate that the government has resorted to taking revenge on a company that could compete with the leading private security firm in the world and help to increase the inlow of foreign exchange to the country. Furthermore, he underscored that it was the misfortune of all the employees that were under contract, with the vast majority having served in the defence sector and in the Sri Lankan armed forces previously.
Avant-Garde released after Presidential Investigation!
Mentioning the report of the Presidential ICommission of Inquiry into Avant-Garde, he said that despite the company being proven innocent, political revenge and haughtiness have caused the country to lose out.
He said the country could have earned around USD 800 and the Ministry of Defence had to merely give a 'No Objection' letter with regard to the project and the government need not have spent a single dime on it.
Ministry of Defence all quiet!
However, he said that after presenting a letter with the project report and explaining the situation, he is yet to hear from the Ministry. “We tried to get in touch with several of those who are responsible but it was to no avail” he added.
Nissanka gets calls from two Ministers!
Meanwhile, Senadhipathi said that even though he hadn't received a response from the MoD, two top ministers from the government had called him to find out more information regarding the project after seeing various news that were circulating widely on social media.
Accoridng to him, both ministers had claimed that the project would help to bring economic stability to the country if implemented. Nissanka said that he explained to the ministers that all he needed was support from the Ministry of Defence in the form of a 'No Objection' letter and at least part of the project could still be salvaged if the necessary help from the relevant government agency could be expedited.
Opportunity to bring USD 1 Billion lost!
He also claimed that in 2015, he brought a project worth 1 Billion USD from the Nigerian government. Even though the minister allowed him to sign the agreement, he did not support Avant-Garde during the execution phase of the project thereby causing the country to lose a staggering amount of foreign exchange.
Government continues to hold our warships!
When questioned if the company has any connection to the government now, Nissanka revealed that even today, a floating armoury of the company in the Red Sea is holding over 800 weapons of the Sri Lankan government.
I sell Sri Lanka’s Art of War!
Nissanka in his interview also warns that Sri Lanka would become an economic failure such as Greece if it hopes to uplift the economy through traditional exports such as tea and rubber. As a country that defeated terrorism, it should create a market and sell the ‘Art of War’, he opines.
According to him, Avant-Garde Maritime Services is highly equipped to bring in major profits to the country. However, the company is being prevented as they did not give any financial aid for the election campaigns. He also added that the government has prevented the truth regarding Avant-Gardethe company and its innocence from being revealed to the people.
He also says that false allegations have been levelled against him in an attempt to jail him but no one is investigating as to how the Navy had managed to accrue losses on the same deals that were very much profitable when Avat-Garde was operating.
He also accused the likes of current CDS, Ravi Wijegunawardena, of taking commissions and bribes from foreign parties at the time and running the business in to the ground.
“It is shameful to call him an Admiral” he said in the interview.
Nissanka also challenged the government to show whether they are able to bring even a small percentage of the dollars that were brought in during his time compared with the amount that was brought in after it was taken over by the Navy.
The owner of the luxury BMW i8 which took a plunge in the Kimbula Ela opposite the Thalawathugoda Keells around 6.15 am yesterday is said to be owned by a Brother-in-law of Minister Kabir Hashim who also works as a member of the Minister’s personal staff according to social media posts going viral at the moment.
According to reports he had purchased the luxury car from BMW- Bavarian Motors Pvt Ltd located on Isipathana Mawatha, Colombo owned by an individual identified as Rishard Hameed.
Hameed is a known close business associate of the sons of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa while Former Minister Johnston Fernando and Yoshitha Rajapaksa are said to have invested in Hameed’s business.
The CID had also previously taken a statement from Hameed regarding Rugby player Wasim Tajudeen's assassination.
Hameed’s wife also became the talk of the town recently for importing a super luxury Lamborghini car to the country
Daham Sirisena’s connection?
However certain social media outlets had reported that the car was driven by son of President Maithripala Sirisena, Daham dwhen the accident occurred.
However, CCTV footage of the incident does not appear to show Daham Sirisena. While the car had also struck two other vehicles, an advisor to a top businessman in the country has agreed to pay damages to those two vehicles.
However, CCTV footage of the incident does not appear to show Daham Sirisena. While the car had also struck two other vehicles, an advisor to a top businessman in the country has agreed to pay damages to those two vehicles.
At 3.30 am on September 10, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, the country’s highest ranking military official, boarded a Qatar Airways flight bound for Singapore. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was travelling overseas to attend the 208th National Day celebrations in Mexico, according to his Office. The trouble was, September 10 was also the day Admiral Wijegunaratne was due to report to the CID to record an official statement regarding the allegation that the top military officer had harboured a suspect – a Navy man who was wanted in connection with the abduction and suspected murder of 11 Tamil youth, including five students.
Later that day, a letter was dispatched to the Fourth Floor – the famous CID headquarters. It was delivered by an official from the CDS’ office. The letter officially notified the CID that the Admiral had been called away on an official visit overseas, and would not be able to appear at the CID offices as scheduled last Monday (10). Instead, the letter requested CID officials to provide a fresh date after September 19, when he was scheduled to return to the island.
Late last week, the impending questioning and arrest of Admiral Wijeguneratne had taken on new political dimensions.
President Maithripala Sirisena summoned an emergency Cabinet meeting at high noon on Thursday, reportedly, to discuss the issue. Ministers have been tight-lipped about the extraordinary Cabinet meeting, but reports surfaced about frank exchanges regarding the CID move to arrest the nation’s highest serving military official on charges of harbouring a fugitive. The suspect was subsequently arrested by the CID last month. A decision on the issue was deferred until the Prime Minister returned from an official visit to Vietnam on September 14.
On Friday, during a breakfast meeting with editors, President Sirisena revealed he had pitched into the CID and Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, over the continued arrest of military officials, including high ranking officers in high profile murder and abduction cases, and their failure to file cases against any of them since 2015. The President said, it was his belief that the CID should not arrest and detain military officials unless they could file indictments because, this was leading to accusations against the Government that it was on a witch-hunt targeting the military. The President said, he had called for progress reports from the IGP on all the controversial cases involving attacks on journalists and the abduction of 11 Tamil youth in 2008. In none of those cases had the CID been able to file cases against any of the officials arrested since 2015, he added. If there were charges against these officers they should be prosecuted, rather than being arrested and harassed for months, only to be released on bail later, the President charged during the briefing. It is not clear why the CID has been unable to prosecute any of these cases so far, but prosecutors and investigators point to procedural delays, capacity issues within both the CID and the AG’s Department, and the difficulty of obtaining information and documents from the armed forces about matters pertaining to the high profile investigations.
On Friday night, the Government Information Department issued a media release, denying it was ‘hunting war heroes,’ as some claim, underscoring the fact that the CID investigation into the abduction of 11 youths commenced in 2009, when the Rajapaksa Government was in power. The Government release said, while reports claiming that the CDS was to be arrested were circulating, the Admiral had only been summoned for a statement to be recorded by the CID regarding the allegation that he had helped the Navy suspect evade court or prevented his arrest by giving him protection. “However, most people and media had reported this situation to indicate that the arrest of the CDS was imminent. The CID had no such intention,” the Government release claimed.
The political firestorm over the alleged involvement of Admiral Wijeguneratne has been some time coming.
Ever since reports surfaced about how the CDS clashed openly with CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera, at a meeting that included several Ministers and the Defence Secretary, the Navy abduction case has been in the spotlight, and the CID and the CDS have been on a collision course. At the fateful meeting, Wijeguneratne challenged SSP Abeysekera to prove the charge that he had helped Hettiarachchi alias Navy Sampath to flee the country. Abeysekera appeared to have accepted the challenge, reporting details to court citing a navy official’s evidence and an alleged transfer of funds to Hettiarachchi’s account from a Navy account maintained at a state Bank. The court has ordered the bank concerned to release information about the said transaction to the CID.
In its B Report (B2527/80) filed at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, the CID observed that the current Chief of Defence Staff, who was Navy Commander at the time, had harboured the suspect – Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias Navy Sampath – who was wanted in connection with the abduction for ransom, illegal detention and suspected murder of the 11 youth. The former Navy Commander had failed to produce Hettiarachchi to the CID, despite being officially informed, thereby intervening to prevent the legal arrest of a suspect. The former Navy Commander and current Chief of Defence Staff had committed crimes punishable under Sections 209, 174 and 183 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the CID B Report to court further added. The offences pertain to the omission to give notice or information to a public officer by a person legally bound to give notice or information (174), obstructing a public officer in the discharging of his public functions (183) and harbouring an offender (209).
Based on the CID progress reports on the investigation into the Admiral’s conduct to allegedly shield Navy Sampath, Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on August 29, ordered the CID to initiate steps necessary to arrest the Chief of Defence Staff if the investigating officials had sufficient evidence to frame charges against him.
A senior investigating officer at the CID admitted that the Department had not seen Admiral Wijeguneratne’s departure overseas coming. In fact, CID officials visited Admiral Wijeguneratne at the CDS office at the BMICH on Friday, September 7, to request him to report to the CID HQ on Monday (10) to record a statement regarding the allegations. News that the CDS has left the country to attend an official function in Mexico, only reached the CID officers at 2 pm last Monday.
The CID investigation against the senior military official has been filed separately under the B Report number B 9527/2018. Lawyers for families of the missing boys expressed fear in court last Wednesday that Admiral Wijeguneratne could continue to evade questioning, which could hamper investigations into the Navy abductions case. Attorney-at-Law for the families, Achala Seneviratne, requested Magistrate Jayaratne to issue a travel ban on the Admiral. The Magistrate said, the request could be made when the case against Wijeguneratne is called under the separate B Report. However, that B Report has no calling date, which means there was still no inquiry worth reporting to Court, even though the Department claims it has enough evidence against the senior military official.
According to the CID, Wijegunaratne allegedly protected the main suspect Hettiarachchi known by the alias ‘Navy Sampath’ as the search for him by the CID intensified. Sources within the CID said it had sent two messages to the administrative branch of the Naval Headquarters, for the attention of then Navy Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne on March 1 and March 28, 2017, requesting the Navy to produce Hettiarachchi at the CID Headquarters on March 2 and 31 respectively. These requests went unheeded, but evidence and witness statements have revealed that Hettiarachchi was being harboured at Naval Headquarters in Colombo during this time.
Evidence to support this claim comes from the statement made by the wife of Hettiarachchi, herself. She had told investigators that she visited Hettiarachchi thrice while he was housed at the HQ between March 3 and March 31, 2017, despite the Navy insisting at the time that they had no knowledge of his whereabouts. Her statement is also backed by Lt. Commander Geethal Laksiri who cooperated with the CID. In his statement to the CID, Laksiri claimed Hettiarachchi was housed in the adjacent room to his, in the Officer’s Mess when the CID was looking for him. Once encountering both Wijegunaratne and Hettiarachchi in the elevator, Laksiri claimed he witnessed a damning conversation between the two. According to the CID B Report, Laksiri claims that when he saw Hettiarachchi leaving the Mess one day, the then Navy Commander Wijegunaratne had asked him where he was headed. Hettiarachchi had replied that he was going to the Light House to meet his wife, to which the Commander had retorted: “If you wander about and get caught by the police, there is nothing I can do about it,” - according to Lt. Commander Laksiri’s statement reported in the CID’s B Report seen by the Sunday Observer.
According to Laksiri’s statement to the CID, Hettiarachchi had also shown him a bagfull of money just before disappearing from the Naval Command. Hettiarachchi had claimed that Commander Wijegunaratne had provided the money for his expenses, Lt Commander Laksiri told the CID. The CID during a previous court sitting reported that the Sri Lanka Navy had transferred half a million rupees to Hettiarachchi from a special account maintained at the Bank of Ceylon.
The CID told court that it believed the money may have been utilised to obtain false ID documents found in Hettiarachchi’s possession when he was arrested in August 2018. OIC of the Gang Robberies Unit of the CID, Nishantha Silva told Court at the last hearing on Wednesday (12) that the Department was investigating the money trail further.
An initial tip off by the then Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda in 2009 led to the explosive revelations about a chilling abduction for ransom racket, allegedly run by officers serving in the Sri Lanka Navy. Investigations into the racket began in 2009, but picked up steam only after the fall of the Rajapaksa regime in 2015. The case has implicated several senior naval officials, including former Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake. Rajiv Naganathan, the A/L student from Kotahena who had just got admission to a university overseas and four friends who had gone out with him to celebrate ahead of his departure to the UK went missing from Dehiwala in September 2008.The other boys were abducted from other suburbs in Colombo, residents of Mannar and Trincomalee who were working in the capital or visiting the city. The other six young men were abducted between August and October 2008. The abducted boys were initially held in detention at the Naval Prison at Chaithya Road, and subsequently transferred to the ‘Gunside Base’ at the Navy’s Easter Command HQ in Trincomalee, CID investigations have revealed. CID officials have visited holding cells in the ‘Gunside Base’, where they have studied etchings on the walls, to determine if the handwriting matched any of the boys who went missing in 2008.
Tomorrow, September 17, marks a decade since families of the 11 boys began their long struggle for answers about the fate of their sons. Sarojini Naganathan, the mother of starry-eyed university freshman Rajiv, had thought the investigation was getting traction in recent months. But with the case into her son’s abduction flying into massive political crosswinds this week, her quest for justice just got a little harder.
Source : Sunday Observer
Reports claim that the Chairman of Maga Neguma, affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, Rajiv Seneviratne has acted as a political activist while engaged in public service during the last provincial council election.
This is because he is said to have served as the UNP election campaign office head while working as the Chairman of the Maga Neguma.
Regulations grossly violated
Working as the Chairman of the Maga Neguma while also acting as the head of the UNP election campaign office, abuse of state property during LG polls and violation of the establishment's code and financial regulations are serious offences and election monitors CaFFE has now lodged a complaint with the Election commission in this regard.
According to the complaint lodged by CaFFE Seneviratne had even exchanged communiques with the Election commission, election monitors and other organizations while functioning in both roles.
Evidence presented by CaFFE
CaFFE has made note of this in their complaint while bringing in to focus how Seneviratne had even signed official documents relating to the election which has now been presented as evidence.
Maga Neguma Chairman mentioned in the website
The first thing CaFFE alleges is that it is Rajiv Seneviratne who is the Chairman of the Maga Neguma which is affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways and has been named in its official website as the Chairman. http://maganeguma.lk/about-us/.
The other thing brought in to the focus is that during the local government election, Rajiv Seneviratne had received salaries and allowances from the Consolidated fund of government while serving as the head of the election monitoring office to promote the UNP without due approval.
According to CaFFE Seneviratne has sent letters as the UNP election campaign office head to the Election commission, election monitors, Police and other department while working as a government employee to promote a election party violates Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) states that not only orders or measures issued by the Election Commission but also the provisions of the Establishments Code and the financial regulations of the government have been violated.
Evidence of misuse of public property
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has complained to the Election Commission that dozens of letters have been sent to the Election Commission during the last election is evidence that public assets, state employees and human resources are a living evidence misuse of state property to promote a party.
CaFFe also mentioned that if Rajiv Seneviratne has committed such acts can be verified through a proper investigation on whether the taxpayers funds were used for the election campaigns, vehicles, vehicles and other materials.
The highest number of complaints during the Rajapaksa regime
While pointing out that it was Seneviratne had made the most complaints of state property being misused during the Rajapaksa regime, CaFFE expressed their shock as to how him committing the same acts while dealing with the election commission was kept a secret. As a result, CaFFE has requested an inquiry be carried out in this regard.
A personal grudge: UNP
When asked by isis.lk, a spokesman for the UNP said the Executive director of CaFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon is acting on a personal grudge against the party as he was reported by them to the commission for acting in a partial manner during the recent elections.
The spokesman also said he is unaware if Seneviratne was acting as the Chairman of Maga Neguma during the LG polls but if he had resigned then he had not committed any wrong. He also said this has to be looked at prior to accusing him of any wrong.
Prove these accusations: UNP
When pointed out that he has been mentioned as the Chairman of Maga Neguma in the official website the spokesman said there are issues in updating government websites adding that there should be evidence to prove that he acted in both roles during the recent polls.
He said if evidence is presented the party will support any action against him and Minister in charge of the Ministry at the time, Lakshman Kiriella should apologise to the country.
The constitution explains state employees violating election laws as mentioned below :
The gazette notification issued by the Election Commission in that regard
Ministry of Power and Energy, B.M.S Batagoda is said to have sent a secret letter to the Procurement Appeal Board requesting that the tender to build the propose Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant be granted to a Chinese company disregarding the local company who had submitted the lowest bid to obtain the contract.
According to reports according to the recommendation of Batagoda, if the contract is granted to the Chinese company, the country is set to lose Rs. 50 Billion with the funds being diverted to China instead.
The tender which had caused much controversy in the country recently had been posed to be granted to a local company after the necessary technical and financial assessments were completed.
However ignoring the recommendations of the TEC committee and the Sri Lanka cabinet approved procurement committee (SCAPC) which he, himself is a part of Batagoda has vehemently opposed this move from the inception which was revealed by the Sathhanda newspaper as well.
At first, Batagoda had attempted to grant the contract to the Samsung company of South Korea however due to the serious errors in the tender bid of the company it was ruled out. Therefore he has been campaigning vigorously to handover the tender to GCL China instead.
An individual who was taken to task before the supreme court for purchasing coal out of the proper procedure is considered to be one of the most ineffective and questionable state sector officers and as this incident proves is also possibly a corrupt government official.
The local company which had quoted Rs. 14.97 per unit and was the lowest bid is also experienced in constructing Integrated Circuit Power Plants. However, the Chinese company which has no previous experience in such a project is said to have quoted Rs. 15.98 for per unit.
Once the plant which has a capacity of 350 MW is constructed, annually CEB is estimated to purchase around 2500 units from the plant. Therefore if the contract is given to the Chinese company the expected loss is massive.
However, sources say the letter consisting of serious errors sent by Batagoda had been drafted in favour of GCL China. But according to trustworthy sources, the most significant factor is the Secretary had sent in the letter presenting it as the official stance of the Ministry even though the Minister and the State Minister had no knowledge of the matter.
While working towards granting the contract to the Chinese firm and thereby making an undue profit Batagoda has also continuously delayed the tender process thereby pushing the country into an energy crisis forcing the CEB to make emergency power purchases to earn large commissions through the process.
Since being appointed as the Ministry Secretary, Batagoda has failed to even add one Megawatt of power to the National grid.
While the current government has taken steps to eradicate corruption from the state sector by introducing the Public service commission however corrupt individuals such as Batagoda becoming stronger and taking serious government decisions based on personal benefit is an unfortunate situation for the country.
The SLFP led coalition in the unity government have been split into two camps following the proposal by the UNP to form a unitary government led by the latter.
Although the UNP as a party had decided to form a unitary government by last evening (13), discussions between the President and the diplomatic community has led to the appointment of a special committee to decide the future course of action of the government after considering the prevailing political situation.
It was also decided that the country should remain stable until the committee arrives at a decision.
UNP will accept Members coming from the SLFP
However, at the Cabinet meeting that was held today, the current political climate had reinforced the need to form a unitary UNP government and as such, the UNP had conveyed its inclination to accept Ministers from the SLFP led alliance who were willing to join them.
According to reliable sources, after the Cabinet meeting today (14), a special meeting was held between the Ministers of the SLFP led Freedom at the Presidential Secretariat.
Let’s go to reaffirm the January 8 mandate - SLFP strongmen
At that meeting, a group had proposed that they work to reaffirm the mandate that was given to the government on January 8, which also included the UNP.
This group included Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mahinda Amaraweera, Duminda Dissanayake, Sarath Amunugama, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Vijith Vijithamuni Soysa and Faizer Mustapha.
Thilanga propositions flower bud when Susil says NO
The group had pointed out that it is imperative for them to support the UNP government on the basis of the mandate that was given by 6.2 million Sri Lankans and that it would also provide them with an opportunity to protect the President politically.
They vehemently opposed the notion of joining the Rajapaksa camp as both the SLFP and the UPFA will be at serious peril if such a situation were to occur.
However, a group including Minister Susil Premajayantha had protested against this suggestion stating that that they could not support the UNP on any ground. They also pointed out that it is against party principles and that it’s more important to remain in Parliament.
In this backdrop, Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala has stated that instead of working under a unitary UNP government or the current unity government, they could set up their own government by forming an alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). A proposal to this effect was forwarded by the SLPP and as such, there is a real possibility of displaying the majority of 113 parliamentarians without any problems.
However, a majority of the SLFP led alliance had not agreed to the proposal, and posited that it was more dignified to work independently in Parliament than to go back to the Mahinda faction. They pointed out that it is important for the party to obtain the role of the Leader of the Opposition, thereby acting as the real opposition in Parliament.
The President who listened intently to both sides had informed the group that anyone was free to join the UNP and the rest were welcome to act independently in Parliament.
Accordingly, around 10 MPs of the SLFP have agreed to join a UNP government while the remaining 32 MPs are expected to act independently and vie for the Leader of the Opposition.
The anti-corruption stance of many in the government is now being questioned after the recent arrest of President’s Chief of staff and the State Timber Corporation chief in connection to accepting a bribe of Rs. 2 Billion.
The reason for the government to earn flak for it was that they failed to heed the warning given by the Sathhanda newspaper on March 19, 2017.
An article run under the headline “The first investor of the 100-day government gets fed up and is ready to leave the country” is important as it proves that corruption is not only relating to a person or people but is also fueled by carelessness and oversights.
Here is the Sathhanda revelation
Courtesy - Sathhanda Newspaper March 19, 2017
‘The first inventor of the 100-day government gets fed up and is ready to leave the country’
MG Sugar Lanka is said to be unable to commence its operations in Sri Lanka as the officials of the Ministry of Land has failed to grant them the necessary land provisions for its business for over one year. MG Sugar Lanka is the first investor that had arrived in the country during the 100 day governments time.
As reported to us MG Sugar Lanka had arrived in the country during 2015 according to an agreement with the Board of Investments (BOI) to restructure the Kantale Sugar factory and the worth of the direct investment by them is said to be Rs. 15, 000 Million.
According to that agreement the company was to get 500 Acres of land for 30 years while they had agreed to renovate the now broken down Kantale Sugar factory. The company has fulfilled all the stipulated regulations for investors by August 2016 to commence its investment development process. At the time all government agencies other than the Ministry of Land had provided for the legal provisions needed for the investor to commence its operations. Despite the company’s repeated attempts to inquire as to why land was not being provided by the Ministry of Land, they had not received any response.
Therefore the foreign director board of MG Sugar Lanka had even informed of their difficulties to the Prime Minister and several other top government officials while expressing their severe disappointment at the unfair treatment being meted out to them despite their efforts to accept the open invitation by the new government to foreign investors.
When inquired sources from the Prime Ministers office confirmed this adding that during a meeting held on March 15, all parties were called for a meeting and was advised to resolve this issue expeditiously.
Sathhanda also reached out to the Secretary to the Ministry, Dr. I.H.K Mahanama who said the delay was due to several legal issues to release the lands. He also said after the meeting with the PM, the ministry has informed the Attorney General regarding these and the issue is expected to be resolved in a matter of days.
But the question remains as to why these legal issues could not be resolved for two years and what these so called legal issues are. When asked the Secretary was unable to pinpoint these issues exactly and only goes on to show that even through an official agreement the necessary provisions for investors cannot be given and issues cannot be resolved unless the President or the Prime Minister getting involved in it leaving investors without an alternative solution than reach out to them as it drags on for many years
With the country's economy in dire straits and direct investments as expected by the government not coming in, we wanted to give special focus to this issue.
MG Sugar Lanka arrives at an agreement with BOI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya to restructure the Kantale Sugar factory on July 27, 2015. While the agreement was signed by Jayasuriya and Mendel Glik on behalf of MG Sugar Lanka at the time the Minister of Lands was the late Minister M.K.D.S Gunawardena and its Secretary was Dr. I.H.K Mahanama.
According to this agreement even if MG Sugar fully modernizes the factory the government was to hold 51% of its ownership while the company was to have 49%. It was also expected to produce 80,000 Metric tonnes of Sugar in order to reduce 20% of the cost spent on importing sugar to the country. The investment of MG Sugar Lanka in this regard was a estimated Rs. 15,000 million which was a direct investment.
The project was also expected to generate 2500 direct employment opportunities while 15000 indirect employment opportunities was also expected to be generated. The company was also set to bring the latest technology in sugar production to the country.
Therefore it is questionable as to how Secretary Dr. Mahanama was not aware of possible issues in this economically important project and how he failed to inform the investors and other relevant parties in this regard. And it must be stressed that if this is the situation then no matter what the government does to attract direct investments they will not bear fruit due to these issues.
As the country was celebrating its 70th Independence, the live telecast of the arrest of the owner of Perpetual Treasuries Arjun Aloysius and the company’s CEO Kasun Palisena by Sirasa once again has brought in to question the television channels media ethics while also damaging the good name of the Criminal Investigations Department.
As the arrests were being made after a ‘b’ report was presented to the Fort magistrate on Friday by the OIC of the Financial Fraud Division within the CID it has been pointed out that the CID officers had forgotten on important legal principle.
That is, the suspects, Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Joseph Aloysius and Kasun Oshadhi Palisena are in fact merely suspects.
The documents presented by the CID to courts itself says “We plead before the courts that these men are to be considered as suspects”.
But watching the situation that unfolded the question arises if were two out of the three arrested today arrested after being considered as suspects? Or as convicts?
Not notified to hand themselves over
Does the CID not know of the simple legal principle that after being presented to the Fort magistrate the duo is being remanded as mere suspects and not convicts? ?
Despite being granted permission to make the arrests however the CID had at no time informed the suspects to hand themselves over. Instead, while they go on to surround the residences of the suspects a comedy act is acted out before a Sirasa media crew armed with cameras.
While the former governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran is known to be abroad during the presentation of the ‘b’ report by the CID, Alysious and Palisena were in open society within the country at the time.
It is true that on the information presented to the courts the duo is suspected of committing an offence or offences against public property which allows the CID to arrest them sans a warrant due to the crime falling under cognizable offences.
Proper respect and dignity?
But even such an arrest should be done while ensuring every suspect's respect and dignity.
Despite various media reports in the last few weeks predicting their impending arrests prior to February 7 and of the ‘b’ report submitted on Friday these two suspects had not attempted to flee the country at any time. Therefore it is clear would have in fact handed themselves over if they were notified to do so.
But the CID had failed to do so. That is why we are now forced to claim that the script of this comedic act is in fact very weak.
The CID, in fact, has no right to arrest even the most dastardly criminal in the manner of shooting a teledrama as was done during these arrests.
How did Sirasa find out?
The incident also brings into question as to how Sirasa was prior notified of an arrest which was unknown to even Arjun Aloysius.
While some may put it down to their talent however their media ethics has left much to be desired.
Do they have a personal grudge against the arrested men? This charade is in fact yet another display of irresponsible behaviour of this leading TV channel that operates with a broadcasting license in a country full of taxpayers.
One of the fundamental principles of criminal law is that “A suspect is not considered to be a criminal until the end of the court procedure and a verdict is given”
A legal principle known to even school children is called the ‘presumption of innocence’ where a person is considered as being innocent until proven guilty.
This is considered as one of the roots of the rule of law, which has been seen throughout the world for many centuries ‘The rule of law’ which President Maithripala Sirisena continues to evoke on election stages is, in fact, the base of ‘good governance’.
A push for the President’s Independence speech?
Speaking close to the time of these arrests at the 70th Independence Day celebrations President Sirisena said: "Today's patriotism means dealing acting with financial discipline".
Therefore it is questionable if the CID conducted this charade during the arrests connected to what is considered as one of the largest financial frauds in the country to please the President or another powerful politician.
In the past incidents of ‘Kondaya’ and the rapist of Giribawa we have seen the ugly scenes how civilians are dragged away as suspects by the Police. These were also accompanied with cheap media circuses in a similar manner.
But the investigations in to this serious financial fraud was conducted by one of highest authorities of the Police the CID and not the village Police.
While we have commended the behaviours of these officers in instances such as the Vidya sexual assault case however this incident has tarnished the name of the department which is unfortunate.
In the past incidents of ‘Kondaya’ and the rapist of Giribawa we have seen the ugly scenes how civilians are dragged away as suspects by the Police. These were also accompanied with cheap media circuses in a similar manner.
But the investigations in to this serious financial fraud was conducted by one of highest authorities of the Police the CID and not the village Police.
While we have commended the behaviours of these officers in instances such as the Vidya sexual assault case however this incident has tarnished the name of the department which is unfortunate.
Fundamental Rights of the suspects violated :
They have clearly violated the fundamental rights of these suspects and provided evidence of this live to the country as well due to the live telecast by a television channel.
However the end result is that the CID will be put in a difficult situation. If the CID’s real intent is to ensure justice then they should first stop attemtping to please politicians while not supporting media circuses as seen today.
Source : (lankanewsweb.net)
Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs, Nimal Kotawalagedara decided to immediately suspend Don Piyatissa Kumarage as the Basnayake Nilame of the Ruhunu Kataragama Devalaya on April 10.
The order for the suspension had come from Minister of Buddhist Affairs, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera which was revealed by the Minister himself to the media on April 9.
It must be recalled that the D.P Kumarage was also previously suspended by Kotawalagedara in August 2017. This was based on an allegation that Kumarage had forcefully kept a key of the devalaya.
Two more years to be in the post
However, it now appears that Kumarage is now at the risk of losing his position once more despite having two more years to be in the post of Basnayake Nilame.
According to the Minister, the recent suspension comes after serious financial allegation have been levelled against Kumarage while they have also been revealed in an investigation headed by a retired supreme court judge.
The Minister also said Kumarage was suspended as the Ministry intends to carry out an impartial audit of the financial management of the devalaya. The Minister said it will be conducted by the Auditor General's Department.
Minister also said that according to the audit report further action regarding the Basnayake Nilame.
If financial allegations have been made investigations and legal action should be taken while the due process under human law should be followed even in a situation to do with a belonging of a deity. The same rule would apply to the Buddha.
Likewise any establishment too should follow those rules and not work outside the process. If any activity is being conducted not according to book the assumption is that a wrong is being committed.
Candidate who lost election appointed as acting Basnayake Nilame
According to sources from the Minister Dilruwan Rajapakse has been appointed as the acting Basnayake Nilame after the suspension of Kumarage. They say Rajapakshe is a candidate who had contested to be appointed as the Basnayake Nilame previously but had lost out on the chance. Sources go on to claim that therefore this appointment is suspicious and is in fact a plan by Rajapakshe to gain the position by creating issues within the Devalaya. Another reason for the suspicion according to sources is that during in the previous instance an additional commissioner of the Ministry was appointed to look in to the matters of the Devalaya temporarily this time around how a former candidate for the post have been appointed.
Is a 15.1 investigation not needed?
It also must be noted that any issue to do with a Basnayake Nilame must be done according to the Section 15.1 of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance No. 19 of 1931. However action of the Ministry does not appear to conform with the law. If followed the law allows the Nilame to be sacked, take legal action against him and even be fined.
But however the real issue appears to be with several Kapu Rala’s and a group attempting to divide the revenue of the Devalaya amongst themselves to which the current Basnayake Nilame, D.P Kumarage was an obstruction.
Claims of a Ministry Official
Speaking to isis.lk a Ministry official claimed this issue is based purely on money. “As soon as he was appointed Basnayake Nilame got in to a tussle with a main Kapu Rala, Somipala Ratnayake and introduced a lot system to do the services in the Devalaya” he said.
According to the official the Devalaya has five kapu ralas who conducted services one month each for five months. They get the revenue for that month but also give the Devalaya Rs. 2 million. The rest of the 7 months the service schedule was given after casting lots.
The first issue cropped up when Ratnayake had attempted to carry out services other than the month he got through a lot forcefully. This is when the issue of the key cropped up the Official said. According to him this issue that keeps continuing.
Where is the retired Judge’s investigation report?
It also must be noted that the investigations had taken place in a suspicious manner. Firstly during the incident regarding the Key not only as the Minister present for the discussion but his son, top officials of the Ministry, Basnayake Nilame, District Secretaries, Police and Kapu ralas were also present. Due to complaints regarding both parties, the Minister at the time had announced that a committee will be appointed headed by a retired supreme court judge to look in to the matter.
The Minister now claims the suspension comes after the committee report submitted. However various questions pop up on observation.
These are listed below hoping for satisfactory answers from the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs.
1. Why is the report made by the retired Supreme Court Judge not published?
2. Is it a secret report?
3. During this investigation are thee not allegations against the main kapurala for violating the lot system?
4. Has the Basnayake Nilame not investigated charges levelled against them?
5.For example isnt it important to check if the Kapuralas have paid the required Rs. 2 Million monthly to the Devalaya?
6. How many complaints have been received against Kapuralas not doing so?
7. Are these not financial issues?
8. Why is an investigation not carried out against the Basnayake Nilame under S. 15.1 of the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance No. 19 of 1931?
9. Why was a charge sheet not issue relating to the suspension?
10. Why was Dilruwan Rajapaksa apointed as acting Basanayake Nilame? Why is he so important?
11. Why was an additional commissioner not appointed to the position instead?
12. Can the Ministry assure that Wedihiti Kanda and Kiri Vehera which comes under the Temporalities ordinance is being financially managed property?
13. Why is the Basnayake Nilame of the Saman Devalaya not being removed in the same way Kumarage was removed after even hiding the initial investigation report?
14. Does the Minister and the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs have no knowledge of the audit report of the financial irregularities that took place in Maha Saman Devalaya in Ratnapura?
These questions arose in our mind while watching this drama that has unfolded which has even left other staff without their salaries. These issues must be answered by officials. Therefore we hope the Commissioner gives us the necessary answers.
It is not to grant justices to infidels who go to Kataragama to over ask but instead to show the calibre of men you are to the people of the country as opposed to God.
Despite claims that the controversial bond issue incurred serious losses to the government, Attorneys appearing for Arjun Aloysius claim that his client is in possession of proof to render all these claims as false.
Ready to reveal the truth
His lawyers made these claims when contacted by isis.lk to elicit a response regarding the revelations on social media that Arjun Aloysius is scheduled to make a special announcement regarding the controversial bond issue.
Lots of underhand work afoot
Further expressing their views, they said that while various claims regarding the bond issue are made on political stages, their client had wished to remain silent. According to them, however, he has now decided to reveal the truth into the bond issue locally and internationally as there is an attempt to eliminate all businesses of their client’s which is an unexpected situation for a businessman.
A profit of USD 170 Million
They say his client has made the clear calculations regarding the bond transactions and accordingly he now has proof that government’s financial entities involved in the transaction had received a profit of more than Rs. 25 Billion (USD 170 Million).
Speaking further, they pointed out that they also have reports of profit incurred by the three state institutions which got involved in the bond transaction through their client.
Profit of the 3 government institutions
Accordingly, the Employee’s Provident Fund has made Rs. 22.5 Billion, the National Insurance Corporation has made Rs. 2.9 Billion and the National Savings Bank has made Rs. 1.2 Billion, they said.
They also point out that at various times the investigations have mentioned that the government incurred losses due to the transaction but in reality, these are in fact ‘Hypothetical losses’.
Issue has been politicized without knowing the true facts
They also mention that losses are not incurred by purchasing these bonds using government funds in the secondary market but also get the opportunity to trade these and earn profits.
While pointing out that it is a continuous cycle, they say it is unfortunate that the public with no knowledge regarding the functions of bond issues, primary dealers and secondary markets are being misled by politicizing this issue.
It is now being reported that the news claiming Sri Lanka has imported a type of disease-ridden prawn called Vannamei a complete lie cooked up by businessmen.
A news that had appeared on the Sinhalese daily, Mawbima claimed one disease human can contract from the species can be dangerous as HIV AIDS.
However, on investigation, it has been revealed that the news has been spread by a group of businessman in the fisheries trade by the name of Sri Lanka Aquaculture Development Alliance who are against the Vannamei breeding project.
While business ploys aimed at revenue alone are common however it should be noted that even businesses should be more cautious when spreading news which may have serious negatively affect the economy and public. However social media page admins too do not heed this and shoot themselves in the foot such as in this incident
Ploy by Businessman
Firstly the objection to importing prawns as raised by business association engaged in the businessman. An individual claiming to be its President pretending to have medical expertise claimed that the prawns were ridden with diseases while going on to claim that laws have been thwarted to import the stock.
He has also said that the prawns are not being bred in Sri Lanka currently due to six unidentified diseases associated with them. According to him, the Prawn industry in the country is facing a serious issue which they then went on to file a complaint with the Police.
Despite having to respect him as a businessman however he along with media organisations for spreading misinformation among the public.
Currently, Monodon species of prawns are used in Sri Lanka while the importation of Vannamei has been decided due to more harvest and low cost.
Therefore India too has turned to farming Vannamei prawns. These prawns are also bred in Thailand, Vietnam and amounts around 70 percent of the prawns grown there. These are possibly the positive reasons which upset the business associations.
Everything was done legally!
While this is only a pilot project it was to be put in place under the guidance of the Ministry of FIsheries but was handed over to a private company due to difficulties in raising capital for the project. The company too are not taking part in the project to create a monopoly in the business but to gain more harvest through less cost by increasing the number of prawns bred.
Their aim is to use the harvest to increase the export revenue USD 2 Million. However, the association of businessman are said to have created the fear mongering to hamper the efforts.
While the import has been done legally while it has been certified by the Hawai Biological Research Institute.
Meanwhile the prawns after being imported, its samples have been sent to Peradeniya, as well as the laboratory of the Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka in Baththuluwa. The project is set to take place in an area not connected to other aquatic systems.
In case if it is revealed that the stock is ridden with diseases then the Aquaculture Development Authority and the Private company have agreed to destroy the batch.
What must be noted is that those spreading these rumours themselves in 2015 requested approval to import this type of prawns only going on to prove their real intention behind spreading misinformation regarding the project.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is said to have blocked the special statement which was to be issued by former Minister of Finance and Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake regarding his breach of privileges without giving him any prior notice.
UNP in turmoil
The UNP is said to be in turmoil now following the actions of the Speaker while the Ravi Karunanayake party said the speaker blocked the speech despite having been informed according to the proper parliamentary procedure that the MP will make a statement today (24) about the breach of his privileges.
Speakers actions suspicious
One young MP of the UNP speaking to isis.lk said the actions of the speaker have raised doubts and suspicions as he could have informed Karunanayake yesterday if the speech cannot be allowed during today's session.
According to the MP addressing the parliament yesterday, the speaker said the President’s office has assured the copies of the bond commission report have only been given to the President’s office, parliament, attorney general's department and the Central Bank. Therefore the speaker not questioning Karunanayake's claim that he obtained a copy from the President’s office itself raises suspicions.
Ravi purposely put in danger
Meanwhile, with reports that there are attempts to arrest the former Minister being circulated, the MP said by blocking Karunanayake's speech it appears that the speaker has indirectly helped the efforts to put parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake in danger.
An invisible hand behind Speaker’s act of censorship?
The MP further speaking to us anonymously questioned if an invisible hand behind the act of censorship by the speaker given the current political scenario.
While an internal discussion between UNP leaders has now commenced, the MP said a decision will be taken regarding this situation after the conclusion of the talks.
When questioned regarding the blocking of the speech which was to be made by the MP regarding the breach of his privileges, Ravi Karunanayake declined to comment saying the speech which was to be made in parliament will be given to all media outlets instead while providing a copy to isis.lk.
following is the full text of MP Ravi Karunanayake’s speech regarding the breach of his privileges which was expected to made in parliament today.
First and foremost I, Colombo District Member of Parliament, Ravi Karunanayake would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to present my statement regarding the breach of my parliamentary privileges before the house.
On January 8, 2015 2015 a dream resonated within our hearts. That is, the establishment of consensus and good governance while also establishing democracy, reconciliation that was once lost while bringing about economic and social development in the country. To achieve these targets on January 8, 2015 we were able to elect a new President and a government following which in the same year we established a consensus government.
However unfortunately in a matter of three years this dream appears to be slipping away from us due to misleading and narrow political objectives.
But today I am making this speech as a person who not only strongly believes in but also stands for consensus and good governance while hoping to fight till the very end to make this dream a reality.
My expectation is not to attack anyone
There is perhaps no other political figure whose character was more assassinated and insulted than me due to the controversial bond issue. Therefore I have a right to prove my innocence in this regard. But I have no intention of attacking anyone through this statement. Instead I take this opportunity to prove my truthfulness regarding the allegations leveled against me.
Despite the criticisms levelled against me, I have the strength to face them. It's the strength of the truth. The strength of fairness and justice.
Perhaps this is the first time in the history of parliament a complaint is being made such as this regarding a breach of privileges.
As a person who always stood for and fought for good governance, I have become a ghastly and planned political target of these chain of events.
At this time I recall a proverb in local folklore. "වැටත් නියරත් ගොයම් කානම් කාට පවසන් ඒ අමාරුව ? "
Was awaiting the report
From the time my name was dragged in to the activities of this commission, I have been impatiently awaiting the release of the report.
The Presidential commission to investigate in to the questionable issuance of treasury bonds was appointment by the his excellency the President on January 27, 2017. Following this appointment the investigations were conducted for around 10 months after which the compiled report was presented to the President on December 30, 2017.
- The commission report which consisting of thousands of pages was then hurriedly summarised in a mere three days during the new year by a committee comprising of senior officers who in return handed this over to the President.
- Based on this report summary on January 3, 2018 the President made a special statement through media outlets. My statement today is mainly focused and based on this statement made by him.
- The statement made says the following :
- "The report mentions the responsibility of Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake regarding the rent payments for a penthouse apartment by the Walt and Row company owned and controlled by the Aloysius family. The report states that a legal case should be filed against him under the Bribery Act as well as under the Penal Code for giving false statements to the Commission."
This says a case should be filed against me.
However in the report thereafter handed over to us only says that relevant authorities should look into if there is any wrongdoing and if such wrongdoing is discovered then appropriate action should be taken in this regard.
This is indeed a bizarre situation. It is as if during a game of cricket the batsman lets a wide delivery be, only to be declared as dismissed by the Umpire.
Please allow me to explain.
Going through this report it is clear that the media campaign launched against me by connecting me to the controversial bond issue is in fact a planned conspiracy.
Certain politicians and media outlets carried out major propaganda campaigns claiming that as the Former Minister of Finance, I advised state banks regarding treasury bond transactions thereby making the government incur serious losses in revenue.
The commision says a different story
However the commission says a completely different story.
I would like to bring your attention to Page 838 of the report. It says the following :
We have earlier, concluded that, in view of the undesirably high Yield Rates which then prevailed, it was reasonable and justifiable for Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance, to wish to bring these Yield Rates down at these Treasury Bond Auctions. We have also taken the view that, since successive Governments have been known to use the state-owned People’s Bank, National Savings Bank and Bank of Ceylon to implement some policy measures and it is not per se irregular for a Government to do so, we cannot find fault with Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance for convening these meetings and giving the aforesaid instructions to the three State Banks.
Through this the commission accepts that as Finance Minister it was just and legal of me to reduce these rates.
“It was reasonable and justifiable for Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance, to wish to bring these Yield Rates down at these Treasury Bond Auctions”
The commission further accepts that the previous governments have also taken similar action according to their policies while confirming that I am not in the wrong in this regard.
“To implement some policy measures and it is not per se irregular for a Government to do so, we cannot find fault with Hon. Ravi Karunanayake”
Meanwhile an extensive propaganda was carried out claiming that I instructed the Central Bank. However, the commission has now rejected all these statements.
I would like to once against bring page 838 of the report to your attention. It says :
“However, we have also earlier concluded that, there is no evidence before us which suggests that, Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP or the Ministry of Finance advised the CBSL that the aforesaid instruction had been given to the three State Banks”
According to the report the commission has accepted that there is no evidence to say my Ministry nor I had instructed the Central Bank in these transactions.
The commission in its report more importantly accepts that the Central Bank or the Treasury bond issue was not under my control or influence at the time.
My learned lawyers have informed me of the following conclusions they have arrived at after going through the commission report.
- The commission has confirmed that I have no connection to Perpetual treasuries or another party receiving a profit from the purchase and sale of treasury bonds.
- The commission does not report of evidence regarding any wrongdoing and/or illegal on my part with regards to the sale of bonds by the Central Bank and/or the purchase of these bonds by a primary dealer.
I will now focus on the recommendations in the commission report.
Chapter 33 of the report focuses on the recommendations. Pages 921 - 922 holds 30 recommendations. I have been mentioned in recommendations number 24 and 25 on page 920 and 921.
Please look at recommendations number 24 on pages 920 - 921 in the report before you.
“As stated earlier in Chapter 24, we recommend that, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption should consider whether Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, while he was Minister of Finance, derived a substantial benefit from the Lease Payments made by Walt and Row Associates (Pvt) Ltd [which is an Associate Company of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and which is owned and controlled by the same persons who own and control Perpetual Treasuries Ltd] for the lease of apartment occupied by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP and his family and, if so, determine whether appropriate action should be taken against Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, under the Bribery Act;
We recommend that you decide on the steps to be taken
Here it says “Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption should consider Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, while he was Minister of Finance, derived a substantial benefit and if so, determine whether appropriate action should be taken”. It does not say to file a case against me.
Therefore this conspiracy is now clear to all of you. Where does it say that a case should be filed against me for bribery and fraud? These are planned political conspiracies. In fact they are reprehensible conspiracies. In fact it is an attempt to politically assisinate my character.
The next matter is even more dangerous
The next matter is in fact more serious and dangerous. I will now read out the recommendation number 25 on page 922. Please draw your attention to that page.
“As stated earlier in Chapter 24, we also recommend that, the Hon. Attorney General and other appropriate authorities consider whether some of the evidence given by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP before us is shown to have been incorrect and, if that is the case, whether Mr. Karunanayake should be prosecuted under Section 179 and/or Section 188 of the Penal Code or other relevant provision of the Law, read with Section 9 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act No. 17 of 1948”
Does not say to file for legal action
Here the commission has merely says “the Attorney General and other appropriate authorities consider whether some of the evidence given by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP before us is shown to have been incorrect and, if that is the case, whether Mr. Karunanayake should be prosecuted”.
It does not ask for a case to be filed. This is a conspiracy that goes even beyond.
In the statement written for he President it says legal action should be taken against me for giving false evidence to the commission. However the report does not say I have given flase evidence. It recommends that the Attorney General and other authorities should consider if the evidence given by me appears to be false and if so then it should be decided if legal action should be taken against me.
In the end the only relevant issue related to me is the Rs. 11 Million borrowed by my daughter in order to make a rental payment for her company which was later repaid.
I will now resolve this issue before the house as well.
I now bring page 827 of Chapter 24 in the report to your attention.
Page 827 says Mr. Karunanayake did not produce any evidence to show that any reimbursements had taken place by my family to Walt and Row Associates (Pvt) Ltd. That is repayment of the money cannot be proved.
Receipts showed were not looked at
However according to page 832 in my answer I have said “I got the receipt here that the reimbursement has taken place” as shown by the report.
While the presented the receipt on the day however no effort was taken to investigate further on it.
While I am unable to say who this was not checked however it is unfair to level allegations against me after failing to look in to the receipt even after it was presented to the commission.
I am not able to say what sort of Presidential Commission this is. But if this is how they operate I must say that I have been prejudiced against even after providing receipts for a a reimbursed payment done by my daughter.
Conspiracy to arrest me
A major mudslinging campaign is being carried out stating that I have false evidence before the commission while various news on websites say certain officers in the President’s office are adivincing that attempts should be made to arrest me.
If as claimed I provided false evidence then under Section 10 of the COMMISSION OF INQUIRIES ACT the commissioners could have acted against me immediately. If I infact lied then officers of the Attorney General’s department who questioned me had no reason to keep quiet regarding it. The commission could have punished and taken action against me.
I can recall that certain MP’s gave false evidence before the commission and later apologized for it. However how can it be understood as to why allegations against me are being allowed now after not taking any action in the past five months. Therefore I once again stress that this is nothing but a cheap political conspiracy. But for whose want is it being carried out is the question?
Where is Anika’s testimony?
I am sure you remember that the Attorney General’s department complained to the commission that a relation of mine made death threats to a lady who had levelled allegations against me. This is a complete falsehood. The individual is not a relation of mine. But the media gave prominence to this news. Believing these lies the public gave in to the misconceptions about me and my family. This made a serious negative impact on my political life.
But no mention of this major incident which was important to the Attorney General’s department as proved by the media circus following it has been included in the report. This is yet another side of this political conspiracy.
The statement made by the owner of the property which all the allegations against me was based on was given widespread media publicity. This greatly affected my good name and reputation.
Creating a major media hype this lady was given VIP protection of the government as a result. Similarly protection was also given to her brother. But no such protection has been given to me, a person who made great sacrifices for good governance and is now suffering as a result.
But what surprises me is that the statement taken from this lady after providing all this protection has not been included in the commission report.
I have a question to raise in this instance. Was all the media circus created and security provided to obtain a useless evidential testimony? Or was public money utilized to fund security for this person to obtain evidence to merely sling mud at me?
This is a complete contradiction. A distortion. A conspiracy. In fact it has misled the public and society. We must destroy this sleazy political culture.
In a country where good governance is in place how did such false and distorted information find its way to the President’s statement through the intervention of the first citizen’s office? We must look in to this?
Did it occur due to an error in translation? Or through negligence? No matter how it occured it is clear that this has caused great disgrace and dishonour to the President. Despite reluctance to admit it this is the bitter truth.
Purposeful distortion of facts
Accordingly my opinion is that those who studied the report on behalf of the President and those who prepared the special statement by the President has purposely and cleverly distorted these facts purposely.
I do not stress on this fact according to a whim or guesswork. I bring up this fact with good reason.
I would also like to mention that these mentioned facts are not related to the issued mandate for which the Presidential Commission was appointed. However I was called in by the commission for the related investigations and as beneficiaries of the Yahapalana and Consensus government We fully supported this endeavour.
I even resigned from the post so that investigations of the commission will not be affected and also in order to establish a new political culture in the country. However even after that media campaigns were launched by this conspiracy to sling mud against me and to mislead the public.
What are the falsehoods uttered by me?
However now I would like to know what these falsehoods that were allegedly uttered by me. It is my right to know this.
On the face of it there are serious contradictions between the commission report and the statement made by the President based on this. I have been made a politically targeted in some instances and it clearly appears to be schemic in character as well. Such commissions, through these actions, lose its credibility and dignity while also losing face before the general public.
How were past bond issues disregarded?
In fact first the bond issues between 2008 - 2015 should have been investigated. If so the current political situation would have become vastly different. But a political decision was made to first investigate the bond issue between 2015 - 2016.
We have done no wrong so we bravely faced the commission. But your focus should be brought to one particular fact. That is the fact that committees were also previously appointed to look in to this incident.
- Firstly the Prime Minister appointed the Pitipana commission
- Thereafter the COPE committee under D.E.W Gunasekara investigated the details regarding this.
- Again this was examined by the Supreme Court.
- Later it was also examined by the Bribery and Fraud Commission.
- Thereafter, an inquiry was also held by COPE COMMITTEE led by Sunil Handunneththi regarding the bond issue.
I was dragged in to this
Honourable speaker, ගරු කථානායකතුමනි,
The above mentioned committees and organizations in many ways investigated in to this incident. However none of them made no mention of me. This is because the subject matter of the investigation was not under the control of my Ministry. This is a clear fact.
But the Presidential Commission dragged my name in to the bond issue deal.
Not only did they do that they even dragged the members of my family in to this issue. The officers of the Attorney General’s department even asked private questions which are not usually not asked in such an inquiry. These actions of the officers of the Attorney General’s department in turn became a media circus against me.
However what are the final recommendations made by the commission relating to me? If I am correct is only says to take necessary action after evaluating the information given by me. But in the statement written for the President it says legal action by way of a case should be taken against me.
I would like to ask if me, my family and the United National Party were presented as sinners and stoned to this end?
Was I painted as a sinner, made to bear a cross and taken to the Calvary mountain by a media circus to finally be told this?
But Honorable Speaker,
But what is happening now? Not only I, who had no connection to this incident was tied to it through this special statement I have once against been connected to this issue despite the confirmation that there was no wrong doing on my part.
In short I can only say that I have been delivered King Kekille’s type of a verdict as a result.
However one thing is clear. It shows that those who planned this conspiracy were not able to enter their wants and purposes to this report. In fact the plans and hopes of those attempting to attack the consensus good governance government are now in crisis due
While this is the case however the mudslinging continues due to these cheap political tactics.
The target of the conspiracy is not Ravi!
Once again I say, this conspiracy is not one aimed at Ravi Karunanayake.
There is more to this, this is why they took a huge risk by distorting the President’s statement to publicize their agenda. If not how did they have the courage to risk the reputation of the President.
This shows someones dire need to politically assassinate my character. It continues to happen today.
Meanwhile the parties have also mislead the public by spreading fallacies regarding the issue. These are all done for political gain and sling mud at me as proved before the commission.
The good governance government was formed against the mass scale corruption and frauds in the recent past. However no formal action has been taken following investigations in to these. Therefore in this situation I thoroughly condemn the selected attacks on those connected to the UNP being.
What is this anger against the UNP? This is where the conspiracy is. This is their intention. And they continue to struggle to achieve this.
I ask of you today, What can be said about Ravi Karunanayake today? The commission recommendations are crystal clear.
However how many investigations as promised prior to January 8, 2015 are yet to commence and continue to be unclear.
- The loss due to Sri Lanka due to the Hejin deal Rs. Million 96000
- Srilankan Airlines loss amounting to Rs. Million 146000
- Mihin Lanka loss amounting to Rs. Million 12300
- Greek Bond loss Rs. Million 3900
- Cost to construct Mattala Airport Rs. Million 46000
- Cost to construct the Nelum Kuluna Rs. Million 7600
- Cost to construct the Defence Headquarters Rs. Million 64000
- Cost to construct the Hambantota Port Rs. Million 130000
- The MIG deal Rs. Million 85000
- Pyramid transaction loss Rs. Million 11800
Commission reports gathering dust
Also it must be noted that there are 34 interim reports of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Serious Fraud Fraud. If not for political reasons then why are no steps being taken in this regard?
In the past Presidential election and the General election we made a promise to the people. We assured that we will investigate and punished those involved in corruption during the past government. We promised that we will not be corrupt if we come to power. We said we would bring in new and more stringent laws to stop corruption and fraud.
Our government has largely commenced in to looking in to corruption and frauds of the previous government while also appointing presidential commission to look in to alleged frauds taken place during the rule of our current government. If our government in fact wanted to steal then we would not have handed over the COPE committee presidency to the opposition. We are currently working towards formulating laws to stop any future corruption and frauds.
The politicians of this country has the bad habit of going after the President or the party leader when they are accused of any wrongdoing in a bid to save themselves. This happened during the Rajapaksa era as well.
Today how many politicians continue to hide behind his excellency the President and without having cases being filed despite charges of corruption levelled against them. How many in the SLFP have been left without any legal action being taken against them? How many in the Joint How many cases have disappeared due to the so called lack of evidence?
Therefore I have one message to those who are not doing what they promised but are attempting to better themselves by latching on to us. Ravi Karunananayke does not hide and attempt to save him self. I do not work according to that theory. We do not challenge the country’s courts and social justice through such cheap political moves. We will not do for in the future also as only those who have committed a wrong should hide.
Just look at most those who appear to take the moral high ground but are in fact compulsive liars and the speeches made by them prior to January 8, 2015 while on Rajapaksa’s campaign stage. Look at the statements being made by these same individuals today. These seemingly genuine characters are full of words but do not act accordingly.
How Chinchimanawikawa came with a tied bundle of wood
It is however not unsurprising that these should happen to a ordinary mortal such as myself. This is happened to the Lord Buddha as well. In the past a woman of ill repute such as the Chinchimanawikawas was sent with a tied bundle of wood before the Lord Buddha. But however God Sakra let the bundle loose to prove the Buddha’s innocence.
The story of the Bond Commission is therefore one of beauty. They are saying to check if this bundle of wood let loose, right before one's eyes is in fact a baby. And says if the bundle of wood is a baby then to hand it over to the father. Given the opportunity there are today's Chinchimanawika’s who are trying to continue their game in attempting to topple this government.
Sinners who threw stones at Sirikotha
Is this a joke? Many individuals and parties tried to destroy the UNP at various junctures. Attempts to destroy the party with guns, bombs and conspiracies were not successful. It will not be successful today or even tomorrow. We will not allow for this. Our supporters know we will not allow the sinners who divided the party while hurling stones at Sirikotha to destroy this party. If attempts are being made by these pawns to destroy this strong party the UNP knows how to respond to this. It appears that certain pawns have forgotten how the party strongly responded to those who attempted the same during the Rajapaksa era.
As politicians we should be prepared to face any condemnations and allegations thrown at us. We should be strong enough for this. But however malicious statements bringing pain to children, wives and family members who are not connected to politics are not acceptable by the civil society.
These mudslinging campaigns greatly shocked and upset my daughters. Who will pay for all the pain and tears of these children? However I must thank my wife and children for giving me the strength to stand tall even while suffering due to these insults.
I must also extend my gratitude to the leader of our party for his endless support, and to our supporters and colleagues in the parliament. I would also like to thank my well wishers who loves and wishes to protect this good governance government while also thanking them for the hundreds of calls to encourage me.
I would also like to thank those on social media and websites who eventually understood the truth regarding this.
Thank you : Let us see on the 10th!
Therefore Honorable Speaker,
With great respect I urge to you bring your kind attention to the fact raised by me and to protect by privileges accordingly.
The UNP has also been greatly affected due to this conspiracy being carried out during the election season by targeting me and the United National Party in general.
On February 10 I am sure that our supporters and well wishers along with the activists who worked to bring about a political change on January 8, 2015 will give these conspirators the correct response. The victory of the United National Party is assured.
Finally I would like to end this statement by thanking his excellency the President who appointed the Presidential commission to look in to the bond issue after the forming of the good governance government and for through its final report for absolving and releasing the UNP, the Prime Minister and especially myself from all allegations levelled against us.