An order by a local Magistrate asking Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant on the Editor of a London-based website reporting on Sri Lanka figured for a second week in succession at Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting. Raising issue was Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando. He said it took the Financial Crimes Investigation [...]


Controversy over move to arrest website editor


An order by a local Magistrate asking Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant on the Editor of a London-based website reporting on Sri Lanka figured for a second week in succession at Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting.

Raising issue was Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando. He said it took the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) almost one and a half years to obtain a warrant on Udayanga Weeratunga, former Sri Lanka Ambassador to Russia. Detectives want to question him on the MiG-27 procurement deal.
In the case of the warrant on the editor of the website, Mr. Fernando said, it had taken only three days. The Minister called it a “shameful exercise” and should be “condemned.” He noted that the website in question had backed President Sirisena at the Presidential elections.

Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, however, said that he did not agree with the views expressed by his colleague. On one occasion, he recalled, the website in question had posted an article praising his role as the Minister. Thereafter, he charged, that the editor in question had telephoned him and sought money. He did not pay and had been criticised thereafter. Endorsing his views were Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Wijith Wijayamuni de Zoysa.

A lawyer for the website has written to the Judicial Services Commission alleging that the warrant was issued because his client had reported on criticism levelled at the Attorney General’s Department by a Magistrate.
The international warrant seeks to arrest the editor in question. A Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat of Interpol headquartered in Lyons, France, at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant. It is not an international arrest warrant. However, Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a notice.

CBK late for Castro tribute
The final rites of Cuba’s late leader Fidel Castro take place today (December 4) at Santiago de Cuba where he began his revolution together with Che Guevara and other revolutionaries.
In Colombo, on Friday morning, President Maithripala Sirisena, a one-time Communist sympathizer held a meeting at President’s House to mark the death of the 90-year-old Cuban leader. This was the day after Sri Lanka’s Parliament moved a vote of condolence on the iconic Cuban leader.
Invited to address the event, which was followed by lunch, were Sri Lanka’s Communist Party leader D.E.W. Gunasekera and Cuba’s new Ambassador Juana Elena Ramos Rodriguez. President Sirisena also spoke on the impact the late Castro had left in the minds of many people around the world.

The late Mr. Castro earned a lot of plaudits at the event. Raising eyebrows, however, was the arrival of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. When she walked in, alas, the meeting was over and with the time being 12.30 pm, the guests were sitting for lunch to be served.

As someone who frequented the Latin quarter of Paris where left-wing students known as ‘pink-socialists’ from Sorbonne and the Paris Uni used to hang-out, Ms. Kumaratunga must have heard of Fidel Castro and his exploits even then. A wag who saw her coming in when the meeting was over at President’s House cracked; “the late Sri Lankan President has come to commemorate the late Cuban President”.


IGP hits the wrong note
A video clip of Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera singing away on stage at a function in Ratnapura has gone viral on the internet. So much so, a senior minister was enraged. He telephoned Mr Jayasundera and told him not to resort to such “ludicrous” acts. Sri Lanka’s top most Police officer was in full uniform and the audience were officers of different ranks. Mr. Jayasundera stood on the podium in front of the Police band and even gyrated when the melodious notes hit a high pitch.

Basil’s quip on new party
Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, convenor of the Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) and its de-facto leader, was asked by a supporter who turned up at their office in Battaramulla why he had still not obtained Court permission to visit his family in the United States. “The (the Government) wants me to complete organising the new party,” he quipped, and added that “we are now registering trade unions.”

Mobile phone puts Police Chief in trouble
Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera is becoming no stranger to controversy. And it is his darn mobile phone that is giving him the trouble. This week he told a caller on his mobile phone that he had asked the Director of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) not to arrest a ‘Nilame’, a lay custodian of a temple in the South, for an alleged fraud.

A private tv channel recorded his conversation with the caller and now the President has called for an inquiry. Wonder if the Police has been called to investigate, which reminds one of a pithy local saying; ‘hora-ge ammagen pena ahanawa (asking the thief’s mother to show the way to him).’Then, on Friday afternoon, IGP Jayasundera had turned up at the Mahaweli Centre in Colombo for a book launch by writer Edwin Ariyadasa. There, once again his mobile phone rang. He switched it on and began talking. Those present could hear his conversation because he was speaking so loud.

Suddenly a lady who was among the guests turned to him and said “please go out and speak.” The Police Chief obeyed the ‘marching order’ and left the room to continue with his chatter.

Muzammil gets green light to Malaysia
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry has accepted the agremont of, former Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, as Sri Lanka’s next High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur. He will assume duties on January 1 next year.
He will serve as a member of President Maithripala Sirisena’s entourage when the President pays a two-day official visit to Malaysia beginning December 14.
High Commissioner I. Ansar who is now serving in Kuala Lumpur will end his term on December 31.


Huge penalties on flying machines: Silence on local agents
The board meeting of a controversial state enterprise whose losses are soaring to the skies was under way.
One of the participants made a plea that the organisation should write to the principals and the intermediary who supplied the flying machines to them. The reason — the present disposition is paying a huge sum as penalties in lieu of taking delivery of the machines. Hence, he wanted the loss-making organisation to determine how much has been skimmed off as commissions.
For that, they needed to know who the local agents who closed the deal were.
However, the one who chaired the meeting was not in favour. He said that those two parties maintained good relations and such queries would only hurt them.
Though the one who raised issue did not say it at the meeting, he told a colleague later the reason given was not about good relations. It was the chair that has maintained good relations with the parties who are said to be local agents.


VVIP politico hits out at new Bank Chief
The occasion was a review of the economy, a regular weekly event attended by those who are at the helm of the country’s economic affairs.
The new chief of ‘The Bank’ came in for some criticism over a central issue – funds not being channelled to the State exchequer on time. He defended the delay saying laid down procedures had to be followed and that would naturally take time.
The move was to anger the VVIP politico presiding at the meeting. He charged that the well respected and highly acclaimed head of ‘The Bank’ was “talking nonsense”. It did not end there. The politico said the bank boss was only good at making statements to the media on matters related to bond issues and primary dealers. There lies the tale for the stinging remarks.


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