There is bad news for those awaiting the disclosure of a list containing 118 names of politicians and others who allegedly received funds from those linked to the Central Bank bond scandal.The reason – there is no list containing such names. However, that would not mean some more names would not transpire. They are to [...]


Bond 118 does not exist, but many politicians received money from Aloysius


There is bad news for those awaiting the disclosure of a list containing 118 names of politicians and others who allegedly received funds from those linked to the Central Bank bond scandal.The reason – there is no list containing such names. However, that would not mean some more names would not transpire. They are to surface before court soon.

At a news conference, former Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera had made the claim that the list of 118 names existed and had been redacted from the report of the Commission of Inquiry that probed the bond scam. He made the claim in the wake of disclosures that he had himself received one million rupees from Walt & Rowe, a company associated with Arjun Aloysius, who is now in remand custody over the Central Bank bond scam.

Mr. Jayasekera hurriedly summoned the news conference after his name was listed in a ‘B’ Report submitted to the Magistrate’s Court, giving the latest developments on investigations. Claiming that he received the moneys for the parliamentary election campaign in 2015, Mr. Jayasekera said there were 118 more names in a list. This had reportedly been redacted besides the names in view of references to ‘sensitive material.’

The Sunday Times learnt that Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando spoke with Bond Commission Chairman Justice K.T. Chitrasiri to inquire about the purported list. He was told that there was no such list in the Commission’s official report. This has prompted Mr. Fernando to issue a statement saying there was no list.

Mr. Fernando has now recalled all documentation sent from the Presidential Secretariat to the Department of National Archives. He has sought the advice of the Attorney General on whether the full report, together with the redactions, could be released. In the light of the confusion caused by the claimed existence of a list with 118 names, several politicians have begun making statements that they did not receive any funds.

The Sunday Times also learnt that names of those who received money are being recovered from bank records and other documents obtained by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detectives. The amounts have been varying from small sums to large ones, depending on the importance of the person, a CID source said. Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka admitted at a news conference on Monday that he had received Rs 100,000 from Mr. Aloysius. One more case of an ambitious state minister, a strong advocate to defend the bond scam, has now surfaced. It is expected to transpire in court anytime now. This politician in question is one who has now developed a close rapport with leaders of the ‘Joint Opposition’.

The personal staffs of a lady politician from Colombo, it is learnt, have also been questioned over encashing of cheques of unknown amounts. In the midst of this, Parliament Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena wrote to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya urging him to table all documents related to the Central Bank bond scam, including the Commission report.

Ravi back at the helm of FCID
Senior Deputy Inspector General Ravi Waidyalankara is back at his desk again as the head of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID).

The move follows a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers to re-employ him “on a contract basis.” This was after the Law and Order Minister recommended that that his case be considered for “special reasons.”
The decision also received the approval of the National Police Commission (NPC).

John wears the cap
Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga has responded to a report last week in these columns headlined “Lavish birthday bash free for politico.” The report referred to a birthday bash at a Colombo hotel.

Though the report did not name anyone, the minister has worn the cap saying he held a birthday party and “nothing was provided free of charge”. He adds that “I settled all the bills with regard to the event.”

Unions want SriLankan’s restructuring plan
The Alliance of Unions of SriLankan Airlines has asked the airline management to make available to it plans submitted by the British firm Nyras for restructuring the national carrier.

The move follows a meeting alliance representatives had with President Maithripala Sirisena. At the meeting “attended by senior management of SriLankan Airlines,” the alliance has said, “His Excellency explicitly conveyed” that the plans should be made available to all airline unions for perusal.

Brutal attack on Jaffna newspaper circulation manager
It was some three hours before dawn when the circulation manager of a Jaffna-based Tamil newspaper began to panic.
The delivery boy for the town area had not arrived. A further delay would mean readers would not receive their copies of Kaalai Kathir, he feared.Hence, Selvarajah Rajendran (55), a father of three children, decided he would load the newspapers in the pillion of his motorcycle and drop them personally at sales outlets.

He had travelled barely a kilometre in the road alongside Hindu College, when five armed men in motorcycles, with their faces covered, accosted him. They assaulted him mercilessly and fled the area. Mr. Rajendran lay wounded until he was found at the break of dawn by passers -by and rushed to hospital.

A co-incidence was the presence in Jaffna that day of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He had arrived there the previous evening from Kilinochchi. He telephoned Editor Nadesapillai Vithyatharan. “I know you have been a superman in the past encountering similar problems. Don’t worry. I will tell the Inspector General of Police, when I get back to Colombo, to conduct a thorough inquiry,” he said. Editor Vithyatharan told the Sunday Times, “My newspaper has been pursuing a Tamil nationalist line. We have therefore become targets.”

Whether he is right or wrong is only one issue. With the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas in May 2009, no one expected armed gangs to operate brazenly in the peninsula. A remark by an intelligence source in the area, no doubt, would raise eyebrows. There are such gangs for hire now. So much for law and order in the north!

Rajapaksa, Ranil in Iftar politics
Former President and ‘Joint Opposition’ de facto leader Mahinda Rajapaksa hosted an Iftar party at his official residence, drawing not only leading Muslim businessmen but also diplomats from West Asian countries, including a visiting Saudi Arabian delegation.

JO's de facto leader Mahinda Rajapaksa breaking bread with Muslims at the Iftar party at his Colombo residence. Pic courtesy Twitter post by Azzam Ameen

Mr. Rajapaksa, a one-time president of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine, had close ties with the Muslim community until he lost support following the Aluthgama riots a few years ago.Also present at the Iftar party were Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem and State Minister M.L.A.M. Hisbullah.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickemesinghe will hold his Iftar party at Temple Trees on June 5.
Unlike the previous year, the invitation cards issued to UNP Muslim MPs have been increased. One MP who received ten last year said he has been issued with 50 cards to be distributed among Muslims in their electorate.


Top postings for career diplomats
A number of Sri Lanka Foreign Service career officers are in for new diplomatic postings, according to preparations now under way. In the running to take over as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom is Manisha Gunasekera. She is currently the Sri Lanka Ambassador in South Korea. This post in Seoul is to be taken over by Ganehigama Arachchi, at present Director General (Consular) in the Foreign Ministry.

Sri Lanka’s new envoy to Russia is likely to be M.A.C.M. Wijeratne, currently Legal Officer in the Foreign Ministry. To be posted to Canada is Mohamed Jaffer, now envoy in the Netherlands. The likely candidate to be posted to South Africa is Asoka Girihagama now Director General in the Foreign Ministry.

In the corridors of the Foreign Ministry, the talk is over who will be posted to India to succeed High Commissioner Chitrangani Wagiswara. A top official is known to be strongly backing another lady career diplomat for the post though a decision is yet to be made.

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