Opinion Expose: The dual role of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake
Posted on December 1st, 2012

Courtesy The Sunday Observer

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2012/12/02/fea03.asp

The Chief Justice (CJ) of a country is the highest judicial officer in the land. From such a person, it is fair for the public to expect a standard of conduct that is above reproach. As a result, the CJ would be expected to display the highest degree of honesty and integrity. Even if the CJ may be prone to a bona- fide mistake on a rare occasion (like all human beings), deliberate and conscious misconduct or misdemeanour cannot ever be a part of a CJ’s conduct.

Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake

The CJ should also leave no room for any questions to be raised about his/her conduct. In addition, the CJ’s financial dealings must be above suspicion and must not in any way indicate any pattern of behaviour that suggests impropriety, financial misconduct, bribery, corruption, money laundering or embezzlement. It is also imperative that the CJ must not leave room for any doubt whatsoever to be entertained about his/her behaviour pertaining to his/her financial transactions.

However, in the case of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, it is abundantly clear that she falls far short, in this aspect of financial propriety. As is well-known, major suspicions are aroused of money laundering in the following circumstances:

(a) the operation of several bank accounts by a person, which suggests that multi-accounts are used to defuse the magnitude and frequency of transactions in order to confuse regulators.

(b) the opening and closing of bank accounts within short periods of time, which suggests that the accounts are used for a particular transaction and then closed before suspicion is aroused in the minds of the authorities.

(c) the manipulation of accounts to have low balances or zero balances on certain significant dates, e.g. 31st December or 31st March, (which are the dates that are generally used by regulators or surveillance agencies to monitor accounts on a regular basis), in order to reduce suspicion or evade detection by regulators.

A careful assessment of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake’s Account No. 101110002058 (Old No. 100002001360) maintained at the National Development Bank (NDB) reveals the following:

(1) During the year 2007/2008, Dr. Bandaranayake maintains the above account in an active manner, with four debits to the value of Rs. 5,524,875.25 and eight credits to the value of Rs. 5,524,875.25 being transacted through the account. By 8th February 2008, a sum of Rs. 674,323.52 was lying to the credit of the account. On that date, the entire amount is withdrawn, thus reducing the balance to zero.

Thereafter, no transactions took place and accordingly, on 31st March 2008, the balance in the account continued to remain at zero. On that basis, Dr. Bandaranayake did not disclose the bank account in her Assets and Liabilities Declaration, even though the rules pertaining to the Declarations demand that a person discloses all accounts even if such accounts do not contain any balances.

(2) The account lies dormant until 6th May 2008, on which date a sum of Rs. 519,534.55 is credited to the account, and thereafter the account becomes active, with 22 debits amounting to Rs. 31,860,754.47 and 41 credits amounting to Rs. 31,860,754.47 being reduced upto 3rd February 2009. Then, on 3rd February 2009, the entire sum of Rs. 616,895.75 which was in the account on that date, is withdrawn and the balance is reduced to zero. Thereafter, the account remains inactive, and on 31st March 2009, the account records a zero balance. Accordingly, Dr. Bandaranayake, for the second time, does not disclose such account in her Assets and Liabilities Declaration as at 31st March 2009.

(3) The zero balance remains until 3rd July 2009, at which point, a sum of Rs. 500,000.00 is credited to the account.

Thereafter until 13th January 2010, the account is operated in a highly active manner with 10 debits amounting to Rs. 15,508,794.63 and 18 credits amounting to Rs. 15,508,794.63 being recorded in the account.

However, on 13th January 2010, the entire sum of Rs. 700,078.18 lying to the credit of the account is withdrawn, thus making the account balance zero, once again. Such zero balance status in the account remains as at 31st March 2010, and once again, for the third time in succession, Dr. Bandaranayake does not disclose the account in her Assets and Liabilities Declaration.

(4) The account lies inactive until 7th April 2010, and on that date the account is credited once again with a sum of Rs.910,473.22 and the account regains its usual robust character with 27 debits amounting to Rs.57,488,454.95 and 37 credits amounting to Rs.57,488,454.95 being recorded up to 18th February 2011. On 18th February 2011, the now familiar total withdrawal occurs, and on that date the entire balance lying in the account of Rs.2,057,098.86 is withdrawn, leaving the account with a zero balance once again. Such zero balance is maintained as at 31st March 2011, and yet again, for the fourth time in succession, Dr. Bandaranayake does not disclose the account in her Assets and Liabilities Declaration.

(5) The account remains inactive until 5th May 2011 in keeping with the regular pattern that has by now been established, and on that date a sum of Rs.974,280.39 is credited to the account and the account becomes highly active once again.

This advanced level of activity continues until 30th March 2012, by which time, 88 debits amounting to a staggering Rs.256,416,639.42, and 171 credits to a similar value of Rs.256,414,342.34 passes through the account. But, as is now very familiar, on 30th March 2012 the entirety of the Rs.10,047,779.95 that is lying to the credit in that account is once again withdrawn in the established pattern, and the account is reduced to zero once again. Such zero balance is recorded as at 31st March 2012, and again, for the fifth consecutive time, Dr. Bandaranayake does not disclose the account in her Assets and Liabilities Declaration.

(6) True to the pattern, a sum of Rs.10,047,779.95 is brought back to the account on 5th April 2012, and the account resumes its active character yet again.

It is obvious that, the methodology adopted in the operation of the above account is a well thought out and sophisticated operation. It is not an operation of an account that would be expected from any ordinary person, let alone the country’s chief judge of the Supreme Court. The magnitude of the figures and the careful avoidance of significant dates is consistent with an intention to conceal the operation of the account, and avoid detection.

The initial study of the operations of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake’s account suggests a pattern of behaviour which would easily arouse suspicion among any regulator, as the behaviour displays many devious methods to avoid detection of the nature of the transactions.

The operation also suggests that Dr. Bandaranayake has deliberately and consistently acted in at least five consecutive instances to avoid disclosure of the sums that were in her account and that the scheme has been meticulously implemented in a highly sophisticated manner. A further suspicion that may arise is as to whether Dr. Bandaranayake was using her privileged position, first as a Supreme Court Judge and thereafter as the Chief Justice, to indulge in this activity, knowing fully well that her actions are very unlikely to be investigated by any other regulatory agency. Being the Chief Justice of the country, does not give such person immunity from the laws of the land. The law must apply in a just and fair manner to all persons, however high and mighty they may be.

Accordingly, it is now time for the law enforcement authorities to commence a probe regarding the true nature of this Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake’s highly suspicious financial dealings. If that is to be done in an impartial manner, she cannot remain as the Chief Justice of the country.

Justice must apply to the Chief Justice as well.

7 Responses to “Opinion Expose: The dual role of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Can’t wait till December 4th.

    After removing SB, PLEASE appoint a CLEAN ANTI-13 amendment CJ. Otherwise this saga will not end.

  2. mario_perera Says:

    With all due respect to every other opinion on the subject, the QUESTION still remains, and remain enigmatic. That question is:

    AT WHAT POINT OF TIME AND FOR WHAT REASON DID THE TIDE TURN AGAINST DR.S.B????

    It all broils down to a WHY and a WHAT at its primary source and not at a half way mark.

    It is a well know dictum in philosophy that the first cause is the cause of all causes. Now what was the first cause in this impeachment matter? In more prosaic terms, what was it that set the ball rolling? If the source is vitiated then the outflow too is vitiated.

    When and why did the golden eyed girl turn into this most hunted witch? Her history of elevation from the law faculty to SC bench shows well planned conspiracy of all supreme power blocks of the time. First CBK (MR was a leading member of her cabinet) and then MR himself who elevated her to the post of Chief Justice. The Minister involved in the process G.L.Peiris was the principal mover in the matter under CBK and is still a leading minister under MR. Everything is so eerily interwoven and interrelated. Dr.SB is like a mosaic stitched by two needles CBK and MR. Now MR is trying to undo his own stitches, which is like cutting his nose to spite his face. i am reminded of how the mother crab demands her progeny to walk straight.

    Would our learned commentators venture to answer?

    Mario Perera
    Kadawata

  3. Dilrook Says:

    State owned Sunday Observer and Daily News are on a mission to discredit the Chief Justice even before a verdict is given. A more professional approach from the government and its media would have convinced more people the whole impeachment episode has some merit.

    Interestingly state media didn’t fall to such a low ebb when two previous impeachments of Chief Justices happened.

    Sri Lanka’s judiciary has multiple problems. Some caused by the ruling part and an equal number caused by the UNP. They need to be fixed objectively. But instead, both UPFA and UNP strengthen their own stakes in it.

    To make matters worse, now the Supreme Court has decided to take up the petition against the Parliamentary Select Committee.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Impeachment of CJ is part of a bigger plan. It is useful to IDENTIFY who is with the govt. and who is not when it comes to scrapping 13 amendment. It is about testing the water.

    “Sri Lanka’s judiciary has multiple problems.”

    What better place to start fixing them than from the CJ!!!

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    “[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 December 2012, 12:07 GMT]
    In a revealing turn of affairs following the Heroes Day incidents at the university of Jaffna, four Jaffna University student representatives were detained by occupying Sri Lanka’s police, based on a complaint made against seven students by a newly created paramilitary, called Sri TELO that is operating along with the SL military.”

    Excellent!

    TELO is with TNA. Now there is Sri TELO.

    DIVIDE AND RULE!!

  6. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Mario_perera and Dilrook

    This problem triggered when the government under heavy pressure from the opposition decided to allow legal action against the husband of the CJ at the Magistrate’s Court of Colombo in connection with the offences regarding acts of bribery and/or corruption.

    There were premeditated actions in preparation for this conflict and one of such incident may have been related to the attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate that the assailants had come in a vehicle with a fake number plate. We still do not know who is responsible for this attack. But we all know that it was a master plan carried out with military precision to discredit the government.

    Here is what happened after that according to Gomin Dayasiri; http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2012/11/25/interview-gomin-dayasri-on-impeachment/

    ….. the President/Minister of Finance summoned JSC for discussion before the budget ostensibly to discuss welfare measures for the judiciary. A former Chief Justice has alluded that such discussions are common and has attended many……

    By refusing to meet the Head of State to discuss common matters, Commissioners took the confrontational route. A juvenile decision. Instead JSC issued two press statements, discrediting Sri Lanka that reached the foreign enemy camp, in the midst of accusations, to damage the country image. It was irresponsible conduct by a statutory body that triggered a chain of events. Unforgiveable.

    Refusal to meet the Head of State by the Commissioners’ is not acceptable when invited to discuss official matter – it promotes a clash between the Executive and the JSC. The three Commissioners’ should have attended: listened to the President on what he had to say, then at an eyeball to eyeball contact level tell to his face, that members of his entourage are not to interfere in judicial matters.

    It is very proper for the judiciary to keep a distance from the executive, as the Commissioners desired; maintaining proper distance is best shown by not accepting benefits from the executive during the happy hours. Benefits are not given out of affection: Executive anticipates reciprocity and that places beneficiaries under unnecessary obligation. If qualifications are possessed it can justify an appointment but no material has surfaced to satisfy that count. Don’t jump a ‘hop on –hope off’- bus with glass carriages at which many a stone is thrown……. Granting favor is as bad as accepting favour…….”.

    Government is totally responsible knowing a pack of international hounds keep barking at every turn. When the government undertook this mission did they not give mind to this aspect? If the thinking is they can ride over it, it is a mistaken notion. Is there damage control? Except for the stupid JSC missiles the responsibility on the international front is entirely in government’s court, and the consequences will be far reaching…….”.

    The CJ being the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission which is vested with powers to transfer, disciplinary control and removal of the Magistrate of the court which is due to hear the bribery or corruption case against her husband and as the impeachment motion says this is a clear case of conflict of interest. Besides, the CJ as the head of the Judicial Services Commission is empowered to examine the judicial records, registers and other documents maintained by the court hearing the case against her husband.

    Now the problem has gone to the international level, the Government has every rights to educate the international community of all aspects of facts and figures related to this impeachment motion.It is a propaganda war between the government and some elements with vested interests, who could not achieve what they wanted through 30 years of conflict,and are trying to achieve their sinister moves through Hulftsdorp

  7. mario_perera Says:

    Mr. N.M.Yodaya

    Thank you for your answer. You appear to have exhausted all your ammunition but unfortunately missed the target I set, by miles.

    “The CJ being the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission which is vested with powers to transfer, disciplinary control and removal of the Magistrate of the court which is due to hear the bribery or corruption case against her husband and as the impeachment motion says this is a clear case of conflict of interest. Besides, the CJ as the head of the Judicial Services Commission is empowered to examine the judicial records, registers and other documents maintained by the court hearing the case against her husband.”

    Such prejudices are called suspicions, presumptions, assumptions and similar. They are only such and nothing more. If above be he case as you sate, in future too, if any spouse of a Chief Justice be hauled up before a minor tribunal, that would inevitably lead to an impeachment of the Chief Justice concerned. People are not tried and condemned on suspicions, presumptions and assumptions which have absolutely no incidence on ‘mens rea’.

    “There were premeditated actions in preparation for this conflict and one of such incident may have been related to the attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate that the assailants had come in a vehicle with a fake number plate. We still do not know who is responsible for this attack. But we all know that it was a master plan carried out with military precision to discredit the government.”

    Here your argument is fallacious. Without knowing who is responsible for this attack, how would you know that it was a master plan to discredit the government? Here you have pole-vaulted into an unreasonable and unjustifiable conclusion. It only reveals where your personal sympathies lie. No rationality, no logic but plain emotion.

    “Refusal to meet the Head of State by the Commissioners’ is not acceptable when invited to discuss official matter – it promotes a clash between the Executive and the JSC. The three Commissioners’ should have attended: listened to the President on what he had to say, then at an eyeball to eyeball contact level tell to his face, that members of his entourage are not to interfere in judicial matters.”

    The refusal to attend this invitation had a dark background which you do not go into. Yet when everything is said and done, is refusal to accept this invitation a ground for provoking as serious a constitutional crisis as an impeachment of a Chief Justice? And why should the Chief Justice alone pay the price? Why this exclusivity in pinpointing the Chief Justice as the scape goat for what is purely a ‘laesa majestas’ of the ruler?

    “It is a propaganda war between the government and some elements with vested interests, who could not achieve what they wanted through 30 years of conflict,and are trying to achieve their sinister moves through Hulftsdorp.”

    Here you have bared your soul. After passing from the frivolous to the ludicrous, you have finally touched on the sinister motivations. The government is determined to crush every opposition to its dictatorship. That is it Mr.N.M.Yodaya, that is simply it.

    Mario Perera
    Kadawata

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