Corruptions, Corruptions, Corruptions -People’s Bank defaulted by Mangala’s sister in 2001
Posted on February 1st, 2015

By Frederica Jansz   28th October 2001, Volume 8, Issue 15

This is old news but shows what Mangala was doing in 2001

Following on the heels of The Sunday Leader expose on the dubious ‘deals’ of presidential confidante Ronnie Peiris and the Bank of Ceylon’s equally dubious role in writing off a sum of over Rs. 15 million Peiris owed the state bank, we have found that the blood relative of yet another presidential confidante, Mangala Samaraweera, had been granted a

temporary overdraft four years ago, of Rs. three million at the Peoples Bank, Nugegoda Town branch, which to date remains outstanding.

Jayanthi Chandani Gunewardena, sister of Mangala Samaraweera and wife of Nimal Gunewardena (Managing Director, Bates Strategic Alliance) on November 12, 1997 was granted a Temporary over Draft (ToD) of Rs. 2.5 million at a 21 percent interest rate per annum by the Peoples Bank, Town Branch, Nugegoda.

Exactly one month later, on December 12, 1997, the same bank granted an additional Rs. 500,000 to Standard Media (Private) Limited at a twenty eight percent interest rate per annum. The overdraft was allowed on account no. 154-000597-4.

Jayanthi Gunewardena nee Samaraweera, in 1997 was a ‘Director’ at Standard Media (Private) Limited. Upon negotiating the said ToD, Gunewardena was a signatory together with three others guaranteeing that the overdraft of Rs. 3 million would be settled within a period of 90 days. The other three guarantors are A. Weerasinghe, Jagath Deerasekera and Victor Joseph Imbaraj, all close associates of Mangala Samaraweera.

Later, this overdraft was re-negotiated when the company was unable to pay back any of the interest and capital due and an extension granted to a period of one year whereby Standard Media (Private) Limited was given time until September 1, 1998 to honour their debt.

It is now well nigh upon four years since the overdraft was first negotiated and the outstanding balance as of last week stands at Rs. 3, 618, 898.85 on account no. 154-000597-4.

The reason for taking the overdraft in 1997 was to publish a Sinhala newspaper named Irida, to back the People’s Alliance government. The Peoples Bank, Town Branch at Nugegoda were coerced into granting the temporary overdraft after it had been impressed upon the chairman of the Peoples Bank that Jayanthi Chandani Gunewardena is the sister of Mangala Samaraweera who in 1997 was the powerful minister of posts and telecommunications.

Such was the influence carried that the General Manager of the Peoples Bank, Town Branch, Nugegoda on November 17, 1997 accepted a hand written promissory note from Standard Media (Private) Limited which pledged to honour the original overdraft of Rs. 2.5 million granted five days earlier on November 12, 1997. There was no other collateral. And the Bank has not acted on the promissory note either.

This same ‘understanding’ stood even after an additional Rs. 500,000 was granted one month later bringing the total amount to Rs. 3 million. The only security given was this ‘influential understanding’ and ‘promise’ to honour the overdraft.

Upon being granted Rs. 2.5 million, Jayanthi Gunewardena had requested an additional Rs. 1.5 million. This amount was however refused and a further Rs. 500,000 given instead.

The reality of this story, like all other issues of corruption, is that the loan was never honoured. The newspaper Irida hardly sold which resulted in Standard Media (Private) Limited having to close shop. The capital of Rs. 3 million remains outstanding — proof of one more instance where the funds of a state bank have been misused by political miscreants.

The Peoples Bank was initially told that the Irida newspaper would sell a minimum of 20,000 copies per week. As such, Jayanthi, together with her other guarantors, told the bank that the temporary overdraft could be settled in full within a period of four months from the date it was granted.

Whether Standard Media (Private) Limited ever sold 20,000 copies of Irida is something we will perhaps never know. What we do know however is that the company and its four guarantors did not settle its dues to the Peoples Bank, Town Branch, Nugegoda.

A senior manager at the Peoples Bank confirmed to The Sunday Leader that Rs. 3, 618, 898.85 remains outstanding at present on account no. 154-000597-4 since the overdraft was granted in November and December 1997, respectively.

When The Sunday Leader attempted to contact Jayanthi Gunewardena at the address given to the Peoples Bank which is one and the same as that listed in the telephone directory as Standard Media (Private) Limited, 125/3, 3rd Lane, Subhadrarama Road, Nugegoda, the five telephone numbers were no longer in use. Jayanthi’s husband Nimal Gunewardena when contacted at Bates Strategic Alliance said any faxes to his wife could be sent to his office fax number at Bates. Asked if Jayanthi did not possess a contact telephone number at Standard Media (Private) Limited, Nimal Gunewardena hedged, repeating that any official contact with Jayanthi should be made via his official telephone and fax numbers.

It remains to be seen if in similar vein to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Wimal Weeravansha, The Sunday Leader will this time around too be accused of conniving with opposition politicians and fabricating the names which took responsibility for this loan and the documents.

Weeravansha and the JVP behaved in a manner typical when caught with your pants down. Since The Sunday Leader rose to the JVP’s challenge to prove our story — we in fact did so a second time around last Sunday, — Weeravansha has remained strangely silent.

Why cannot Weeravansha and his band of brigands chastise the likes of Jayanthi Gunewardena nee Samaraweera and Ronnie Peiris who have used political influence to force state banks into granting them sums of money which they in all probability have never had any intention of honouring.

Ironically, the principal allegation levelled both by the government and the JVP against the opposition for defeating the probationary government is that it was done at the behest of bank defaulters who wanted to protect their ill-gotten wealth.

It now seems, ironically, that from Ronnie Peiris to Jayanthi Gunewardena, the beneficiaries of defaulting on bank loans have been none other than those nearest and dearest to the president and her chief lieutenant Mangala Samaraweera. No wonder then that the JVP is silent on these issues.

These sums of monies handed out by state banks with such aplomb leaves members of the general public stupefied. We are all too aware of the vigorous ‘hassle’ one has to contend with when approaching a bank for even a Rs. 10,000 overdraft. Being given Rs. 3 million as an OD would be literally like plucking money from trees for many. Not so for politicos, their relatives and henchmen. This is the bane of Sri Lankan politics that we breed politicians who blatantly lie to their electors and rob state banks in order to ensure a sullied and yes, even nefarious political career.

Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and nephews are all part of the merry bandwagon. Holding political office in Sri Lanka certainly helps spring eternal hope in the hearts of these blackguards.

The Sunday Leader recently highlighted other instances where the Bank of Ceylon has apparently connived with rogue businessmen and politicians, granting stupendous amounts of money with little or no collateral. Loans, that now cannot be recovered and are relegated to being bad debts.

The Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Douglas Devananda has been granted a loan facility by the Bank of Ceylon, Thimbirigasaya branch for Rs. 5 million and Rs. 30 million by the Peoples Bank. Both these amounts remain outstanding and to date have not been recovered. Recently, this year, the Bank of Ceylon granted USD 15 million to Sri Lankan Airlines on a ‘clean basis’ which means no security was taken. The loan was granted on the specific instructions of the government.

Another case in point is the granting of two huge loans to a single individual who has bought himself a seat on the board of the Pan Asia Bank. A rupee loan of 68 million and a US dollar loan of 1.2 million, was given by the Bank of Ceylon to a local businessman, Sidney Jayasinghe.

The only security against the rupee loan for sixty eight million was 3,056,153 shares of Metal Recyclers (Colombo) Ltd. of which company Jayasinghe is chairman and the indemnity of directors of the company who are all family relations of Jayasinghe.

Another loan for Rs. 50 million was granted by the Bank of Ceylon to the Ven. Pelpola Vipassi Thero on June 26, 1997. The Ven. Pelpola Vipassi Thero apparently promised the bank that both the capital and interest on the loan would be settled out of funds received from donations from Japan.

Up to the end of August this year, Ven. Pelpola Vipassi Thero owes the Bank of Ceylon, Borella branch, Rs. 38 million against accumulated interest only. The capital of Rs. 50 million also remains outstanding.

In a separate case, a young girl by the name of Kumarasinghe Margaret Perera was given a loan of Rs. 6 million by the Bank of Ceylon, Kurunegala branch. She has given her permanent address to the bank as no. 36, Udumulla Road, Battaramulla. Two other young ladies were accepted as guarantors. Their names are Seetha Nanda Gunapala and Madara Gunapala. An address for the two guarantors was given at Pathiraja Estate, Elpitiya. According to officers at the Bank of Ceylon, all three women have since disappeared off the face of the earth. This is just one more loan than the Bank of Ceylon is forced to write off as a bad debt.

Doubtless, Mangala Samaraweera’s sister, Jayanthi, is also only too aware of how easy it is to declare bankruptcy and thereafter simply ‘forget’ one’s financial commitments. After all, these are state funds which if not recovered, are easily written off — while the banks hound members of the public who do not enjoy political patronage to honour their commitments which in most instances are meagre in comparison to financial dealings such as this one.

3 Responses to “Corruptions, Corruptions, Corruptions -People’s Bank defaulted by Mangala’s sister in 2001”

  1. sena Says:

    Did what Musharraf did in Pakistan. Will not happen as the theft seems to be from both parties. Even the last government said in parliament that it is illegal to divulge the names of these bank robbers

  2. sena Says:

    All so called loans amount to half the annual expenditure to run the whole country – it is not trivial. agitate demanding the prosecution of and recovery (with penalties) of all the money from all the thieves from all sides for the sake of the sacrifices of war heroes

  3. Nimal Says:

    Only hope for our island is to give JVP a chance where they seem to put the country first before themselves. I hear that they give their parliamentary salaries to the party, did much to help the unfortunate people during the Tsunami sacrificing their own salaries. We need more like them in a government, if we are to develop the country on the right way. Putting highways and byways in the country side, putting an Airport in an absurd place is not development but a waste of our tax money.
    We could rent the Airport that is built in the south for European space project where they could launch space rockets for scientific research.Musn’t let it go to waste. We also could rent that airport and the seaport to the Singaporeans where they could settle some of their citizens there, bringing us much needed income.

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