Dutch Charity takes Sarvodaya to court over alleged fraud in tsunami housing funds
Posted on June 26th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

That A T Ariyaratne is being taken to court by a Dutch charity for misappropriation of funds is a serious matter and questions the integrity of this members role in the Constitutional Council. No person with a tarnished name or image can sit to decide on good governance. That the case is to be heard at the MOratuwa District Court to recover 100,000 euros given to Sarvodaya as tsunami relief is a matter the general public and in particular the government of Sri Lanka should not take lightly.

The misappropriation of funds is a global menace and one that is relevant to virtually all NGOs in Sri Lanka and overseas. They always use a catastrophe to cry some crocodile tears and generate funds and do a few cosmetic projects to relay across their websites and where the bulk of the money ends up is anyone’s guess.

Sarvodaya and A T Ariyaratne are being charged with appealing for funds across their website to build new houses for victims of the 2004 tsunami. As such 100,000 Euros were raised and transferred to the Sarvodaya Disaster Management Fund. Sarvodaya had informed that 100 new houses had been built on government land in Payagala. However the Dutch charity has learnt that this was not true. The Island article will run readers through the confusion that NGOs must be taking funding parties through with lies and lies and more lies.

The Dutch team that arrived and who had been searching the locations given by Sarvodaya for the houses they had built found to their dismay found out that the houses they came to had been built by someone else!

The long and short of the matter is that the Charity is now accusing Sarvodaya of defrauding funds and this is a serious offence in the light of other charges that have been made against Sarvodaya over the years not just misappropriation of funds. The case is to be heard on 28 June 2016.

In the past various MPs crossed over primarily to evade their misadventures being investigated…. and we seriously have to wonder whether the entry into the constitional council is another such example.

Be that as it may all those Clean people in government and promoting good governance will need to seriously explain to the public why A T Ariyaratne should remain in the Constitutional Council with a series of allegations brought against him which are now being taken to court as well even by foreign parties. The basis of anyone being in the constittutional council is that they must have an untarnished good image and name… there is a serious cloud of doubt now.

Readers are also advised to read. Dr. Susantha Goonetilake’s expose on Sarvodaya and NGOs which will help enlighten people about the crimes these crying hearts get upto….

Shenali D Waduge

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=147577 (below is full article)

A Charitable Foundation based in The Netherlands has filed a plaint in the Moratuwa District Court against Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya Inc, the largest local NGO headed by Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, to recover Euro 100,000 in donor funds channeled to build houses for the tsunami-affected, which had been allegedly defrauded.

The action has been filed by Lakshman Perera, the power of attorney on behalf of Lubberta Wilhelmina Julia Kattenbelt, president and Wilhelmus Hendrius Van Der Horst, secretary, respectively, who represent Stichting Tot Steun Aan De Reljntjes Dovenschool in Sri Lanka of The Netherlands.

The plaintiffs have complained that shortly after the December 26, 2004 tsunami, they appealed for funds from the international community through the Foundation’s website to build new houses for the victims of the disaster. As a result of this appeal, Euro 100,000 was raised.

These funds were transferred to the Sarvodaya Disaster Management Fund operated by the respondent, A. T. Ariyaratne on or around September 20, 2005 for the explicit purpose of building new houses for tsunami victims. The plaintiffs were thereafter informed that 100 new houses will be built by supplementing this donation with other donor funds on a land obtained from the government at Paiyagala.

On a query made on March 3, 2006, the respondent informed the plaintiffs that it was not possible to secure a government land, and on a suggestion by him that the houses be built on a land at Mullaitivu, mutual agreement was reached. The respondent was subsequently informed that an inspection team from The Netherlands will be arriving in Sri Lanka to assess the housing project at Mullaitivu.

On September 28, 2006, an email was received from the respondent that the proposed Mullaitivu project had run into a snag as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization wanted all the funds transferred to its account. Noting that a similar project in Kilinochchi has also been halted, permission was sought for a meeting to seek permission to divert these funds to another project.

On agreeing to this proposal in January 2007, the respondent assured that work on the project would begin when a suitable land was found. Subsequent inquiries also evoked the response that a land was still being sought for this purpose. In 2009, the plaintiffs were informed that preparations were being made to build the houses in two lands identified in Paiyagala and Wadduwa.

Later, the plaintiffs were informed that the project has been completed with 36 and 14 houses built in the two respective areas. However, there was reluctance to accommodate an inspection team to visit the project for a first-hand observation.

When an inspection was insisted upon, a meeting was arranged between the respondent and a representative of the secretary of the Dutch organization, where it had been stated that 50 houses were built at Paiyagala and Wadduwa with the Euro 100,000 donated by the organization and handed over to tsunami-affected families.

On June 21, 2014, the representative had visited Paiyagala and Wadduwa in search of the housing project based on the road directions given by the respondent, but had been unable to locate it. After he had reported back, on fresh directions given, he had visited Hapagala in Wadduwa and was shown a housing project, which, it transpired, had been built using funds donated to the respondent by another organization.

Based on these findings, on or around July 5, 2014, the plaintiffs were made to understand that the respondent had defrauded their funds which were transferred to the Sarvodaya Disaster Management Fund on December 20, 2005.

Instead of allocating these funds for the intended purpose, the respondent had used the money for unjust enrichment, the plaint claimed, while seeking the recovery of 100,000 Euros together with accumulated interest.

The case is scheduled to be taken up for trial on June 28, 2016.

Contacted for comment, Sarvodaya leader, Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne dismissed the allegations saying that 100 houses were built for tsunami victims at Point Pedro and Paiyagala with the funds donated by the Dutch organization.

“In fact, we had to inject a little more funds to complete this project”, he said.

He said the government authorities also inspected this project many years ago and found everything in order. The donor funds were utilized for the purpose they were meant for and there was no issue as the job was done.

Asked about the allegations made, Ariyaratne asserted that this was the work of an individual who quit after working for 25 years at Sarvodaya Vishva Lekha press. “He is behind these accusations as he has an ax to grind with us”.

He said that he trusted this individual and took everything for granted and allowed him to run the press, but one day he examined the Ernest & Young audit report and discovered a discrepancy. “When this matter was raised with him, he just walked out of the office and I have not seen him physically to this day”.

Apart from this discrepancy, machinery in the press had been sold. I could have also taken him to court at that time, but didn’t do so, he pointed out. “We have done our duty and our hands are clean”.

Anybody can visit these areas and see for themselves the houses built and handed over to tsunami victims, Ariyaratne noted. “This individual has animosity towards us, but in the spirit of Sarvodaya, we don’t take revenge”.

Additional reading

NGO scams to run a parallel state with foreign aid

by H. L. D. Mahindapala

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2007/02/18/fea08.asp

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items07/090107-8.html

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/05/28/questioning-the-integrity-of-nominees-to-the-constitutional-council/

4 Responses to “Dutch Charity takes Sarvodaya to court over alleged fraud in tsunami housing funds”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Soon after he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award from the Phillipines, his tune changed and he became a puppet in the hands of the Christian West and Catholic Church. He has been following their agenda since then including dismemberment of Sri Lanka and Eelam project. He is not to be trusted with sitting in the Constitutional Council.

    This also goes to the other traitors of Sri Lanka now sitting in the Constitutional Council.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    I am sad to read that these allegations are being against Sarvodaya, the premier self-help charitable organization of Sri Lanka.

    I sent a contribution for the recent flood relief to Sarvodaya, but I did not receive any feedback from Sarvodaya as to how the funds were used.

    In contrast, I received both a general communication including a detailed video, and a personal letter from Dilip Herath, the CEO of Kapruka.com. I made a contribution to flood relief activities in Sri Lanka through Kapruka.com and I was very pleased to hear how they had used those funds.

  3. Senevirath Says:

    නවසිය පනස් ගනන් වල හිටපු ආරියරත්න ගුරුවරයා පස්සේ වෙනස් වුනා ගොඩක් මුදල් ලැබෙන විට . කනතොළුව වැඩ කාලේ හොඳය . ඒ සේරම ”’ඉදිරියක් ”’ බලා පොරොත්තුවෙන් කරපු දේවල් . මෙයාගේ ”’නෑ යෙක් ”’ –මතකයේ හැටියට බෑනා —ට කොටි හොඳට උදවු කළා මාමන්දිගේ සම්බන්ධකම් උඩ . එයාට විතරය් උතුරේ ව්‍යාපාරික කටයුතු කරන්න ප්‍රභා ඉඩ දුන්නේ .ලංකාවේ ගාන්ධි වාගෙය් ආරියරත්න පෙන්නුවේ . මිනිස්සු හරියට රැවටුනා එයා දේශපාලන බලය ට හරි කාදරය් . ජනාධිපතිකම හිතුවාප්‍රේ මදාස මරුන ගමන් ප්‍රේමදාස ලගින්ම ඇසුරු කල එක හමුදා නිලධාරියෙක් හිටියා ආරිඅරත්නට සිසු අවධියේ ඉඳලම සලකපු ගවුරව කරපු . ඒ නිලධාරියා හිතිවේ ආරියරත්න දෙවියෙක් කියලය් .දැක්ක තැන දෙපාවඳිනවා . ප්‍රේමදාස මරුන ගමන් AT පිස්සෙක් වාගේ හැම තනමහෙව්වා ඒ හමුදා නිලධාරියාව එක වරක් ගල්කිස්සේ එක ගෙදරකට පිම්මේ ආවා නිලධාරියා ඉන්න තැන හොයාගන්න පුතා මගින් නිලධාරියාගේ පුතා ඒදවස්වල හිටියේ ඒ ගෙදර . AT තමන්ගේ අදහස කිව්වම අර නිලධාරියා කලකිරුණා ආරියරත්න කිව්වේ එයා හරි ජනප්රියය් ඒ හින්ද ජනපතිකම ලැබෙනවමය් නිලාධාරියා උදවු කලොත් කියලය් .. මේ විස්තරේ මම පිටින් අහපු එකක් නොවෙය මමත් එවෙලාවේ හිටියේ ගල්කිස්සේ ගෙදර . ආරියරත්න කොටින් ට උදවු කල පිටරට මුදලට කාදර ජනප්රියවෙන්න ඕනෑම පාවාදීමක් කරන කෙනෙක් වුනා …මුදල් මුදල් ……..

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Senevirath,

    Had I known these details about Sarvodaya, I would not have sent a flood relief contribution to it. Too bad; we must learn from our mistakes.

    Thanks to Shenali and other commenterd for alerting the unaware.

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