Britisher as Leader of political party: Wimal demands explanation from Polls Chief
Posted on October 12th, 2017

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday sought an explanation from the National Election Commission (NEC) regarding the registration of the New Democratic Front (NDF) as a political party in spite of its leader Shalila Moonasinge being a British national.

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP posed the question to the NEC at a media briefing called by the JO at Dr N.M. Perera Centre.

Weerawansa said the NEC certainly owed an explanation to the public in the wake of Moonasinghe being arrested over his alleged involvement in stealing money from Taiwan’s Far Eastern International Bank.

JO parliamentary group leader and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Prof. G.L. Peiris and Prof. Tissa Vitharana backed Weerawansa’s call for full disclosure of the circumstances under which the NDF had received political recognition in 2009.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has informed the Fort Magistrate Court that Moonasinghe was a British national, while the other person remanded in connection with the Taiwan bank robbery held dual UK and Sri Lankan citizenship.

MP Weerawansa pointed out that presidential election candidates, the then Gen Sarath Fonseka and Maithripala Sirisena had contested elections in Jan 2010 and Jan 2015, respectively, on the NDF ticket under the swan symbol.

The NDF is a breakaway faction of the Democratic United National Front (DUNF) formed by a faction of the UNP opposed to the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s authoritarian rule.

Weerawansa called for exhaustive review of the procedures currently in place for registering political parties in the wake of the revelation of the shocking lapse on the part of the previous Election Department.

The NEC was established in Nov 2015 in accordance with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The NEC comprises Mahinda Deshapriya (Chairman), N.J. Abeysekera, PC and Prof. S. Ratnajeevan Hoole.

The NFF Leader said a JVP led group that included Gen. Fonseka contested parliamentary polls in 2010 on the NDF ticket. Among those who had been elected on the NDF ticket on that occasion were Gen. Fonseka, Arjuna Ranatunga and Tiran Alles.

The government appointed Singaporean Arjuna Mahendran as Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in January knowing well a foreigner couldn’t be appointed. Now, the same government had appointed a British passport holder as Chairman of the government owned Litro Gas, Sri Lanka’s largest LPG supplier, the MP said.

Weerawansa questioned the legitimacy of those who had secured office after having contested on the NDF ticket.

The former JVP propaganda Secretary said that they expected NEC Chairman to address their concerns, bravely as he did during the previous administration.

Director (Legal), NEC, Nimal G. Punchihewa yesterday told The Island that as the NDF had been registered as a political party in accordance with the Parliament Elections Act (No 1 of 1981) there was a requirement to review the relevant procedures.

Punchihewa acknowledged there had been an obvious lapse on their part due to shortcomings in the registration process.

Election Commission of Sri Lanka in its website identified NDF as the 34th registered political party out of 64 political parties. The website named attorney at law Ms Sharmila Perera as its Secretary.

Ms Perera wasn’t available for comment.

5 Responses to “Britisher as Leader of political party: Wimal demands explanation from Polls Chief”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    SLPP is headed by a US citizen. There is doubt if Chandrika was a British citizen when she was elected to president.

    A protestor arrested in Hambantota has appealed to UNHRC and US’s Nikki Haley. It is fair (though not moral) he internationalises local issues as UNP did when in opposition. But what is not fair he claiming western conspiracies while appealing to them.

    Obviously, neo-colonialism works in many ways and neo colonialists have many influential Lankan politicians in their bag.

  2. vyasan Says:

    How come a British citizen become a political party leader in Sri Lanka? A foreign citizen, cannot even engage in local political activities in Sri Lanka, but form a party is highly ridiculous! This kind of practices should be prohibited totally or otherwise the proxies of foreign countries would be dominate the politics of Sri Lanka as these reps. of foreign elements have more money power, and money power seems to decide many factors nowadays!

  3. Senerath Says:

    Looks like when foriegn banks get robbed and money comes into our banks, our GDP rises. May be this is organised by Ranil/RK to develop our country. Thank you Ravi. You are the best FM in the world ! .

    Sri Lankan shares hit over 10-wk closing high on banks

    October, 13, 2017

    Reuters – Sri Lankan shares rose about 1 percent on Thursday in heavy trade and posted their highest close in more than 10 weeks, with banks leading the gains, brokers said.

    Turnover was 1.43 billion rupees ($9.30 million), well above this year’s daily average of 938.4 million rupees.

    The Colombo stock index rose for a third straight session and ended 0.94 percent firmer at 6,621.56, its highest close since July 31.

    “Interest on banks was high. Mid-cap and plantation shares were also on demand,” said Softlogic Stockbrokers deputy CEO Hussain Gani.

    Shares of Ceylon Cold Stores Plc ended 5.9 percent firmer, Hatton National Bank Plc rose 2.7 percent, DFCC Bank Plc ended up 6.1 percent and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc climbed 5.7 percent.

    Foreign investors were net sellers of shares worth 274 million rupees on Thursday, after having bought 3.7 billion rupees of equities in the 16 sessions through Tuesday. They have net bought 20.2 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    MUST SEE: Wimal Weerawansa explains the dangers of the New Constitution to the Integrity and Sovereignty of Sri Lanka!

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/joblldNMMWs

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    MORE CROOKS, who aassisted Aiyoooo Sirisena get elected as PRESIDENT found to be defrauding INTERNATIONAL BANKS!

    Will these THEFTS for POLITICAL PURPOSES EVER END? I FEAR NOT!

    …………………….

    CID explains how two Lankan-born businessmen allegedly defrauded US$ 1.1 m

    SundayTimes.lk
    Oct 15, 2017

    A team from Taiwan’s Criminal Investigations Bureau arrived in Colombo this week as part of a probe into an international multi-million US dollar hacking scam of a Taipei-based bank where two businessmen with foreign passports have been taken into custody in Colombo.

    Litro Gas Chairman Shahlila Moonesinghe, a British passport holder of Sri Lankan descent, and J.C. Nammuni, a businessman who owns a metal quarry with dual UK citizenship were arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on allegations of colluding with an international ring of hackers to plant malware in the Far Eastern International Bank computers in Taiwan to make bogus cash.

    The first intimation of their alleged involvement came early this week when the Sri Lanka National Central Bureau of the Interpol, which functions at the CID headquarters in Colombo received an urgent alert by Interpol that hackers had infiltrated the SWIFT system at the Far Eastern International Bank in Taipei (Taiwan) to create a false bank-to-bank transaction. This was by sending malware encoded mail that is automatically downloaded into the computer system enabling hackers to order false transfers. SWIFT is a members-only organisation of financial institutions including banks that provide safe and secure financial transactions through standardised communications.

    The report from Interpol said the hackers had moved funds to accounts in the United States, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Senior DIG and CID chief Ravi Seneviratne, who was responding to the alert, hurriedly detailed a team to track down the recipients. In the US, the money had been wired to accounts at Citibank while in Sri Lanka it has been to accounts at the Bank of Ceylon. The CID team examined surveillance camera footage and later identified Mr. Moonesinghe and Mr. Nammuni had been recipient of the transfers. They had personally drawn funds from their accounts.

    Though US$ 1.103,980 (US$1.1 million) had been received by the Bank of Ceylon. CID detectives had put a stop to the bulk of the funds being withdrawn in Colombo. These funds had been sent in April this year to an SIA account (Securities Investment Account), an instrument which facilitates inward remittances to Sri Lanka for investment purposes.

    A BOC spokesman told the Sunday Times that SIA accounts by their very nature receive bulk amounts of money from time to time for investment activities from international investors and that when the bank was informed by the corresponding bank (Citibank) that the transactions from the Taipei bank were fraudulent, they had informed the CID and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

    CID detectives found that among the funds that had arrived were two different remittances of Rs 30 million each. Detectives have seized six million rupees from Mr. Munasinghe. Police sources said they had also blocked Rs 160 million as investigations continued.

    CID detectives want to question two Indian nationals who had arrived in Colombo from Dubai and assisted the two Sri Lankan born businessmen in trying to obtain part of the remittances. They believe the two Indian nationals who had left for Dubai in the meantime were part of a ring of hackers.

    In the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, the Vice President of the Far Eastern International Bank said that the origin of the malware had not been confirmed so far. However, he said, that the computer virus that had been used to hack the bank’s computers was a new variety.

    The arrest of Mr. Moonesinghe had led to another revelation. He had been the leader of the New Democratic Party, one recognised by the Election Commission. Its symbol, the swan, was used by the then Joint Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirsena for the January 8, 2015 Presidential election.

    Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has said he was unaware that Mr. Moonesinghe held that position. Commission officials are now investigating the matter. One source said Mr. Moonesinghe could face separate charges for making a false declaration if he is found to have claimed that he is now a Sri Lankan national.

    Both, Mr. Moonesinghe and Mr. Nammuni have been remanded till October 25 while investigations are proceeding.

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