Old Hag Bandit Queen Chandrika was fined Rs. 3 Million for illegal land offer.
Posted on November 21st, 2017

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA.

Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkaara speaking in Parliament recalled that based on a petition filed by him in 2007 about a corrupt deal made by Chandrika misusing her executive power, the Supreme Court gave a ruling ordering the Police to carry out further investigations on this fraudulent deal and despite that ruling the Attorney General’s Department has so far failed to proceed with this investigation and urged the AG’s Department to commence this investigation.

The old hag bandit queen Chandrika seems to be feeling restless if she did not say something adverse about the former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa at least once a week and least  of all saying that he is a robber similar to the adage that ‘prawns having feces in its own head ridicule others and call itself as clean,’ and similar to crabs admonishing others to go straight.  This venomous old hag bandit queen Chandrika is also similar to a prawn with feces in its head. Therefore, it tempted to dig into the case referred to by Mr. Vasudeva and enlighten the readers.

Sunday Times of 12th October, 2008 published a report under the caption Waters Edge Transaction – Chandriks’s Presidential Robbery” and announced that Supreme Court has ruled that the former president abused her executive powers to facilitate a corrupt deal.  The article said that former President Chandrika, was instrumental in illegally transferring state lands meant for a ‘public purpose’ to a private golf course — now known as Waters Edge.”

It said that In a landmark judgment, Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane stressed that Kumaratunga had failed to function in a manner consistent with the expectations of a public officer, much less an Executive President, and in doing so, had completely betrayed the position of trust bestowed upon her by the Constitution and by the people of Sri Lanka.

The Article said that accordingly Kumaratunga was fined Rs. 3 million while the fifth respondent and Kumaratunga’s family friend Ronnie Peiris, who is said to have made a Rs. 57 million profit in the corrupt deal, was ordered to pay 2 million rupees. The court also ordered that the flood retention area at the controversial site be restored and recommended that the Water’s Edge complex be utilized to house government offices. The article further stated the the judgment also had the consent of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justice P. A. Ratnayake.

The Sunday Times article giving some background accounts to this fraudulent deal says the following legal explanations to Chandrika’s (1st Respondent’s) role in this deal.

Quote:

The President does not have the power to shield, protect or coerce the action of state officials or agencies, when such action is against the tenets of the Constitution or the Public Trust, and any attempts on the part of the President to do so should not be followed by the officials for doing so will (i) result in their own accountability under the Public Trust Doctrine, betraying the trust of good governance reposed in them under the Constitution by the People of this nation, in whom sovereignty reposes and (ii) render them sycophants unfit to uphold the dignity of public office.

At the base of her defence, the 1st Respondent principally alleges that her involvement in the instant transaction was minimal, and limited to only the action she was expected to take in her capacity as Minister of Finance and as head of the Cabinet of Ministers. Moreover, she argues that when she saw the project undergoing “substantial change”, she immediately sought to cancel the transaction. Such statements, however, fail to explain the submitted evidence, resulting in a series of contradictions and inconsistencies that lead to no other conclusion than a determination that the 1st Respondent has failed to function in a manner consistent with the expectations of a Public Officer, much less an Executive President, and in doing so, has completely betrayed the position of trust bestowed upon her by the Constitution and by the People of Sri Lanka. The 1st Respondent has grossly abused her power.
The first action of the 1st Respondent significant to the case involved the issue of the Special Projects Memorandum. Only 4 months after the initiation of the Asia Pacific project, the 1st Respondent issued the Special Projects Memorandum that, quite conveniently, aimed to facilitate and “streamline” the alienation of land in situations precisely like the kind at issue. In contemplation of the Special Projects Memorandum, was the later issuance of the Cabinet Memorandum P3 which, as set out in the facts above, sought to facilitate the approval of Asia Pacific’s Golf Project and sought, among other things, significant economic concessions for the project.

Though the 1st Respondent argues that the issuance of this Memorandum was both customary and in response to a recommendation of the project by the BOI, the BOI has expressly stated (vide para. 3, Document EF of the BOI’s Affidavit) that at no time was a recommendation ever made to the 1st Respondent to issue the special concessions she advanced. The BOI’s assertion is substantiated by the fact that letters dated 25th August 1997 (Document JJ(1) of the BOIs Affidavit) and 3rd September 1997 (Document JJ(2) of the BOI’s Affidavit) reveal that the Digana golf course was still under construction and encountering financial difficulty which would result in a 2-year delay to complete the project.

Such a blatant misrepresentation by the 1st Respondent only strengthens the allegations of the Petitioners that such behaviour had ulterior motives unrelated to furthering the Public Trust. Regardless of the 1st Respondent’s argument that her behaviour was ‘customary’, the fact remains that the promoters themselves received payment for transfer of the shares of Asia Pacific, whose sole significant asset at the time of sale was the leasehold of the land with the UDA and the approval agreement with the BOI, both containing provisions exceptionally and unusually favourable to Asia Pacific – such provisions she had successfully lobbied for approval.

Given the fact that the 1st Respondent actively and successfully lobbied the Cabinet for concessions for Asia Pacific beyond and in excess of the guidelines she herself had promulgated in her capacity as President, it is patently disingenuous for the 1st Respondent to now abdicate responsibility and claim ignorance of the nefariousness of the transaction. Quite simply, it is unacceptable and reprehensible for the 1st Respondent to have made use of the power conferred upon her by the People to advance this Project, and now distance herself from the responsibilities inherent to such power.Given such a result, it was the duty of the 1st Respondent to, at the very least, inform the Cabinet through a subsequent memorandum – it must be remembered that the 1st Respondent was the Minister of Finance during the year of the sale (2002) – of the material change to the project resulting from the sale of Asia Pacific to Access Holdings. Whilst the 1st Respondent argues as evidence for the normality of this transaction that “it is an everyday commercial reality that the very basis of commercial transactions is to make a profit”, the sale of a development company after obtaining state-subsidized assets and inordinately favourable tax incentives, before significant investment into the company or the commencement of development is anything but an “everyday commercial reality”.

Unquote

The aforementioned is not the only instance in which she has interceded in land alienation procedures for the purpose of “actively facilitating,” if not seeking to bypass the appropriate approval process. According to a Report of a Committee of Inquiry delivered on 6th November 2002 regarding, propriety of alienation of a land in Narahenpita to Lifestyle Health Services (Private) Limited, she has issued several pieces of correspondence through which she, inter alia, has expressed repeated concern over procedural delays and instructed the BOI to expedite the process of’ vesting of the land by “eliminating some of the steps outlined or by accelerating the same.” The court has directed the BOI and the SLLR & DC to immediately investigate this dubious alienation and to act forthwith to restore the public purpose for which the said land was acquired especially as the affidavit of the SLLR & DC reveals that several instalments amounting to approximately Rs. 25 Million have not yet been paid.

The website Master Frauds of Sri Lanka” reported that the Chairman of Asia Pacific Golf Courses (Pvt) Ltd Sumal Perera asserted that the Urban Development Authority (UDA) owed him and his company Rs. 2.5 billion for the Water’s Edge property following the landmark Supreme Court judgment which determined the project illegal and void. He said that his company has invested Rs. 2.5 billion and it is up to the UDA to reimburse these funds when we hand over the property next February as it has been decreed by the Court case.  Mr. Sumal Perera has said that he made the investment trusting the bona fides of the then Government of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and added that he was not aware of the implications until the judgment was given.

Master Frauds of Sri Lanka” said that during the proceedings, Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who presided over the three-member bench made some strong remarks against the conduct of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) which alienated this extent of land on the instructions of the Cabinet following then President Kumaratunga’s proposal. It said that Ms Kumaratunga, in a socialist regime built a luxury golf club and if she had said that at the 1994 election campaign, no one would have voted for her government,

As per Master Frauds of Sri Lanka” Attorney J.C. Weliamuna appearing for the petitioners told Court that the entire transaction to lease out the land extending to 224 acres began with former President Ms. Kumaratunga submitting a cabinet paper for a project with Japanese national J. Yanagihara as its foreign investor and Mr. and Mrs. Selvaratnam and Shantha Wijesinghe as local investors. He said that after the cabinet approval, the Board of Directors of the company changed hands and the Japanese national went missing. Mr. Weliamuna said they were not investors but only facilitators.

He said that after the change of directors, Ms. Kumaratunga tried to cancel the approval.
He stated that during the negotiations the respective Provincial council was not consulted as should be the procedure. He said Mr. Peiris who was known to Ms. Kumaratunga, was a facilitator who negotiated the deal with Asia Pacific Golf Course Ltd and had received a payment amounting to Rs 60 million as commission. Mr. Weliamuna said Mr. Peiris was to be arrested by the Inland Revenue Department in respect of this transaction which should be investigated by the Bribery and Corruption Commission.

President’s Counsel Faiz Musthapha appearing on behalf of eight” ejected residents appearing as intervenient petitioners said there was no public interest at all in this transaction. Although the land was acquired for the expansion of the parliamentary administration complex and for a flood retention project, it was given to a private party for a golf course. There was no public element in it,”and he said.It was calculated to assist the fourth respondent company, viz Asia Pacific Golf Courses Ltd. on the face of the cabinet memorandum. There was a discount of Rs. 90 million — a drop of nearly one third and it is contrary to the valuation of the Government Valuer, who valued it as a single entity,” Mr. Musthapha claimed.

He said that in terms of the UDA law, the UDA had no right to give property as a handout without payment. He charged that in order to circumvent the law, the UDA had purportedly executed so-called licences.This licence, he said, is unknown to the law and they have being notorially executed and the land had being given on a 99-year lease,” he said.
The cabinet departed from the original project and authorized the order to sell blocks. This is a new purpose as the original assignment of the land was for the golf course.

Mr. Musthapha told the Court that the land was sold by the UDA at Rs. 26,000 a perch to the developer who in turn sold blocks without any building construction for Rs. 5 million a block. The UDA has been a land sales agent,” he said .

President’s Counsel D. S. Wijesinghe for Asia Pacific Golf Courses Ltd., the 4th respondent, in his submissions stated that the Asia Pacific Golf Course was a corporate individual and that it should not be penalized for an act committed by another individual. He said the Court should take note whether the shareholders of the company received this land unlawfully and that the court should penalize the people who were responsible — and not the Asia Pacific Golf Course.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for the sixth respondent, Sumal Perera, the present Chairman of Asia Pacific Golf Courses Ltd., in his submissions said that the 6th respondent went into this venture after he had obtained all relevant documents from the authorities concerned and that there was no unlawful act committed.
He said the company had, abiding by the terms and conditions stipulated by the UDA, taken steps to preserve the water retention purpose at a cost of Rs. 295 million.
He said the Court should consider that the 6th respondent was not responsible for any unlawful act and should not be penalized. He said the shareholders had invested around Rs. 2,500 million in the project and that they should be compensated if any of the transactions facilitated by the 1st Respondent (former President Kumaratunga) was found to be unlawful. He said that this project was done bona fide.

Master Frauds of Sri Lanka” disclosed that the Chief Justice observed that the company had in fact obtained documents which granted approval for an 18-hole Golf Course and not for a land sale. He said that if the company was to claim any compensation, it should claim it from the people who sold it through the Shareholders Agreement. Justice Thillakawardene said nothing legal could come out of an illegal act, and that the State could not be made to suffer twice over by being asked to pay compensation as well.

Attorney Nihal Jayawardena for the UDA said that after the Waters Edge project started the land value in the surrounding area had appreciated.The Chief Justice observed that this should not be the motive and the intention of the UDA , and said that again, the UDA was suggesting that poor people should be made to move out of these areas when land values rise and only the rich have access to such properties.The purpose of the UDA is to facilitate public interest and not the interests of individuals,” he said. The basic function of the UDA in allocating the land was to build a park, and a public playground for the benefit of the public whereas it has been used to facilitate a private members only club,” the Chief Justice said. The UDA had acted so badly, it should be dissolved”, the Chief Justice said.

President’s Counsel Mohan Pieris appearing for the BOI said the Cabinet granted approval for special developments projects to seven BOI projects and approval was granted on the basis that the persons who received the approval should be the investors.
Master Frauds of Sri Lanka” also disclosed that the Senior State Counsel Nerin Pulle appearing for the Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Department referred to the tax file pertaining to Ronnie Peiris where he admits to collecting Rs. 60 million for this transaction as part of his commission, could be submitted to Court should the Supreme Court direct the Commissioner general to do so. It should also be stated that the old hag bandit queen was reportedly staying at the residence of Ronnie Peiris when she made her self-exile to U.K following the assassination of Mr. Vijaya Kumaratunga by the JVP.(END)

4 Responses to “Old Hag Bandit Queen Chandrika was fined Rs. 3 Million for illegal land offer.”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    This is how once penniless Bandit Queen managed to buy palatial houses in the UK!

  2. Indrajith Says:

    Thank you, M. Nizam for writing this interesting article.

  3. Indrajith Says:

    Thank you, Mr. Nizam for writing this interesting article.

  4. Indrajith Says:

    Please watch this youtube video as well. Thank you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maZkmiJZGLc

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