Bond Scam Vs. Sugar Scam
Posted on May 8th, 2018

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

Sri Lankan newspapers and certain foreign papers on 4th May, Friday morning were full of details relating to the arrest of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Dr. I.H.K Mahanama and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation, which also comes under the purview of the President Mr. Piyadasa Dissanaake who was formerly the Chief of Staff of former President Chandrika. Many websites however jumped the gun by reporting the incident on 3rd night itself relating to these arrests which had taken place on the 3rd evening.

Lana E News (LEN) reported the incident under the caption that President Gamarala‘s Rs. 540 million bribe taking..! His Chief of Staff and Timber Corp. chairman collect Rs. 20 million as down payment -caught red handed!!”  It said that the two officers who were nabbed while collecting a bribe of Rs. 20 million at the Colombo Taj Samudra hotel car park were close cronies of the President and this criminal transaction had taken place with the aiding and abetting of the president himself, based on reports reaching Lanka e news. 

Elaborating further, LEN said that Mahanama formerly was the permanent secretary of Lands Ministry where he earned the inglorious distinction as a massive bribe taker and about two months ago he went on retirement and the President gave him an extension despite his notoriety and appointed him as his chief of staff saying that he has taken into his fold the best officer.

The website explained that Mahanama and Dissanayake have collected the bribe from an Indian businessman promising they would obtain the necessary cabinet approval through the President to entrust the Kantalai sugar factory to him. It said that initially they have demanded a sum of Rs. 540 million as the bribe to be paid to the president and however that the sum was later reduced to Rs. 100 million. It said that it was while they were collecting a sum of Rs. 20 million as an advance they were nabbed by the Bribery and Corruption Commission officials when they were gleefully and blissfully counting the bribe.

The LEN said that it is very clear that these two bosom pals of Gamarala have taken this bribe with Gamarala’s aiding and abetting and if President Gamarala has any sense of shame he should resign at once.

Mr. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director of CaFFE/CHR writing to Lankaweb the history of this bribe taking deal said that the proposal to recommence the operations of the Kantale Sugar factory was first forwarded in 2006 during the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and in 2010, international bids were called to find a suitable investor but however the deal was put on hold.

On February 14, 2015, a month after this government came to power, on the initiative of Minister M. K. A. D. S. Gunawardana, the approval to recommence the operations of the Kantale Sugar factory was given and it was with India’s MG Sugar an agreement was signed between MG Sugar and the BoI. One of the conditions of the agreement was that MG Sugar must deposit US $ 10 million with the Sri Lankan government and on August 08, 2015 the company fulfilled that obligation.

However the Ministry of Lands kept on delaying what it needed to do on its part and placed many hurdles to prevent the investment from taking place. Dr. IK Mahanama, who was the secretary to the Ministry of Lands informed the investor, repeatedly, that he can prevent the delays from the AGs department and that nothing will be done without his approval and informed the investor that he needs US $ 3 million to ensure that the deal goes through.

Mr. Tennekoon said that on September 2017 Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayake also approached the investor and demanded a bribe during a meeting at Waters’ Edge Hotel. Between October 2017 and February 2018 Mahanama and Dissanayake demanded a bribe from the investor on four separate occasions and threatened that they won’t allow the project to take place unless the bribe is paid.

He said that on April 2017 land for the cultivation of sugar cane was given and on September 17, 2017 the cultivation began. At this point Mahanama once again threatened the investor that unless he received his bribe he will retake the land earmarked for sugar cane planting. By this time the investor had brought his British and South African partners to Sri Lanka.

Feeling that he has no other choice the investor approached the Bribery Commission on February 2018. MG Sugar also went for arbitration in Singapore against the constant harassment and during this time Mahanama became the President’s Chief of Staff. He again approached the investor promising to iron out the problems and brought in Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayake to act as a mediator.  As per Mr. Tennekoon, Dissanayake who was the secretary to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike was a past master of extortion, known as ‘Bar Piya’ among MPs in the 90s and early 00s and has amassed considerable assets including two two-storied houses at Gregory’s Road, an apartment at Union Place, three bars in Gampaha, one in Matara and two houses in Battaramulla. Mahanama has told the investor that he needs to take a bribe because he wants an income after he retires. Mahanama has also told the investor that he plans to construct a building near the University of Kelaniya and rent it out.

A report on this bribe taking published in the Sunday Times on 6th May said that parties from the aggrieved investors’ side met Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe in Kantale when he attended election meetings there earlier this year and told him about their dilemma and then the PM advised them to send their complant in writing to his office. Accordingly, a letter was sent to the Prime Minister, the President’s Office and Lands Minister Gayantha Karunatilleka. The report said that the PM’s office then encouraged the investor to lodge a complaint with CIABOC and this was done on the assurance that the informant would not face victimisation. As regards the letter sent to President’s office no action has been taken perhaps due to the alleged involvement in the deal by President’s son and the son-in-law as it was reported by the Lanka-E-News.

The Sunday Leader reported that Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Mahanama was reportedly going to pay a VIP a part of the money. It said that a VIP was also involved in the whole deal and part of the bribe was to be paid to the VIP.

The Website Ecnomynext said the incident was a major setback for Sirisena who is embroiled in a cold-war power struggle with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It said Sirisena used the Central Bank bond scam to discredit Wickremesinghe’s United National Party, arguing that the fugitive former central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran was a nominee of the Prime Minister but the tables have now turned and by Sirisena’s own logic, he should accept responsibility for Mahanama taking a bribe from a foreign investor. It further stated that Sirisena was dislodged from his moral high ground last month following reports that his daughter had obtained a liquor licence although he himself had restored a ban on women buying or serving liquor at restaurants and the sugar deal that went sour is only making things worse for Sirisena. It also stated the sugar scandal could be a blot on Sirisena’s record and strengthen allegations of other wrong doings including the purchase of a naval craft from Russia.

So the so-called two headed inept government is now led by one Bond Scam manipulator and the other Sugar Scam manipulator and because of them unfortunately the country has suffered losses that could have been  adequate to sustain several generations of yet unborn children of this country.

Meanwhile,Lanka E News in its follow up report posted on 6th May with photo evidence (visit https://server2.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/sbgpzrozdrd/sqrs/p2/news/7506/si) said that President’s family and family of Dissanayake who took 20 million bribe on behalf of President are closest pals ! The above referemced photograph showed Sashimal Dissanayake the son of P.Dissanayake, Daham Sirisena (son of the president) and Thilina Suranjith the notorious wheeler dealer son in law of the president posing together, and said that the saying that buddies of the same  crooked  feather flock together is indeed true ! The LEN said that when the President Gamarala went for the Commonwealth conference in London with an over bloated delegation of over 100 members, it was Sashimal who was caught taking bribes from them and interestingly, Sashimal and Daham Sirisena occupied the same room It also stated that Thilina the wheeler dealer son in law of Gamarala had been roaming the streets of America, Japan, Korea, Germany and England  On most occasions he has been accompanied by Sashimal the son of culprit Dissanayake  now in prison) .LEN with this news report also published the following phoographs attended to the bottom of the respective item:

  1. Shashimal, Daham Sirisena and Thilina Suranjith taken in England
  2. Daham and Shashimal sitting together at the Independent Festival,
  3. Daham and Shashimal in a foreign location
  4. Shashimal, Daham Sirisena and Thilina trio – place not mentioned
  5. Shashimal, Daham and Thilina trio with Mrs. Jsayanthi Sirisena in England

These photographs show how intinate had been the families of Sirisena and Dissanayake, 

The Website further stated that it was learnt that the night before Mahanama and Dissanayake were nabbed, they had been at the Galle Face hotel with the complainant who is the Indian national, along with two Russians and it is there  the final decision was taken  to collect the bribe the following day and Mahanama and Dissanayake have finally wound  up that night with two Russian whores in bed supplied by the Russians.

The LEN also reported that in place of Dissanayake, the President has appointed another corrupt scoundrel as though the President has never known what integrity, honesty, or who are ‘clean’ individuals. The new State Timber Corporation chairman is Anurudha Polgampola, who was best noted for his criminal activities and sordid pole vaulting habits. The website said that he was earlier with Wimal Werawansa and later somersaulted to Maithripala‘s camp saying he wanted to strengthen the latter. The LEN said that while he was with the so called JVP, he smuggled some individuals to Japan, and for this crime he was jailed there. The JVP chased him out in 2008 and thereafter he joined with Weerawansa and even as recent as 2017, he was taken into custody by the anti corruption unit of Mirihana police, because he defrauded two businessmen in a sum of Rs. 7.5 million.(end)

5 Responses to “Bond Scam Vs. Sugar Scam”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you Nizam for bringing these to the notice of the readers in Lankaweb.

    It is unbelievable how these crooks are fooling the public by millions of promises.

    Yet they have the backing of the West and India because they are doing the job given to them by their masters. This is not an easy mess to clear for the next leaders.

  2. L Perera Says:

    The President owes an explanation to the voters of Sri Lanka, where according to his response he was not aware that the raid was on the cards and that his Chief of Staff was the offender.

  3. Christie Says:

    Bond scam man and Sugar bribe men all appointments of Hon President Sirisena.

    Time he resigned of got kicked out by the Parliament.

  4. Christie Says:

    This Indina Parasite should be chaged alon with others.

  5. Lasantha Pethiyagoda Says:

    The ingrained political culture in Sri Lanka has to be dismantled. No amount of castigating individuals on these fora will make that happen. Corruption will otherwise reach new heights where the law will be so compromised that legal recourse will become untenable. Community organisations must work towards this objective, ans not just vote for one crook over another at elections.

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