Singapore yet to respond to Lanka’s petition Extradition of Mahendran
Posted on October 24th, 2018

 By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

  • FM hides behind non-existing clause in the law
  •  Udayanga’s case coming up in Dubai on Oct. 29

The Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday (Oct. 23), declined to disclose information pertaining to ongoing efforts to extradite the former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Arjuna Mahendran and former Ambassador in Moscow Udayanga Weeratunga, a non-career diplomat now in the custody of United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Senior Director General (Legal) C. A. H. M. Wijeratne, in his capacity as the Information Officer of the Ministry, said that they weren’t in a position to divulge information at this stage under Article 5 of the RTI (Right to Information Act) as the investigations were ongoing.

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Wijeratne said so in response to the following queries The Island submitted to the Foreign Ministry on Oct 16, 2018 seeking information under RTI Act No 12 of 2016: The Attorney General’s Department recently made representations to Singapore seeking Singaporean Mahendran’s extradition over his alleged involvement in treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016.

The Island understands the Defence Ministry handed over the relevant extradition papers to the Foreign Ministry for onward transfer. The following are the questions (1) When did the Foreign Ministry receive extradition papers from the Defence Ministry (2)When did the Foreign Ministry send extradition papers to Sri Lankan embassy in Singapore (3) When did Sri Lankan embassy in Singapore hand over extradition papers to Singapore Foreign Ministry/relevant authorities (4) Did Singapore respond to Sri Lanka’s request?

In respect of Udayanga Weeratunga’s case now heard in the Federal Court of the UAE in Dubai

(1) Did Sri Lanka handover extradition papers in respect of former Ambassador to Russia? (2) What is the status of the proceedings?

Well informed sources told The Island that Weeratunga’s extradition case would be taken up next Monday (Oct.29) in the Federal Court of the UAE sitting in Abu Dhabi. Sri Lanka made an abortive bid to take charge of Weeratunga in early February this year soon after Weeratunga’s detention at the Dubai airport while in transit to the United States. Sources said that Sri Lanka had no option but to initiate costly legal proceedings there to secure Weeratunga’s custody.

Weeratunga, a close relative of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is wanted in connection with ongoing investigations into the acquisition of four MiG 27 fighter jets from Ukrainian arms company ‘Ukrinmash’ in 2006 and overhauling of four MiGs.

The Fort Magistrate issued summons on Weeratunga on July 15, 2016.

Sources said yesterday that Singapore hadn’t so far responded to the extradition papers submitted to the competent authorities there, in respect of Mahendran.

Legal sources told The Island that requests made in terms of the RTI Act No 12 of 2016 couldn’t be simply rejected citing Article 5 of the RTI Act. Sources said that the Foreign Ministry had referred to a non-existing Article 5 of the RTI Act instead of Section 5 (1) that dealt with the denial of access to information.

Responding to another query, sources said that information couldn’t be denied by simply citing the relevant section of the Act. In fact, The Island could now appeal to the Foreign Ministry seeking the specific reason the required information was denied. Sources said that the RTI Act provided for denial of information on the basis of 22 specific reasons and the person seeking disclosure had the right to know why his/her request couldn’t be granted.

Sources said that the RTI Commission intervention could be obtained in case the Foreign Ministry turned down the appeal or fail to respond within the stipulated 21 days.

Mahendran left the country close on the heels of Presidential Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice K.T. Chitrasiri handing over its report to President Maithripala Sirisena in late Dec 2017.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Mahendran’s son-in-law and owner of the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Arjuna Aloysius and its CEO Kasun Palisena in early Feb this year in connection with treasury bond scams.

One Response to “Singapore yet to respond to Lanka’s petition Extradition of Mahendran”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Perhaps with over a billion US dollars (stolen) trashed up there will never voluntarily all him to be extradited.

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