RAVAGES OF 2015 – Part IV
Posted on March 8th, 2020


Now let us revisit the 015 General Election process which was held in between the two Treasury Bond robberies.  Within a few weeks of ousting the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, people were greatly dismayed and unable to bear with the loss this great leader busloads of people started arriving in Medamulana from nearby districts such as Matara, Galle, and Ratnapura and far away districts Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Anuradhapura and from other districts in between and express their grief to Mr. Mahinda Rbeen forced Rajapaksa over the folly that has been forced on the country by the diaspora and the reactionary conspirators.  Eye witnesses said that some people especially the women folk prostrated before him in wailing and begged him to come back and rescue them and demanded said that he is the Diyasen Kumaraya who is destined to rescue and save the people of this country. 

Diyasen Kumaraya is a king the Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhists believe will be born in Sri Lanka after a lapse of 2500 years from the birth of Lord Buddha, to preserve the culture and Buddhism in this country. The foretelling about this by God Sumana, to an ascetic – of the reincarnation of King Parakumba, as a great King whose birth is to usher in all possible wealth, prosperity and good health to Sri Lanka – marks the origin of this belief. This factor is recorded in an Ola leaf that has provided vital evidence to support this belief and this Ola leaf exists in the National Museum to this day. This Ola leaf containing the Sumana sutta was found from a temple in Algamuwa.

When the election was approaching it became very clear that the UPFA headed by Mr. Rajapaksa will win the election easily. When this factor became clear the jealous and vicious hopperman Sirisena went into action and issued a letter one week before the election stating that even if Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa secures a lead in the election, under the powers vested in him by the constitution Mr. Rajapaksa will not be appointed as the Prime Minister and only an MP of his choice will be appointed.  This was a great shock to many voters and it disheartened them and they decided to refrain from voting in the election.  Sirisena proceeding further with his vicious and dictatorial activities, two days before the election, dismissed the General Secretaries of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mr. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and the United People’s Freedom Alliance Mr. Susil Premjayanth and appointed his minions to fill the vacancies since the General Secretaries of the parties were empowered under the election Law to take election-related decisions including nomination of Nationalist List MPs.  

Despite various intimidation, threats and obstructions to the election campaign of the UPFA candidates and UPFA supporters and the government misusing all government resources for the benefit and promotion of the UNP election campaign, the UNP, and its cohorts failed to secure an absolute majority in the election and they won only 106 seats against the 95 seats won by the harassed and intimidated UPFA under the leadership of fMr. Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Sirisena at that time considered the Mahinda Rajapaksa candidates as his sworn enemies and even the megalomaniac Prabhakaran wouldn’t have treated his opponents in such a manner.

Under these circumstances, Hopperman Sirisena came to the rescue of the UNP and appointed the UPFA candidates rejected by the people as National List MPs of the UPFA and then made the newly appointed SLFP General Secretary to sign a partnership MOU with the UNP to form a coalition government called the National Unity Government” which labeled themselves a the Yahapalana government”. The TNA won 16 seats and the JVP 6 seats in the election. The SLMC, ACMC, Mano Ganeshan/Digambarans’s TPA and JHU contested as constituents of the UNP calling themselves as the United National Front (UNF) (Union of Notorious Fraudsters) under UNP’s Elephant symbol the seats that were won by them and their National list MPs included in the UNP’s 106 seats.

Whether we will ever see an end to these scams is a question not too difficult to answer given the times we live in and lived in. With the general election around the corner, our choices are limited when it comes to selecting honest representatives, untainted by fraud, bribery, and corruption, from among the candidates nominated by the various political parties,

As promised in President GR’s election manifesto Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” action has been taken to round up and punish the Bonds Scam robbers who fleeced this country economically. 

The Grand Robbers – Courtesy: Google Chrome

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has filed a case against Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake in the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate’s Court for having allegedly provided false evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) which probed the Central Bank Treasury Bonds scam.

The CID told Court that as stated in the report compiled by the PCol, which probed the CBSL Treasury Bonds scam from 1 February 2015 to 31 March 2016 and based on its 25th recommendation, from the inquiry conducted by the CID, from 24 January this year and on the hearing conducted by the PCol on 2 August, 2017, it had come to light that Karunanayake had provided false evidence before the PCol.

The CID informed the Court that the AG had informed the President of his decision on implementing the recommendations contained in the PCoI report and that through the letter dated 24 January, the AG had ordered the CID to launch an inquiry if they are satisfied that individuals, Chief Executive Officer of the primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Kasun Palisena, Steve Samuel, Karunanayake and B.J.R. Sinnaiah had provided false evidence before the PCol and if the said offense falls under Section 109(5)(A) of the Penal Code.

The CID informed the Court that the offense committed falls under the said Section of the Penal Code. Also, the AG had advised the CID that if the suspects could be identified they should be apprehended and produced before a Magistrate. However, before doing so what the suspects have to say should be recorded as statements given by them and then launch inquiries into such statements.

They added that they had considered the recommendations and the findings contained in the PCol report and the evidence given on oath by then Minister Karunanayake had also been included in the report.

The CID informed Court that they had initiated a probe to verify the truth of the statements provided by Karunanayake before the PCoI and that they had already recorded statements from 30 persons in this connection.

They said that at first glance of the evidence on oath by the MP concerned before the PCol, it was clear to them that the MP had intentionally provided false evidence and based on Sections 188 and 190 of the Penal Code, Karunanayake had committed the punishable offence.

The CID reported to the Court that Karunanayake had provided certain evidence before the PCol which probed the CBSL Treasury Bonds scam.

These concerned: 1) The alleged connection between Karunanayake and PTL Beneficiary Owner Arjun Aloysius; 2) Whether Karunanayake knew Neil de Silva or about whether Karunanayake was aware of the Short Message Service sent by de Silva to Karunanayake’s cell phone; 3) Whether Karunanayake had inquired from Vijitha Wijesuriya on renting a suitable house; and when Karunanayake and his family members had inquired from Wijesuriya at times on renting a suitable house or whether Karunanayake was aware that the rent paid for the house he had occupied at the Monach Housing Scheme had been paid either by Aloysius or the Walt and Row firm.

Based on the aforesaid submissions, the CID has named Karunanayake for having allegedly provided false evidence before the PCol and they will need to record statements in this connection from Karunanayake, Mela Karunanayake, Onela Karunanayake, B.J.R. Karunanayake, Aloysius and Attorney Sumathipala Udugamsuriya.

The CID told the Court that besides the aforesaid persons they will also need to peruse if there had been phone connections to the workplaces of Neil de Silva, Don Gallage and Anika Wijesuriya from1 January, 2015 to 2 August last year.

The CID also requested the Court to issue an order to the Global Transportation and Logistics firm to release details of their transactions and details of its Director Board from 1 January, 2015 to 2 August, last year to the CID.

The Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate granted approval for each of the requests and ordered the prosecution to file a progress report on the case when it is next heard on 28 September.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General, President’s Counsel Dappula de Livera has ordered the Acting Inspector General of Police to obtain warrants for the arrest of several suspects including MP Ravi Karunanayake, former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Director Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena in connection with the Central Bank bond scam.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the accused on charges of criminal misappropriation, fraud and mismanagement of the market, the AG’s Coordinating Officer Nishara Jayaratne stated.

The Attorney General has instructed to charge the suspects with conspiracy to misappropriate Rs 51.98 billion in Central Bank bond auctions on March 29 and March 31, 2016.

In his letter to Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne, the Attorney General Dappula De Livera states that there is reasonable suspicion against the group of individuals with regard to the criminal wrongdoings which had occurred during the Treasury bond issuances on March 29 and March 31, 2016 and that they should be considered as suspects:

The AG has instructed the Acting IGP to name them as suspects with regard to the investigations, record statement from them and report information to the court.

The suspects are Perpetual Treasuries Limited, Ravindra Karunanayake, Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Joseph Aloysius, Palisena Appuhamilage Don Kasun Oshada Palisena, Geoffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa, Thuyya Handiyage Buddhika Sarathchandra, Sangarapillai Pathumanapan, Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara.

After an extensive review of documents and evidence, the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrates Court issued arrest warrants on 6th March against former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius and nine others,  

Earlier the Fort Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) owner Arjun Aloysius and 10 others in connection with the bond scam.  

When security personnel went to arrest Karunanayake they have found that he has left the house and absconding somewhere. In the meantime, someone very close to Karunanayake has appealed to some big wigs of the SLPP to get his arrest warrant suspended saying that he is afflicted with several illness, for which the SLPP big wigs have responded that this government does not interfere with judicial matters as it was done by the UNP government and this government has given for the Courts to act on their own.  Now we have to wait and see whether this culprit will surrender or would flee the country through a boat or some other way.   

When the case was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake, Senior Deputy Solicitor General (SDSG) Haripriya Jayasundara requested the Magistrate to issue an arrest warrant on the twelve suspects who have violated the law during two Treasury bond auctions conducted on March 29 and March 31, 2016.   Citing misappropriation, SDSG Jayasundara said that treasury bonds had been issued with a face value of Rs. 36.98 billion on March 29, 2016. During the submission, he informed the Court that the Attorney General stated that these suspects could face charges of insider dealing and market manipulation under Section 386 and 398 of the Penal Code read with 5 (1) and 5 (2) of the Public Property Act.

She also informed Court that the charges can be filed under the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance read with the CBSL’s Code of Conduct for primary dealers.   
However, Magistrate questioned the SDSG and the CID, if the charges come under the Public Property Act, why the Police could not apprehend the suspects without obtaining an arrest warrant from the Magistrate.   

Responding to the question, SDSG Jayasundara said that since the case was sensitive, the CID and the AG’s Department had decided to inform the Magistrate on obtaining an arrest warrant. Explaining the matter, SDSG Jayasundara said that the culprits behind the particular matter had created an artificial market in 2016 and due to this violation there had been a public nuisance within the country.   

When Ravi Karunanayake was serving as the Finance Minister, he had a meeting with three leading state bank officials and at this meeting, Mr. Karunanayake had told the bank officials to maintain a certain limit when issuing treasury bonds. Accordingly, the banks had to decrease the limit of issuing treasury bonds when conducting auctions and this had caused a huge market slump within this period,” she informed the Magistrate.   

She said that due to this limit maintained by the State Banks during that time, PTL had obtained many illegal bonds violating the law and this matter had affected the Employees Trust Fund (ETF) in the country.   However, Magistrate said that the Magistrate Court could not maintain a case under violation of the Public Property Act above Rs. 500 and therefore, evidence of the particular case be taken as affidavits.   The Magistrate also said that without taking evidence that is related to the matter, he could not issue an arrest warrant on the suspects.   

Relevant extracts from the island editorial of 6th March are given below to conclude this article.  

The police, acting on a directive by the Attorney General, sought arrest warrants to take into custody 12 persons in connection with the bond scams under the yahapalana government, and the court decision thereon is expected today. The matter is best left to the learned judge, and we don’t comment thereon.

We, however, can’t help wondering why on earth there are frustratingly protracted delays on the part of the state prosecutor and the long arm of the law as regards action to be taken against suspects with political connections. If an ordinary motorist fails to pay a fine for a minor traffic offense, within the stipulated period, he is hauled up before the court. About ten years ago, we highlighted the predicament of two small schoolgirls who happened to be on the wrong side of the law due to their pecuniary woes. One of them stole a few coconuts from her neighbor as her mother had no money to pay for her school fees. The police swooped on her and produced her in court. The other girl stole five rupees from a neighboring house, unable to bear the pangs of hunger. No sooner had she done so than she was arrested and taken to court. But when massive frauds, running into billions of rupees, are committed, the AG’s Department and the police take a month of Sundays to take action against them.

What would have happened if a peon had been caught in the act of stealing a bundle of photocopying paper from the Central Bank, on 27 February 2015? He would have been interdicted and handed over to the police the following day itself. But such swift action was conspicuous by its absence as regards the grandees who fraudulently earned billions of rupees from the bond auctions at the Central Bank, on 27 February 2015, and committed a bigger fraud one year later.

The AG’s Department is also to be blamed for having given kid glove treatment to the bond racketeers, initially, under the yahapalana government. Some of its senior officials, no doubt, deserve praise for having exposed the bond scammers, before a presidential commission of inquiry. But the fact remains that if the AG’s Department had taken timely action against the culprits involved in the first bond scam, in 2015, the second one committed, in 2016, could have been prevented and the culprits including the then CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran arrested.

No probe into the bond scams is complete without an investigation into an AG’s Department file which has been either shelved or made to disappear, as we have pointed out in this space previously. On 30 June, 2015, the CID handed over a file (No: C/187/161/2015) on the first bond scam to the AG’s Department. A senior official who received it found a prima facie case of insider trading and market manipulation; he opened a criminal file and handed it over to a senior counsel for further action. Strangely, criminal action against the bond racketeers was subsequently terminated; the file was turned into a confidential document (CF/08/2015) 999and passed on to another senior counsel.

In June 2016, that official, acting within the parameters set by his superiors, recommended that civil action be taken against Perpetual Treasuries to recover the losses caused by it. The file has not been sighted ever since. What has become of that vital document? The AG’s Department owes an explanation to the public.

In January 2019, the Hambantota High Court imposed the death sentence on a 69-year-old man who had shot a youth dead and injured another 32 years back. It is fervently hoped that cases against those who cause staggering losses to the state coffers through various rackets won’t drag on until the culprits go the way of all flesh. Ravi Karunanayake was reported to be having a Yaaga” sacrifice to deities for one week despite being a born and practicing Christian.  However, this con man makes visits and poojas at places of other religious worship and even pays visits to Mahanayaka Theros when it is warranted by political expediency. This Yaga is said to have been arranged and organized by the notorious former minister Mervyn Silva by bringing in several exorcists from the South.  Divine assistance comes to people when they are in real distress, subjected to oppression and being hit by hardships and calamities and not to rescue criminals, robbers, and swindlers

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