Speciality of corrupt politicians
Posted on June 10th, 2018

By Sugeeswara Senadhira Courtesy Ceylon Today

The exact number of people who received illegal funds either from Perpetual Treasuries Limited or its subsidiary W.M. Mendis & Company Limited is anybody’s guess. In addition to politicians, there could be high-ranking officials and others among those bribe-takers.

However, all of them are capable of lying effortlessly with a straight face, even when they are confronted with solid evidence of receiving illegal money. Earlier, we have seen utterances of untruths or pretention of memory lapses by very high ranking politicians including former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Dayasiri Jayasekara. Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka acknowledged receipt of “about 1 lakh” from Arjun Aloysius. Now, the latest name that has come up, though not unexpectedly, is that of Sujeewa Senasinghe.

According to a B report filed in Court on 7 June by the prosecution in connection with the probe into the Central Bank Bonds Scam, State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe had received three cheques (each for the sum of Rs 1 million) in 2015 and 2016 from W.M. Mendis & Company Limited, a subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries Limited. The B report says that a member of the State Minister’s security detail, a former Sub Inspector had encashed one of the three cheques received in 2015 at a bank in Slave Island. The other two cheques received in 2015 and 2016 were encashed by two other Police Officers attached to the State Minister’s security detail.

Conducting research

Last year, Senasinghe pretended that the 62 telephone conversations he had with Aloysius were necessary to obtain information for the book titled Eththa Neththa, which he wrote to reinforce the fact that no fraud took place during the issuance of Bonds at the Central Bank. “How else could I obtain information?,” he arrogantly asked the journalists. However, it was revealed that many of the calls were made after he had published the book.

Sujeewa Senasinghe was appointed to the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) due to the resignation of UNP MP Velu Kumar on 7 July 2016. The investigation by COPE, chaired by MP Sunil Handunnetti was carried out between 6 May 2016 and 28 October 2016. It has also been stated that between 4 July 2015 and 3 March 2017 there had been 227 telephone conversations between State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe and Arjun Aloysius.

The Attorney General’s Department revealed in the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Colombo that Perpetual Treasuries Limited, owned by Arjun Aloysius, gave former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran three cheques for the sum of Rs 3.2 million. On the same day, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament that he did not know the whereabouts of Mahendran, the man who was appointed by him as the Central Bank Governor, despite objections from President Maithripala Sirisena.

Addressing the media to explain the telephone calls and the publication of a book to protect the defrauders, by stating that there had not been any malpractices in the Central Bank Bonds Deal, Sujeewa Senasinghe said he had acted to save the United National Party (UNP).

The analysts who studied the issue are of the opinion that the party has to be saved only if the leaders and members made mistakes. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too said, after appearing before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Bonds Issue, that mistakes were made. In such an environment, attempting to save Bonds scammers and UNP leaders who were a party to such crimes and slandering after everything has been revealed will further expose the guilty party. When the Bond Scam exploded two years ago, it was revealed that the main beneficiary of the Central Bank Bond Issues in 2015 and 2016 was Perpetual Treasuries Limited, headed by Mahendran’s son-in-law (Arjun Aloysius). The Prime Minister, at the time, defended Mahendran, the man he hand-picked for the Central Bank Governor’s post. Mahendran had to vacate his post when President Sirisena refused to extend his tenure.

Regarding the funds, Senasinghe claimed that he was unaware that his election campaign teams had received money from W.M. Mendis & Company Limited. “Had I known that the contribution was from W.M. Mendis & Company Limited, I would not have allowed the teams handling campaign donations to accept it,” he said. Furthermore, he did not explain why election funds were collected in 2016, one year after the 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and two years prior to the Local Government Election of 2018.

Dayasiri Jayasekara

The Attorney General’s Department informed Court that the Criminal Investigation Department will also obtain a statement from UPFA MP Dayasiri Jayasekara regarding the cheque of Rs 1 million, which he allegedly received in 2015 from Walt & Row Associates, part of the Perpetual Group. Jayasekara admitted that he had indeed received this amount, but said that he did not know where the donation had come from. When Jayasekara received his Rs 1 million ‘donation’ too, there was no election in the country.

Knowing our politicians, the average citizen will not expect the people who were directly or indirectly involved in this scam to resign. However, people are shocked by some actions and statements made by certain people mentioned in the report. They must have thought the people are so naive and gullible to believe their absurd explanations. Ravi Karunanayake resigned when he was forced to do so. Dayasiri Jayasekara, fortunately, resigned in the context of voting in favour of the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a few days before the revelation that he had received funds from Arjun Aloysius. Now, it is Sujeewa Senasinghe’s turn.

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