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Saturday, August 5, 2017
WINSTON DE VALLIERE
It's a measure of the man's temperate nature that he accepted the portfolio of Sports Minister although his academic and political track record would justify him being entrusted with tasks at a higher level in the Cabinet. In the 2010 General Election, he received 132,600 preference votes which was the highest received by any candidate in the Kurunegala District.
On 24 July 2013, he resigned from the UNP and joined the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to contest the Provincial Council Elections. He broke the record of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga of most votes in a Provincial Council Election in Sri Lanka and was elected as the Chief Minister of the province on 21 September 2013. He is the 6th Chief Minister of North Western Province.
And Dayasiri Jayasekera who has switched sides on moral and ethical issues, said last week that he would vote in favour of a No-faith motion against Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake. On the other hand we had Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne saying that he hoped the Foreign Minister would come up with plausible responses to statements made by Ms. Anika Wijesuriya relating to the leasing and ultimate sale of what is said to have been her super luxury penthouse to the Karunanayake family.
The Minister has now said before the Commission of Inquiry into the Central Bank's Treasury Bond scandal that he has had absolutely no knowledge of his family's transaction with Ms. Wijesuriya relating to the penthouse, supposedly using monies jointly owned by him in the family company Global Transportation and Logistics Ltd.
Karunanayake is listed as the Chairman, CEO/Director of the company which is at Liyanagemulla, Seeduwa with assets, the Minister told the Commission on Wednesday, amounting to almost Rs.4.5 billion. To all knowledge, Arjun Aloysius or his family do not have a stake of any nature in this company. Ms. Wijesuriya has allegedly been asked to destroy the documents pertaining to the lease and subsequent purchase of the penthouse. Which she has said she did not do and presented before the Commission.
Despite being the Chairman and CEO, Karunanayake told the Commission that he knows nothing about a major deal that has supposedly been put through using cash from the safe of this company. He also says he does not know whether his wife had gone to the penthouse to meet Ms. Wijesuriya alone or in the company of Arjun Aloysius. We do not know what the Commission will make of all these statements and what
Mrs. Karunanayake will tell the Commission when she is called to give evidence.
Suffice it to say that Arjun Aloysius will also be hauled before this Commission in this context to ensure whether the facts are all accurate. That Karunanayake said he does not know whether his wife went to meet Wijesuriya alone or in Aloysius's company can be interpreted by the Commission to mean that he does know that she did go to meet Ms. Wijesuriya at the penthouse. In that case will the Commission conclude that he after all did know something about the Penthouse and the meeting, information about which was however withheld from him by all parties concerned relating to this massive real estate deal using monies apparently belonging to the company of which he is the Chairman/CEO? We are to take it then that the Chairman of this company, Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been kept in the dark about how its finances have been used.
Whether the Commission will accept all of this as plausible is something we still do not know. Dayasiri Jayasekera is a lawyer in his own right and will know more about the legal nitty-gritty concerning statements of this nature made by a Chairman of a company with assets running into over Rs 4.5 billion.
It has been revealed before the Commission that this text message from Aloysius to his personal secretary had been sent in November last year saying "remind me to ask Hon. MP RK to get a copy of the Monetary Board Paper 28/Nov/2016".
Even a Grade 7 student might be well acquainted with these initials by which Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake is commonly known. But the Minister told the Commission he knew of no politicians with those initials. Even if the Minister knew nothing about Aloysius's involvement in the penthouse deal, this SMS might suggest a relationship familiar enough for him to approach the Minister for such confidential high value information pertaining to Central Bank board papers. The next SMS from Aloysius's personal secretary Steve Samuel makes it clear that Aloysius has had that meeting with "RK". Did RK give him that Board Paper in violation of all law and ethics pertaining to such highly confidential State information? Who could this RK be? No prizes for guessing! :
SMS on 1 December 2015:
Good Morning Chairman Hope you had a good meeting with RK. Remind the 1 p.m. haircut.
What did Aloysius want that specific Board Paper for? The public have a right to know all of it under the Right to Information Act.
Whether that will establish a prima facie case in a Court of Law is left to be seen. When Karunanayake says that he does not know whether his wife went alone or in the company of Mr. Aloysius anyone could logically deduce from that statement that it is a tacit acknowledgement of knowledge of the fact that his wife and Aloysius knew each other well enough to be involved in such a high profile deal. So whether a Court will later on accept the Minister's statement that he knew nothing about the deal – or reject it – is yet to be seen.
At this point in time the politician-lawyer Dayasiri Jayasekera has said he will support the No-faith motion against the Minister. What the Court will have to say is still a moot point and we cannot prejudge anything in fairness to the Minister, who after all is also a publisher of a newspaper that was once committed to cleansing society and politics of all the crap within the systems.
The Asian Mirror carried this report yesterday that said:
"Asian Mirror can now reveal the text messages extracted from Arjuna Aloysius' phone by the Attorney General's Department.
Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera, on behalf of the Attorney General's Department, informed the Commission that some of these messages had been deleted.
They were read out by Livera before Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake who appeared before the Commission, yesterday.
The messages constantly point to a powerful political figure whom Aloysius refers to as 'RK'.
When asked whether Karunanayake had any knowledge of the politician wWho has the initials 'RK', Karunanayake said he was not aware.
The messages also showed how Aloysius had apparently funded the 'Sunday Leader' newspaper in the recent past and the manner in which the controversial businessman was involved in matters relating to the country's economy.
Following are some of the messages read out before the Commission, their senders and receivers, as given in the Asian Mirror website:
From Ruwan Gallage to Arjun Aloysius
Employees (of Sunday Leader) has stopped from work -
Rs 3 million
(This refers to the salaries of the Sunday Leader staff)
To Steve Samuel
From Arjun Aloysius
Remind me to ask Hon MP RK to get a copy of the Monetary Board Paper 28/Nov/2016
From Steve Samuel
On 01 December 2015
Good Morning Chairman Hope you had a good meeting with RK. Remind the 1 PM haircut.
From Ruwan Gallage
On 22 December 2016
The expected funds have not been realized.
SMS 05 (According to ASG Livera, this was a deleted message)
On 14 January 2017
Outgoing from Arjun Aloysius
To Steve Samuel
Please remind me to speak with RK on PPP set up and meeting with PM tom with US Treasury
To Arjun Aloysius
Social media is a strong weapon these days. Allow us to start our gossip column. We can give a massive support to PM and Hon Ravi K. I am going to cover the cost for two months. 3 to 5 million. Let's do this boss.
A calendar reminder
Meeting boss/RK on proposed auction for the week.
To Arjun Aloysius
From Neil de Silva
Dear Hon Min Ravi coming from the site.
Subani is going to inform the court. Is there a way for us to stop her from going to court?
01 June 2017
Dear Arjun there is Kapila Prasanna in Swarnawahini. He was with previous regime from 2007-2015. He has robbed producing money from Swarnawahini. This guy has been the secretary to S.M. Chandrasena from 2015. He only has GCE O/Ls. What is he doing under you? It is not good for you and PTL and Ravi K. These guys are very dangerous. They may send information.
Under the Right to Information Act one hopes, the President will ensure that no Commission or Court hold back any evidence relating to this case that the pubic have a right to know about. Dayasiri Jayasekera is no one's fool!