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 Post subject: Ranil - Lies, deception, corruption, thuggery, favouritism
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:27 pm 
Lies, deception, corruption, thuggery, favouritism under Ranil's regime

At what point on the Transparency International scale does Ranil Wickremesinghe stand?

Date : 2005-10-21
@ - Asian Tribune -

The following report was compiled by the research team of the Asian Tribune

Part 1.

Colombo, 21 October, (Asiantribune.com): All regimes in Sri Lanka have been accused of lying, being deceptive and corrupt, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim, however, is that he is “Mr. Clean”. He likes to bask in this image and pro-UNP media in private sector tends to promote this image. But Transparency International has placed Sri Lanka way below the cleanest nation, Iceland. It was placed as No:1 and Sri Lanka is near the bottom ranked as 82.

At what point on the Transparency International scale does Ranil Wickremesinghe stand?

Corruption comes in many forms. Normally it is associated with bribes. But corruption extends to abuse of power to gain sexual favors (i.e employing males and females on the basis of sexual preferences), gain advantages to your relatives and friends, lying and deceiving the nation to gain or remain in power, betraying the overall interest of the nation to protect self-interest of those in power, excessive use of power to suppress and oppress opponents, associating with criminal elements etc.

1. Associating with criminals :

Consider the last one first. Gonawila Sunil was a well-known underworld character who was sentenced to jail for raping when J. R. Jayewardene was President. Sunil was from Ranil Wickremesinghe’s electorate, Biyagama. After serving a few months in jail he was pardoned by Wickremesinghe’s uncle “JR”. Straight from jail he moves in Wickremesinghe’s Ministry of Education. Sunil becomes the king pin in the Ministry fixing transfers, appointing teachers and even cocking up his legs on the table of the Minister. In the meantime, Batalanda, also in Wickremesinghe’s electorate, gains notoriety for various crimes. Sunil’s name is associated with these crimes. He acts with impunity. He becomes an embarrassment. One fine day he is gunned down. End of the story of Gonawila Sunil. Incidentally, it must be noted that Transparency International has given only a score of 3.2 to transparency in Sri Lanka.

2. Anti-bribery body paralyzed under Ranil’s regime

The commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption is unable to function due to the lack of a commissioner.

The member died in February last year and so far no one has been named as a replacement due to various objections to the nominations. The commission said that in this situation, it is legally impossible to investigate complaints or take legal action against alleged offenders.

The commission received a total of 1803 complaints, 390 of them relating to bribery. A further 721 complaints referred to various acts of corruption. The commission says it is unable to pursue action even when there is sufficient evidence.

Legal sources have claimed that objections to nominations to fill the vacancy could be to safeguard powerful persons facing charges of bribery or corruption. (Tuesday, January 13, 2004, 6:12 pm SL Time, Colombo Page News Desk, Sri Lanka.)

This explains the following:

3. Files on (Ranil’s) UNP Tea Shakthi swindles before Bribery Commission

Tea Small Holdings Development Authority Chairman, Tikiri Kobbekaduwa revealed that all files in connection with corruption and malpractices involving the Tea Shakthi Fund during the previous UNP government (of Ranil Wickremesinghe) had been handed over to the Commission Inquiring into Bribery and Corruption.

He made the revelation at a meeting of the Doluwagama Tea Small Holdings Development Society held at Rattepitiya, Menikdiwela.

The TSHDA Chairman added that at the time he assumed duties as the Chairman; the authority was undergoing losses to the tune of about Rs. 8 million, two of the 12 factories had been closed and were in negotiations for loans from banks.

Radio transmission equipment bought for the authority for a sum of Rs. 3.5 million had been sold out for Rs. 300,000. Fifty tractors bought at Rs. 275,000 each had been sold out at Rs. 75,000 each.

A double cab belonging to the authority had been taken to the Ratnapura area by a UNP Minister and it was traced only a week ago but it had been damaged beyond repair. A complaint has made to the Bribery Commission regarding this, added Tikiri Kobbekaduwa.

A programme was being implemented under the ADB assistance to reactivate rural level tea societies.

The membership of tea societies should be aware of the benefits they could accrue from the authority and should commit themselves to protect the tea economy.

A tea society in the Ratnapura district was collecting 100,000 kilograms of green leaf per day in eight lorry loads.

That was clear proof of the fact that more economic benefits could be derived through the strength of those societies, he added. (Ceylon Daily News – March 8, 2005)

4. Ranil’s UNP Parliamentarian Abdul Cader in custody for bribery

Abdul Cader was taken into custody by the Police Special Investigations Unit on August 10, 2004 on an allegation that he forwarded a letter to former Samurdhi Minister S. B. Dissanayake requesting payment from the Samurdhi Social Development Trust Fund for Rs. one million to provide 690 bags of samba rice for distribution at Mosques and a cheque had been forwarded to Mahajana Stores, Gampola.

However the mosques received less rice while certain mosques did not receive any and thereby the funds had been misappropriated. Cader was remanded in connection with criminal misappropriation of Rs.1 million of Samurdhi funds. Filing a further report in connection with their investigations ASP C.V. Widisinghe of the Special Investigation Unit said they have to record a statement from Navaratne in connection with the issue of the Rs. 1 million cheque to Cader.

The report also stated that according to the statement by UNP Parliamentarian S.B. Dissanayake, Cader had requested and forced him to issue a cheque for Rs.1 million in favour of Mahajana Stores, Gampola for purchase of rice.

On Cader's request Dissanayake had directed Navaratne to issue a cheque for Rs. 1 million to Abdul Cader, the report added.

"I gave directions to Director General Ms. Kumari Navaratne to issue a cheque for Rs. 1 million to Abdul Cader, but she, the Director General, should have perused the documents forwarded by Co-operative Minister Abdul Cader for Rs. 1 million was genuine before issuing the cheque," Dissanayake had told investigators.

Before issuing the cheque it was Navaratne's duty to check whether the rice had been distributed among the mosque or not, stated Dissanayake's statement.

UNP Parliamentarian Abdul Cader was produced before High Court Judge K. S. J. de Abrew. The prosecution states that statements have been recorded from 69 witnesses in connection with the case involving irregularities brought against the MP. They said that preliminary investigations were almost over but as the former Samurdhi Commissioner General Kumari Navaratne is abroad and could not be taken into custody, the investigations were incomplete.

State Counsel Ms. Dinethi Liyanage appeared for the Attorney General while President's Counsel M. L. A. Ameen and President's Counsel K. N. Choksy appeared for the petitioner. (CDN – Oct. 26. 2004)

5. Ranil’s National Organizer, S. B. Dissanayake embezzled 620 million of Samurdhi holders.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday pledged that the Government will deposit Rs. 620 million squandered by former Samurdhi Minister S. B. Dissanayake from the Samurdhi Social Security Fund into Samurdhi beneficiaries’ accounts with interest.

Addressing Samurdhi development officers at the 7th General Assembly held at the open air theatre at the Vihara Mahadevi Park, President Kumaratunga said that, "The ongoing investigations have revealed that the former minister had embezzled Rs.620 million of the hard earned money deposited by Samurdhi holders. 'We will take the necessary measures against him and the Government will deposit the entire amount with interest in their compulsory savings accounts", President said. (Ceylon Daily News, October 20, 2004)

Ranil spends lavishly on his friends: pays his advisor Rs. 1,836,833 monthly.

James W. Robertson who was former (Ranil) Prime Minister's Senior Economic Advisor was paid 214,000 US dollars per year which amounted to Rs. 1,836,833 monthly.

While these foreign advisors received salaries and allowances for in excess of what they could earn in their own countries, they received other perks as well including super vehicles, luxury apartment facilities and VIP air tickets to visit their home countries seven to eight times per year.

Apart from these foreigners Rohan Samarajeewa who functioned as Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission during the PA Government was appointed as advisor to the Prime Minister and he was paid 298,000 US dollars per year. (Rs. 2,557,833 per month) in addition to other allowances and facilities.

Apart from this Lakshman Siriwardena was paid an annual salary of Rs. 4.8 million, Harsha de Silva an annual salary of Rs. 2.6 million, Ms. Sarasalie Fonseka an annual salary of Rs. 3.84 million and A.A. Seneviratne an annual salary of Rs. 2.76 million while all other advisors had been paid monthly salaries in excess of Rs. 100,000 the salaries and allowances paid to former Prime Minister's other friends like R. Paskaralingam are not included in this list.

Although the UNP which has got into a frenzy in the face of the people friendly program of work implemented by the UPFA Government was highlighting matters in an exaggerated manner to hide its own past misdemeanors it should be pointed out that the people through their verdict at the recently concluded elections had clearly shown that they had not forgotten the past.

We ought to recall how the UNP which made these false accusations against Presidential advisor acted during its 2 year period of rule. We cannot forget the era where Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spent foreign aid received by the country lavishly on his friends who had been appointed as his advisors.

A large slice of the 18 million US dollars (Rs. 1854 million) received as World Bank aid during the latter part of the PA government had been utilized to pay the salaries and allowances of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's Foreign Consultants and local Consultants who were his intimate friends.

From this aid 7.97 million US dollars (Rs. 820 million) had been utilized to pay salaries and allowances to Prime Minister's advisors and 112 advisory organizations during a year. This money had been spent on the salaries and allowances of advisors appointed to the Policy Planning and Implementation Ministry which functioned under the Prime Minister by stating that it had been allocated for Public Sector Reforms implemented under the Ministry of Economic Reform, Science and Technology.

Foreigners were conspicuous among the former Prime Minister's advisors. John Earl who was brought down by Ranil Wickremesinghe for publicity work during the 1999 Presidential Election was later named as consultant to the unit set up to develop a master plan for Strategic Communication and paid 239,280 US dollars per year.

Accordingly his monthly pay was 19,940 US dollars or Rs. 2,053,820. It is a common secret that whatever his designation John Earl’s main function was to select former Prime Minister's clothing, and provide him speech training and strategies to create dissension in opposition ranks.

Apart from this A. G. Cuthbertson who was appointed on advisor for strengthening Government capacity was paid 227,625 US dollars per year which amounted to Rs. 1,953,781 monthly. Other two advisors Trent J. Bertrand and Thomas Maxwell were paid 232,625 US dollars each per year which amounted to Rs. 1,996,697 monthly each. (Daily News – Oct 22, 2004)

Ranil – One of Asia’s most corrupt leaders?

7. Ranil's 71 Ministers used 355 vehicles -- five for each

Colombo, 22 October, (Asiantribune.com): Ranil Wickremesinghe ‘s UNF government had a total of 71 Cabinet Ministers, non-Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers . When President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga took over the government from him they did not resign immediately.

People's Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) asked the President and the Commissioner of Elections to order the seizure of 355 State owned vehicles being used by these errant Ministers and Deputy Ministers if they are not being returned immediately since these could be used illegally for election work.

It is revealed that each minister had at least five vehicles at his command. There were 32 Cabinet Ministers, 27 non-Cabinet Ministers and 12 deputy ministers in Ranil’s UNF government (Ceylon Daily News – Feb 11, 2004)

8. Ranil's body guard becomes Protocol Officer in New York

In New York the protocol officer designate is a former bodyguard of Ranil Wickremesinghe who was sent as a driver. When asked how he became a protocol officer, he said he wanted to live in New York. Many embassies are staffed with voters from Moratuwa – the electorate of the Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando. They have no other qualifications. Also T. Fernando’s oversea trip to boost his campaign for the Secretary-General of the UN has emptied the budget of the Foreign Ministry. Besides, this budget is also used to pay the costs of journalists and officials accompanying the Prime Minister. The result is Sri Lanka has not paid the fees for UN membership. It has been given two years grace to pay the dues. (Sunday Island - December 28, 2003)

9. When Ranil's MP is accused of bribes Parliament questions the Bribery Commissioner

Palitha Ranga Bandara, UNP MP, is accused of bribery. The Bribery Commissioner, Piyasena Ranasinghe, begins investigations. The Parliamentary Privileges Committee then proceeds to summon the Bribery Commissioner to answer questions as to why Ranga Bandara is being investigated. R. K. W. Goonesekera, President of the Bar Association, says that the Bribery Commissioner has every right to investigate a bribery case, whether it involves an MP or not. He added that the independence of the Bribery Commissioner should not be compromised by Parliament.

Comment: Under Ranil’s regime when a legally appointed inquirer begins investigations against one of his MPs it is the inquirer who is asked to explain and not the MP. (Ceylon Daily News --January 1, 2004)

10 Ranil's politico takes bribes to smuggle people

A boat anchored about four miles off Iranawila was waiting to smuggle 160 people to Italy. That was its full capacity. But a UNF politico insisted on loading another 100 making it a dangerous voyage. What is more he took the money from the illicit immigrants and did not give it to the smugglers running the boat, said the Police investigating the case. (Ceylon Daily News --January 1, 2004)

11. Ranil's MP attacks public servant for not giving a ticket to a musical show

UNP MP, Lakshman Wijemanne and Western Provincial Councillor, Senaka Senanayake were summoned to appear before Matugama Magistrate, Mahinda Pinidiya, for assaulting the Bulathsinhala Divisional Secretary, P.D. Siriwardena who was hospitalized after the attack. The divisional secretaries of the Kalutara district kept away from work protesting against the thuggery of the UNP MP. (Daily Mirror -- December 26, 2003)

Also: The Bulathsinhala Divisional Secretary yesterday (January 14, 2004) filed a Fundamental Rights application in the Supreme Court claiming ten million rupees as compensation against a Kalutara District Parliamentarian, and a Provincial Councillor of the Western Province and several others who had allegedly assaulted him.

Petitioner Bulathsinhala Divisional Secretary Pahalage Don Siriwardana cited Lakshman Wijemanna MP, Western Provincial Councillor Senaka Samaranayake, V.N.J. Jayatissa, Ranjit Perera, IP K.S. Wijegunawardane, IGP, G. Priyanta Perera, Medical Officer Bulathsinhala Hospital, and the Attorney General as respondents.

Petitioner claimed that he had been responsible for the organisation of the education and commercial exhibition "Prabodha 2003," that was held during December 10 to 14. He stated on December 14, which was the final day of the exhibition, the Minister of Employment and Labor was the chief guest.

The petitioner alleged that the first respondent claiming that the petitioner had failed to provide them with seats at the musical show at mid night had verbally abused and assaulted him. Then the other respondents who were with him in the presence of the Police also attacked him.

The first respondent also prevented the Bulathsinhala OIC from taking the petitioner to the Bulathsinhala Hospital. Later, certain Samurdhi Officers had taken him to the hospital. (Ceylon Daily News -- January 15, 2004 )

12. Ranil's UNP retain kith and kin in plum jobs

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The recently ratified UNP code-of-conduct for its elected representatives did not contain an important recommendation to stop giving appointments to family members.

This recommendation was made by the Organization of Professional Association (OPA) in May last year.

The country’s largest professional association recommended that MPs should not employ or appoint family members or friends to any position in institutions under their purview.

It was perhaps the most important recommendation as it intended to prohibit politicians, particularly parliamentarians packing their personal staff and ministries, corporations, departments and other statutory bodies. Members of personal staff are entitled to full pension rights after just five years in office. Both UNF and PA politicians continue to give plum appointments to their relatives, friends and henchmen both here and abroad.

The recommendation was among the proposals that were discussed extensively with the UNP leadership. But, it was not included in the draft code unanimously ratified by the UNP Working Committee in early September last year.

A committee chaired by UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya entertained representations from the OPA, PAFFREL, the Congress of Religions and several other civil society organisations before the draft was placed before the Working Committee. Karu Jayasuriya committee included party chairman Malik Samarawickrema and General. Secretary Senarath Kapukotuwa.

The OPA’s recommendation that interference with public officials in the performance of their duties is an offence punishable under the law too had been dropped. "MPs like other citizens are subjected to the laws of the land and any breach of this provision by them shall be dealt with accordingly by the law enforcement officers and by parliament," the OPA recommended in its 8-page document made available to The Island.

Recently Bulathsinhala Divisional Secretary P.D.Siriwardena filed a fundamental rights case claiming damages from UNP Kalutara District MP Luxshman Wijamanne and several others including a UNP Western Provincial Councillor for attacking him at a recent public function. It was the latest in a series of attacks on public officials by UNP politicians over the past several months. (The Island -- January 17, 2004)

13. Ranil's UNP henchmen threaten Green activists

A group of persons identified as henchmen of UNP politicians on Wednesday threatened a representative of the Green Movement of Sri Lanka and a lawyer when they were visiting Makandura where the Wayamba Development Authority were planning to establish an industrial zone. The movement supports a public campaign against the proposed project, particularly on environmental grounds.

"They threatened us and ordered us to keep away from Makandura. They prevented us from leaving the proposed site for the industrial zone for over two hours," a Green Lanka official said, adding that they were forced to contact the Pannala police station."

"Goons followed us in a lorry. They were stopped by police at a check point near Maha Oya and we were allowed to get away," he said. "Police escorted us. But unfortunately no action was taken against the gangsters who threatened us. We pointed them to the police but they didn’t even question them," he said. ( The Island - January 9, 2004)

14. Ranil's bribe-taking minister sends investor home

A foreign investor pulled out after a minister (in the Ranil's UNF government) demanded a Rs. 30 million bribe to authorise a project to produce canned fish products, informed sources said.

The politician demanded 10 per cent of the total expenditure, the sources said. (Sunday Island -- January 11, 2004)

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