Dushmanth Weeraman clinched the
top award at the Sirasa Dancing Star
competition held last Thursday night
at the BMICH. Picture shows
Dushmanth and his dancing partner
with the trophy immediately after it
President calls for PB's explanation
on LMSL deal
Lalith told to write to PB with copy of
SC ruled that PB acted to secure illegal
advantages to JKH
Judgement to be referred to Bribery
By Sonali Samarasinghe
President Mahinda Rajapakse has called for
Finance Ministry Secretary P.B.
Jayasundera's explanation on his culpability
in the Lanka Marine Services Limited (LMSL)
case following the Supreme Court judgement
The decision to call for Jayasundera's
explanation came in the backdrop of JVP
calls on the suitability of Jayasundera to
hold office as Treasury Secretary given the
Supreme Court judgement on his arbitrary,
biased and ultra vires conduct on the
privatisation deal for the benefit of one
A three member Supreme Court Bench
comprising Chief Justice Sarath Silva and
Justices R.A.N.G. Amaratunga and D.J. de S
Balapatabendi in a 69 page judgement on the
sale of shares of LMSL which was a wholly
owned company of the Ceylon Petroleum
Corporation to John Keells Holdings Limited
(JKH) passed serious strictures on
Jayasundera's role in the transaction and
directed him to pay Rs 500,000 as
compensation to the state.
The Supreme Court also ruled inter alia that
the land grant to JKH in terms of the
agreement and all agreements entered into
between the Board of Investment (BoI) and
LMSL are null and void.
The judgement was consequent to a
fundamental rights petition filed by
Presidential Advisor and Colombo Municipal
Council Member Vasudeva Nanayakkara.The
Sunday Leader learns, President Rajapakse
had directed Secretary Lalith Weeratunga on
Tuesday, July 22 to call for a copy of the
judgement and having studied it call for
Jayasundera's explanation on the specific
findings against him.
A top source at Temple Trees told The Sunday
Leader Weeratunga was directed to send a
copy of the judgement to Jayasundera
together with the letter calling for his
The Supreme Court in its judgement said,
"The findings of the judgement demonstrate
that the action of P.B. Jayasundera, eighth
respondent has not only been arbitrary and
ultra vires but also biased in favour of
John Keells Holdings Ltd. The allegation of
the Petitioner that he worked in collusion
with S. Ratnayake of John Keells to secure
illegal advantages to the latter, adverse to
the public interest is established."
The judgement further stated, "Jayasundera's
conduct in the matter of obtaining the
valuation is basically not authorised by the
cabinet, is characterised by inexplicable
haste, erratic, apparently designed to suit
his own objectives, contrary to all accepted
procedures and furthest removed from a
lawful exercise of power under the PERC Act
of tendering well considered advice and a
recommendation to the cabinet."
The Sunday Leader learns that steps are also
underway by a public interest group in terms
of the judgement to refer the matter to the
Bribery Commission for further action. It is
alleged that in terms of the Bribery Act,
causing loss to the state by an illegal act
falls into the category of corruption.
UNP to oppose stripping
CBK's civic rights on principle
The UNP has decided to oppose any move to
deprive former President Chandrika
Kumaratunga of her civic rights through
parliament on a matter of principle.
The decision to oppose moves to strip
Kumaratunga of her civic rights was taken at
a discussion of the party's political
affairs committee last week.
The Sunday Leader learns the issue was
mooted by Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe on the basis of a principle
established in 1998.It is learned, UNP MPs
Lakshman Seneviratne and Ravi Karunanayake
had said the party should not defend
Kumaratunga but the principle established in
1998 with which the committee had agreed.
Wickremesinghe had told the committee that
in 1998, when the PA Government introduced a
motion to nullify the civic disability
imposed on former Prime Minister Sirimavo
Bandaranaike, the then President, Chandrika
Kumaratunga had given an assurance that the
Special Presidential Commission law will not
be used in the future to deprive a person of
his or her civic rights and based on that
principle the UNP did not oppose the motion.
The UNP Leader pointed out that President
Mahinda Rajapakse as a minister of the PA
Government also supported that motion in
"It is that principle we want upheld and did
not participate in the debate on Mrs.
Bandaranaike's motion and state our case.
But if the President wants to now go back on
that accepted principle, then we must have
the right to place in parliament the issues
that led to his former leader, Sirimavo
Bandaranaike's civic rights as well in the
same debate," Wickremesinghe said.
Choksy won't budge for
UNP National List Member and former Finance
Minister K.N. Choksy has informed the party
he will not resign his seat for national
organiser S.B. Dissanayake.
The UNP Political Affairs Committee last
week requested Party Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe to ask Choksy to resign his
parliamentary seat for Dissanayake's
appointment to 'test' the member's right to
sit in parliament.
The Court of Appeal had in an earlier ruling
said Dissanayake faced civic disability due
to a Supreme Court conviction for contempt
in which he was sentenced to two years
It is learned President's Counsels, Choksy
and Tilak Marapone in separate opinions
given to the party months earlier had also
said Dissanayake suffered civic disability
due to the judgement and that his civic
rights would be restored only in December
The Sunday Leader learns Choksy had informed
Wickremesinghe on Thursday, July 24 that he
has no intention of resigning his seat for a
newcomer to the party like Dissanayake and
added he holds the seat in his own right due
to the long standing contribution to the
"I am the only national list MP who has not
crossed and is this the way the party shows
its appreciation," Choksy had asked an
embarrassed UNP Leader.
Choksy had also told Wickremesinghe he would
be leaving for India today (Sunday) and on
his return would come before the Political
Affairs Committee and explain why he cannot
resign his parliamentary seat as well as why
Dissanayake will be deprived of his civic
rights till December 2011.
The UNP Leader had earlier asked Dissanayake
to test the issue of his civic disability by
contesting the Sabaragamuwa Provincial
Council election as the party's chief
ministerial nominee but he had declined the
offer insisting on a parliamentary seat.
JVP defectors in secret
talks for return
The JVP is in secret talks with several
members of Wimal Weerawansa's National
Freedom Front (NFF) for their return to the
party fold The Sunday Leader learns.
It is learned two rounds of talks have been
held between the JVP leadership and the
disgruntled NFF members on the timing of
their return to the party.
Informed sources said the NFF members
decided to open negotiations with the JVP
after Weerawansa failed to deliver on the
promises made with regard to public office
and other benefits allegedly promised by the
It is learned Weerawansa's failure to get
the deputy speaker's post and chairmanship
of the Committee on Public Enterprises
(COPE) for NFF nominees from the government
were central to their discontent.
It is learned some members may return to the
JVP before the provincial polls scheduled
for August 23 if the negotiations are
Workers irked by use
of CEB property for electioneering
By Nirmala Kannangara
Violation of election guidelines by Power
and Energy Minister John Seneviratne has
come under severe criticism by the Ceylon
Electricity Board (CEB) employees, The
Sunday Leader learns.
The alleged misuse of public property by
Minister Seneviratne for election
campaigning in the North Central,
Sabaragamuwa and Central Provinces has irked
CEB employees according to the Lanka Viduli
Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS).
Seven CEB circuit bungalows in the
Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Central
Provinces have been taken over by Minister
Seneviratne for election campaign work,
while Power and Energy Ministry vehicles
have been deployed in the Ratnapura
District, the Minister's constituency, for
campaign work Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya
According to Convener, LVSS, Ranjan Jayalal,
the CEB employees on July 14 have spotted
two Ministry vehicles with the same
registration number plates at the Ministry
car park and had reported the matter to the
relevant departments for action but to no
"This is clear evidence as to how the newly
appointed Chairman, Committee on Public
Enterprise (COPE) is using official vehicles
for election campaign work and also using
two vehicles under the same registration
number which is a criminal offence. If
Minister Seneviratne who is also a lawyer by
profession violates the law of the land then
what could the country expect from him,"
According to Jayalal two circuit bungalows
in the North Central Province (NCP) -
Minneriya and Anuradhapura - and four
circuit bungalows in the Sabaragamuwa
Province (SP) - Balangoda, Pambahinna,
Samanalawewa and Udawalawe - and one from
the Central Province Kandy have been taken
over by the government till end August to
house party supporters for election work.
These bookings were made despite the
allegations levelled against Minister
Seneviratne for permitting the Ampara CEB
circuit bungalow to be used by party
supporters during the Eastern Provincial
Council elections, it is learnt
"In April Minister Seneviratne released the
Ampara circuit bungalow to the Defence
Ministry for one month waiving off Rs.1.59
million as rental. Notwithstanding the huge
loss incurred electrical engineer Batticaloa
has now estimated the damage to the bungalow
as Rs. 2 lakhs and Minister Seneviratne has
approved the renovation of the bungalow out
of CEB funds," alleged Jayalal.
According to Jayalal the circuit bungalows
have been released under Minister
Seneviratne's name while all prior bookings
made by the CEB employees were cancelled
"This is unfair by the employees as they
have booked these bungalows since the
beginning of the year to have a vacation
with their children during the school
holidays. Although the bookings have been
cancelled, the Ministry has refused to
refund the money to the employees and had
requested them to use the bungalow on a
later date," claimed Jayalal.
"According to Circular No: 2007/ GM/ 17/
Personnel, issued on November 5, 2007 by the
General Manager, payments have to be done
when the bookings are made and the dates
cannot be changed thereafter for any reason
- be it official or personal," Jayalal said.
According to Jayalal although permission has
been given for two adults and two children
less than 12 years to occupy a room, it had
been reported that more than 10 people are
occupying one room at these bungalows.
However when asked at to why CEB employees
were deprived of the use of the circuit
bungalows during the school vacation and
why they were given for election work in
violation of the Election Law, Acting
General Manager, CEB Badra Jayaweera told
The Sunday Leader that she did not want to
comment on the issue.
"I do not want to speak on this issue, you
can call the GM when he returns to the
country," said Jayaweera.
Customs takes action
to recover levy
By Nirmala Kannangara
The Sri Lanka Customs last week prevented
the State Bank of India from selling goods
worth Rs.15 million owned by a debtor due to
the non-payment of customs levy by the
latter, reliable sources told The Sunday
Metal Packaging and Printing Industries (Pvt)
Ltd, an Indian company had obtained a Rs.100
million loan facility from the State Bank of
India to start a BOI project in Seeduwa but
had closed down the business one year after
its inception defaulting the Sri Lanka
Customs The Sunday Leader learns.
Failing to follow the BOI guidelines the
State Bank of India (SBI) meanwhile had
attempted to sell the machinery and the
goods lying in the closed Indian factory
according to the sources.
"How could they sell the goods without
informing the Sri Lanka Customs? If the SBI
wanted to cover up their losses first they
had to go for an open tender and offer the
tender to the highest bidder. But it was
learnt that the bank has sold all the goods
and machinery to a local for a lesser amount
without settling the custom levy," alleged
According to the sources it is not only the
Indian company that has cheated the Sri
Lankan Customs but also the bank.
"However when we came to know that the bank
had already sold the goods to a local and
they were planning to remove them from the
Seeduwa factory premises on Saturday, July
19 we informed the Customs office and the
timely intervention of Customs Preventive
Officers prevented the SBI from removing the
goods and sealed the factory," claimed the
Meanwhile sources from the Sri Lanka Customs
Preventive Department told The Sunday Leader
that they had to seal the Seeduwa factory
since the SBI failed to produce the receipts
they have paid the customs duty.
"The SBI did not have the authority to sell
the goods to cover up their losses without
abiding by the BOI guidelines. However the
SBI officers promised to pay the customs
levy and produce the receipts to the
Preventive Department during the course of
this week. If they produce the documents
then we would give the bank the authority to
remove the goods," the sources further
K.C.Kamalasabayson PC Memorial Oration
The K.C.Kamalasabayson P.C. Memorial Oration
will take place on Friday, August 22. The
oration was originally intended to be
delivered on August 1, but was rescheduled
in view of the SAARC Summit taking place in
during that time. The venue and time will
remain the same.
Euro delegation fails to
By Arthur Wamanan
The delegation of European Parliamentarians
had to forego a meeting with Eastern
Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai
Chandrakanthan following security issues.
The delegation headed by Robert Evans told
the media last Friday that it was a mystery
to them that they were not allowed to fly to
Trincomalee, which was the main purpose of
Evans stated that everything was in order
for them to fly to Trincomalee but added
they were told that they would not be able
to go to the airport.
The delegation had planned to meet Chief
Minister Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan
during the visit.
"The last minute cancellation and a
catalogue of chaos and confusion meant that
the delegation did not fly to Trincomalee.
Despite repeated assurances, endless
complications resulted in the party being
turned back from Ratmalana Airport,
destroying months of preparation, time and
expense," the Members of the European
Parliament (MEP) in a statement said.
The MEP also said that though the TMVP had
joined the democratic mainstream, they were
also reported to be recruiting child
The MEP expressed concerns over "the lack of
a timetable for weapons decommissioning."
The delegation was in
from July 20 to 25.
More school buses to ease traffic congestion
By Shezna Shums
The National Transport Commission is to
expand its school bus services to
accommodate more children from schools
around the island.
The government has taken this decision in
order to gradually reduce the number of
private vehicles and school vans on the
roads and ease traffic congestion.
Chairman, NTC, Professor Amal Kumarage told
The Sunday Leader that the school bus
service was started in 2005 and had a total
of 384 buses transporting students.
But by the end of this December the NTC
hopes to strengthen the service by adding
550 more buses. Eventually the NTC hopes to
have a total of 1000 buses in use
exclusively for school children.
These buses cover all provinces around the
island and there is a demand from 4000
schools for this bus service. Over 50
percent of the school buses operate within
Colombo while the rest operate outside of
the Western Province.
"Only school children and teachers will be
allowed in these buses. One parent per
primary school child will also be allowed to
travel in these buses, but that too will be
at the discretion of the relevant school,"
said Prof. Kumarage.
The demand for a school bus service comes
not only from government schools, but
private and international schools as well.
"With this service we hope to reduce the
school traffic as well as private vehicles
transporting school children," Prof.
The fares charged for this school bus
service will be half the normal bus fare.
For a child over the age of 12, the school
bus fare will be half the normal bus fare
on the same route.
In the case of a child below the age of 12,
the school bus fare will be half the
discounted bus fare applicable to those over
"So for children below 12 the fare will be
half of the half rate bus fare," explained
A free seat will be allocated in the bus for
one child as well as one teacher who will be
responsible for the children in the bus.
FM blasts EU team for critical comments
government yesterday charged that the
visiting EU delegation is basing its
critical assessment of the government’s
human rights record on the viewpoints of a
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said
that if they had wanted to judge the ground
reality fairly, the EU group should not have
“confined themselves to a few of those in
Colombo” and formed their statement based on
people who “may have some agendas to
He further charged that the EU’s press
statement on Friday regarding the
delegation’s cancelled visit to Trincomalee
was “contrary to what happened.”
“This was their own creation,” said
The Minister said that the EU had turned
down the request to be flown to visit
Eastern Province Chief Minister
Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan
in an Air Force craft and had “insisted” on
bringing down a private aircraft from
He said that on the EU’s behalf, the Defence
Ministry had to lobby the Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA) to expedite all the
necessary clearances for a foreign aircraft
to operate in Sri Lanka, but that the
process was further confounded by the
failings of the chartered air crew.
On the day of the flight, the aircrew had
failed to comply with certain regulations,
leading the CAA to deny permission for the
flight, Bogollagama further said.
“Even at that stage they could have used one
of our aircraft but they chose to leave the
airport,” he continued.
Foreign Secretary, Palitha Kohona also added
that after the delegation left the airport
at 1 pm, the Foreign and Defence Ministries
had managed to arrange the necessary
clearances to enable the flight.
“If they are serious they must try to be
serious,” the Foreign Minister charged.
He also denied reports that the government
was moving to cease hostilities with the
LTTE. “No decision has been taken by the
government towards a ceasefire, unilateral
or otherwise,” he asserted.
The Minister further said that security at
the SAARC summit “must be ultimate,” not
just good. “You cannot take any chances with
Bogollagama also claimed that the massive
‘entertainment’ expenditure bill chastised
by the UNP in parliament was not for the
consumption of the ministry or visiting
delegations, but primarily to feed and
entertain the 12,000 police officers in
Colombo during the summit.
accuses Buddhadasa’s goons of assault
JVP members of the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha
have been allegedly assaulted by a group of
thugs associated with the Pradeshiya Sabha
(PS) Chairman G.H. Buddhadasa.
JVP sources told The Sunday Leader
that the party members in the PS were
assaulted allegedly by UPFA supporters
because they objected to a request to make a
special statement by Kaduwela PS member
Prabath Dharshana, who defected from the JVP
to join Wimal Weerawansa’s faction.
The Kaduwela PS had convened on Friday (25)
at 9.30 a.m. and during the sessions; the
four JVP members in the PS had supported a
motion moved by Deputy PS Chairman, Jagath
Kumara to object the involvement of a
Kaduwela PS member in the distribution of
liquor and narcotics in the Kaduwela area.
“The motion was moved against Buddhadasa.
When the motion was taken up, over 150 of
his thugs were in the gallery watching
everyone who spoke in favor of the motion,”
a JVP source said.
Former JVP member Dharshana had then
requested time to make a special statement
and the JVP members in the PS had objected
saying he had no right to make such a
statement. The governing UPFA members had
then opposed the statement of the JVP
Following a heated argument between the JVP
members and the UPFA members, several
members had attempted to assault each other.
However, the incident was settled and the
session had continued. “The statement
Dharshana intended to make was going to be
against the JVP and the UPFA members wanted
it made. That was why they created a
disturbance,” the JVP source said.
At the conclusion of the PS sessions at 2.30
p.m., a group of about 150 thugs had
allegedly arrived at the ground floor and
assaulted the JVP members, who were about to
leave the premises.
According to the JVP source, JVP PS member
Asitha Niroshana was badly assaulted and his
travel bag was also taken by the thugs.
Niroshana is currently being treated at the
Colombo National Hospital. JVP PS member
Gamini Sarath Kumara had lodged a complaint
regarding the incident with the Nawagamuwa
Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera
told The Sunday Leader that the
police has so far not made any arrests with
regard to the incident.
He said that the Nawagamuwa police was
still conducting the inquiries and that
the JVP council member receiving treatment
in hospital had said he was able to
identify two people who involved in the
alleged assault. “The police is now making
arrangements for the member to identify
the suspects,” SSP Gunasekera said.
movement of motor traffic is to be
restricted in several areas today (27), the
police has said.
Motor traffic movement will be restricted
from the Galle Face Roundabout to the BMICH
and the New Parliament Road from 9 a.m. to
12 noon today in view of the SAARC summit.
According to the police, vehicle movement
will also be restricted along the Colombo-Katunayake
road between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today.
Wadigamangawa joins the government
Leader, North Western Provincial Council
Asoka Wadigamangawa had reportedly crossed
over to the government after holding
discussions with President Mahinda Rajapakse
SRK declines invitation
superstar Shah Rukh Khan has turned down
an invitation to take part in a cultural
event organised for the 15th SAARC summit
in Colombo citing security concerns.
Kilinochchi District Secretariat official
dies in claymore attack
Deputy Director Planning of the Pooneryn
Division, and a Development Officer in the
Kilinochchi District Secretariat was killed
last Friday due to a claymore attack in
The victim, Santhalingam Vimalakumar (33)
was on his way to Vavuniya on an official
engagement when he came under attack.
Vimalakumar was the president of the
organisation serving the needs of government
officials without land in the Kilinochchi
The attack on the government official in the
LTTE-controlled area is the first incident
since the LTTE had announced a unilateral
ceasefire last Monday in view of the
upcoming SAARC Summit.
Nagalingam Nanthakumar, Divisional Secretary
of Thunukkai division of Mullaithivu
District was killed in a similar attack
while travelling to his office last month.
Pro Tiger websites stated that the attack
was carried out by the Deep Penetration Unit
of the Sri Lanka Army.
The military has in the past denied such
allegations and has held the Tigers
responsible for attacks within its
IOM helps SL fishermen
The International Organisation for Migration
(IOM) has helped six Sri Lankan fishermen
stranded at the port of Al Quseir on Egypt's
Red Sea coast to return to Sri Lanka. The
fishermen returned to the island earlier
The group, which left
west coast in March, drifted into Egyptian
waters when their boat developed technical
At Al Quseir they struggled without proper
food and medicine, and had no means of
getting home. The Sri Lankan Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and the Sri Lankan Mission
Cairo then contacted IOM for help.
IOM provided medical screening and then
arranged their return to Sri Lanka.
Less private busses next week
By Risidra Mendis
Private bus owners have expressed their
concern over the losses they would incur
during the SAARC Summit in
Private bus owners are considering reducing
the number of buses in operation if there
is a decrease in the number of commuters
during the SAARC meeting period.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader President,
PBOA, Gemunu Wijeratne said the government
had given them the assurance that there
would be no interruption to the bus service.
"There will be no interruption to buses
entering Fort and buses plying from Fort to
and Matara among other destinations,"
He added that the Transport Ministry has
assured them that during the period of the
summit alternate routes will be introduced
for all buses. "Private bus owners will
suffer a revenue loss, as there will be a
reduction in passengers due to the closure
of many offices and shops in the city,"