Dubious Deniyaya Acquisition

The ‘palace’ at the Nathagala Estate in Bevaraliya, Deniyaya

The ‘palace’ at the Nathagala Estate in Bevaraliya, Deniyaya

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The  controversy surrounding the land belonging to the Rajapaksa family in Bevaraliya, Deniyaya has deepened, with the doubtful acquisition of the land by members of the First Family in 2007 following an illegal amendment introduced to a statutory declaration made under the Land Reforms Act of 1972.

Records at the Kotapola Land Registry show a land extent of 45 acres 2 roods and 32 perches under Lot No. 707

Records at the Kotapola Land Registry show a land extent of 45 acres 2 roods and 32 perches under Lot No. 707

The Bevaraliya land owned by the Rajapaksas first came to light with the revelation of a palace being built using state resources for the Rajapaksa family.

The Nathagala Estate in Bevaraliya, Deniyaya is owned by Vichithra Sheeladarie Rajapaksa of 26A, Pangiriwatte Mawatha, Mirihana, Nugegoda, Chandrani Preethi Chandradasa of 1/4, Nanda Mawatha, Nugegoda and Himal Lalindra Hettiarachchi of 175/2, Old Kottawa Road, Mirihana, Nugegoda.

The Gazette issued on July 6, 2007, which introduced amendments to the statutory declarations

The Gazette issued on July 6, 2007, which introduced amendments to the statutory declarations

The  extent of the land owned by these Rajapaksa family members, according to the transfer deed executed by Notary Public Anura Jayasinghe of Tangalle on August 27, 2007 is 39 acres, 3 roods and 29 perches, and includes Lots Nos. 707A, 707B, 707C, 177P, 177Q and 177R.

However, doubts on the legality of the Rajapaksas’ ownership of the Bevaraliya land, especially in relation to the extent of the land, has now surfaced for several reasons.

A close look at the amendment introduced to a statutory declaration made in accordance to the Land Reforms Act of 1972, and records of the respective land at the Land Registry, have revealed many loopholes that have either been ignored or unwittingly overlooked by the Rajapaksa family when acquiring the land.

The original statutory declaration made on May 8, 1975 by Dayananda Ratnayake about Lot No. 707

The original statutory declaration made on May 8, 1975 by Dayananda Ratnayake about Lot No. 707

Legal sources told The Sunday Leader that there was no legal provision to amend a statutory declaration. The Gazette Extraordinary issued on July 6, 2007 in Part III under the Land Reform Commission Notices has amended two statutory declarations, made under the Land Reform Act of 1972.

The first amendment in the Gazette is introduced to the statutory declaration No. 970 published under Section 19 of the Land Reform Act No 1 of 1972.

The original declaration made on May 8, 1975 by one Dayananda Ratnayake of No. 83, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7 states that an undivided extent of 22 acres, 3 roods and 34 perches from an allotment of land is marked as Lot No. 707 of the land called Nathagala, Beligallana A Division.

The amended schedule to replace the original declaration issued on July 6, 2007 states that an undivided extent of 19 acres 3 roods and 34.5 perches are from an allotment of Lots Nos. 707A, 707B, 707C, 177P, 177Q and 177R of the land called the Nathagala portion of Vilee group watta.

The same Gazette notification has informed of an amendment to the statutory declaration No. 1895 published under Land Reform Act No.1 of 1972 made on March 17, 1976.

The amendment to the declaration states that an undivided extent of 19 acres 3 roods and 34.5 perches are from an allotment of Lot Nos. 707A, 707B, 707C, 177P, 177Q and 177R of the land called the Nathagala portion of Vilee Group Watta.

Interestingly, the two amendments introduced to the statutory declarations in the July 6, 2007 Gazette are one and the same, apart from the fact that there is no legal provision to amend a statutory declaration.

The Gazette was issued a little more than a month prior to the Rajapaksas acquiring the Nathagala Estate in Bevaraliya, consisting of lands from Lot Nos. 707 and 177 in August 2007.

One Dayananda Ratnayake owns the land marked as Lot No. 707.

Records at the Land Registry state the owners of the land to be Dayananda Ratnayake from Rajagiriya, Don Dharmapala Ratnayake residing in the UK and Manjula Alahakoon (nee Weerasekera) in Colombo.

Records at the Land Registry in Kotapola show that the Ratnayakes have owned the land Lot No. 707 since the late 1960s.

Of the Lot No. 707, three sub lots – 707A, 707B and 707C – were transferred to the Rajapaksas in August 2007.

The Kotapola Land Registry does not have any records of Lot No. 177 being owned by the Ratnayakes.
However, the transfer deed states that the Ratnayakes owned the total land extent purchased by the Rajapaksas.

When inquiries were made about the situation, senior lawyers told The Sunday Leader that the amendments to the statutory declarations made in 1975 and 1976 may have been brought in to include Lots 177, which were not included in the original declaration.

Although there are clear records about the land ownership of Lot No. 707, the identity of the owner of Lot No. 177 remains elusive.

The fact that the Rajapaksa family members have acquired lots 707A, 707B and 707C indicates that they have received only part of the total 707 Lot owned by the Ratnayakes. The entire land extent of Lot No. 707 is 45 acres 2 roods and 32 perches according to the Land Registry.

Therefore the 39 acre 3 rood and 29 perch land acquired by the Rajapaksas includes three sub lots of 707 owned by Ratnayake and three sub lots of 177, of which the original ownership remain elusive.

There are no records of the land marked Lot No. 177 being connected to Lot No. 707 until 2007.

Lot No. 177 first figures in the Gazette notification of July 6, 2007 where amendments were introduced to statutory declarations include the said lot among the land owned by the Ratnayakes.

As pointed out by the legal experts, through the amendment, the land marked as Lot No. 177 has been included in the Ratnayakes’ land in order to brush aside any suspicion on the manner in which the land has been acquired by the Rajapaksas.

The records at the Land Registry, the amendments introduced through Gazette and the elusive ownership of the land marked Lot No. 177 have raised doubts over the legality in the land acquisition by the Rajapaksas.

32 Comments for “Dubious Deniyaya Acquisition”

  1. vijay

    well said, joshua

  2. Fairose

    Give six more years to Rajapakse Family to become the landlords for half of country. We the people of country can gleefully work as peasants for this great patriotic family.

  3. d d alvis

    oh the jealousy. Do you know the Jobs/ work these ‘ Rajapakses’ do for a living? where did they get the money to pay for this land?

    god forbid, it might have been thorough a hard earned salary and legitimate business. Did this writer approach the Land owner and enquire as to how the land was acquired?

    This article would be legitimate if it had any balance or attempt at balance

  4. The king should have a palace to llive in luxury in retirement….With access for helicopter to land and swimming pools and cinema halls. This reminds me of the great wall of China wall which was built by state money and hundreds of state workers , But it serves all people of China and the whole world… diffrence is this is done with poor tax payers money and state land for the blood suckeds of Rajapakse family only. What a curse…

  5. Dont worry guys the family will do their best to be in power for the next six years. We, the peasants have only to grin and bear. Dont have any jealousy or bad feelings towards an industrious family like this family.

  6. Pumba

    This family is going to be the sleazeball of the 21st generation in Sri Lanka. How did they earn the money to buy all these? The money they pilfered is untouched and this is pure thievery. This family has found innovative ways to engage in nepotism, corruption, intimidations and killings so that nobody questions them. Sapawewa ape daruwanta ayithi ratei depala eka paulak unge ambettayan samamga kolakanawata.

  7. N Godakanda

    If one is impartial following needs answers>
    a) Does the Sunday Leader have an axe to grind against the Rajapakse family?
    b)Has the Sunday Leader investigated, by the use of its wide readership,who the elusive owner of plot 177 is and indeed, if such a plot physically exists?
    c) SL having surely contacted the Ratnayake’s,was there any explanation how they were able to transfer 177 to the Rajapakse’s if they did not own it.
    Unlike the responses so far which seem to be too ready to condemn the Rajapakse’s I reserve my judgement for another day.

    Whether or not an offence has been committed IS THIS NOT THE REASON ALL PUBLIC OFFICERS(not only politicians) MUST DECLARE THEIR ASSETS ANNUALLY SO THAT THEY CAN WARD OFF SUCH ALLEGATIONS.-AS AN ESSENTIAL STARTING POINT OF GETTING RID OF RAMPANT CORRUPTION STARTING FROM THE TOP?

    • bash

      To start with how many politician contesting this general election has declared their assets ??????? and the elections commissioner is helpless

  8. jayathilaka

    this is what Rajapaksh is doing under the cover of Excecutive presidency.And talks high of democracy.It is ashame as the top most leader and his family is robbing people’s money for their personel welfare.

  9. CW

    What about the palace in Hanguranketha? Have you investigated that. Mud slinging is not journalism.

  10. L.K WIMALACHANDRA

    Dear CW.
    Because of few puppets and bumpsuckers like you, this tiny island has become a paradise for all kind of political ba…trds . wheteher it is Hanguranketha, Deniyaya or else where it is the duty of public spirited individuals and institutes to disclose, divulge, condemn those illegal activities and it is our duty to do the needful at elections. This News paper has been doing it right through out.You the guys are real traitors should be hung before corrupt politicians.

  11. Calistus Jayatilleke

    No wonder so much secrecy in constructing this Palace, with some journalists being attacked and even the Police not entertaining their complaints. “Maga Neguma” has now become “Mage Neguma” for the King and his royal family members doing road construction for access to the Palace. At least when Dictators like Saddam Hussein built palaces all over the country, he was proud to show those off unlike this King who is doing everything in hiding. There should be a Presidential Commission to go into all these shady dealings to ascertain how these people became so rich overnight with the capability to construct palaces. Even that chap who was runniing cheap errands for the King (going “Kade”) has managed to construct a multi-storey palace in a Colombo suburb and in his case, it is one of the seven wonders how he managed to save so much money with even his salary as a MP going to the party as per JVP principles. Well, the man I am talking about is no other than “Gel Wimal Wihuluwansa” – in other words, the chief architect of the original Chinthanaya. These are people who cannot earn an honest living as they do not have a proper education, but know how to make money in shady deals. It is high time, the corrupt of the earth is swept off with a new administration and all their sordid deals exposed to the public, so that the public themselves can organise and kick them out of the country.

  12. Binda

    I dont see this house as a Palace. It is small compered to many houses in Colombo. How does Fonseka pays a milion a month as rent for his house? SO, I think this is not a big deal. There are many land disputes in Sri Lanka. This is common to many, not only for the president

  13. Randy Mathew

    First family , my foot. The way these people behave is third rate. The first family is called first family because they have to set an example to the people.
    I hope that the voters will make a wise decision by getting rid of this arrogant and corrupt dynasty.

  14. Not first family..more suitable will be the HORA FAMILY or even THE FAMILY OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY’S INTEREST.
    Rogues, Thieves and Obsessed with Greed and Power.
    Shame Shame that we have such a Peraytha (greedy Hora )Leader.

  15. Emmanuel Philip

    Oh why oh why do we need to build upstair houses when there is 30 acres of land to build on. Maybe senior Raja wants to climb the top floor and shout to the world that he is king of all he surveys..
    This show the wastful ways of the ruling family.

  16. We are idiots for even mentioning that the Horapakse to the likes of Dutugemunu.What a bloody insult toi the noble and great King of Dutugemunu.
    He did not cheat, thieve and allow himself and his family to rob and cheat.

  17. Randy Mathew

    Patriotism can be very profitable for our shameless Sri Lankan Politicians.

    • Aku

      Hey people, what do you expect from a Leader of a crazy Parliament made up of thugs, terrorists, kudu dealers??? Not to mention the robes that are a total DISGRACE to Buddhism?? We all know the clowns ruling us poor people.

      The Rajapakse’s are just way too thick skinned, but what the heck, if they lose, all these criminals are probably equipped with “Green Cards” ready to fly anyway…. but when us real people try…

      Dear Mahinder, (though you really don’t deserve the ‘dear’)I really hope you are ashamed of your self!!! You and your family should be truely ashamed… What an unfortunate country we became after you became President….

      All you did is finish the war, but that again to your profit, and not for Sri Lanka!!

      I thank you General Sarath Fonseka for helping us, Sri Lanka again, and also hope that you will be true to your word, abolish the executive Presidency and let Ranil go…..

      I hope you win Mr. Fonseka, and am looking forward to you doing justice to all the clowns in Parliament and to all parties involved.

      Hoping for better times… Cheers Sri Lanka…

  18. BK

    Hi Everybody.Jan 26th is the day we can change this thug.we will do it

  19. suren

    STOP COMPLAINING GUYS AND GALS, JUST USE YOUR BRAINS AND VOTE WISELY TO CHANGE THIS DANGEROUS TREND. ANOTHER 6 YEARS OF THIS ROT AND WE WOULD FEEL BAD THAT PRABHA WAS KILLED AFTER ALL !! READING SOME COMMENTS WE CAN SEE THAT SOME DON’T ‘SEE’ WHATS BEING SHOWN BY THE LEADER PAPERS AND THEIR ARTICLES. YOU CAN TAKE A DONKEY TO WATER BUT CANNOT MAKE IT DRINK !

    ONLY YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR DESTINY – VOTE WISELY !

    • bash

      they are planning to extend this presidency up to another 12 years after the general elections…….. FOOLISH SRI LANKAN MAJORITY, believing all what is said in the state media

  20. Thivanka

    Who cares. He allowed the Security Forces to get all resources and finally was able the Kill Prabakaran!!

    • bash

      now the brave commander is being court marshaled by officers junior to him….. while this family is amassing wealth

  21. Manula

    Better will do the investigation about how Chandrika get UK Mansios.. SF get Houses at America

  22. pinky

    we did not vote for these people

  23. R duminda Silva

    oka janathipathige nangige,,,,,,

  24. Che

    Some of the Illgotten gain stolen From the Golden Key Depositors may have been utilized.

  25. Citizen

    If this M.Rajapaksha remain as president for another few years,half of sri lanka become property of Rajapaksha family.Started with Helping Hambanthota and will continue to acquire entire land.

  26. Andiris

    I know few persons arch supporters of UNP acquired large lands with tea plantations situated in Deniyaya which were belonged to LRC. Rajapakshe family may have done the same thing. Poor Sri Lankans suffer.

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