The Sunday Leader

Yet Another Swindlers’ List? Ali Baba And His…

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mervyn Silva, Keheliya Rambukwella, Douglas Devananda, Douglas Devananda, Sajin Vaas Gunewardena, Karuna and Rohitha Bogollagama

By R. Wijewardene

“Do not associate with evil companions. Do not seek the fellowship of the vile.  Associate with the good, seek the fellowship of noble men.”
— Dhammapada

It is often said that you can judge a man by the company he keeps and one of the most damning indictments against our incumbent President is that he keeps exceedingly poor company.

Mahinda Rajapaksa may well be one of the most charismatic and successful politicians in the country’s history – however he has, from the moment he assumed office, surrounded himself with ministers, followers, acolytes and stooges of very dubious repute.

Of course all Sri Lankan presidents without exception have at some level cultivated thugs and unsavory allies. However Rajapaksa’s associates have been so brazen with their criminality and corruption and have cultivated such a reputation for villainous excess that they have become a millstone around the administration’s neck, dragging down the popularity of what should, following the historic victory and various significant infrastructure development projects, be a very popular government.

And while Mahinda remains popular among the general public the same cannot be said of his allies, many of whom can be counted among the least popular political personalities in the country.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Mervyn

Of course any list of Mahinda’s unsavory acolytes must begin with our own Doctor Doom.

Already known for buffoonery and thuggery the Minister for Labour Relations became a figure of national ridicule when he was filmed assaulting and then being assaulted by staff of the Rupahavini Corporation.

The idea that a government Minister was locked in a room by staff incensed at his foul mouthed threats, is rather amusing and seems to confirm the nutty professor’s role as an effective court jester.

However the more sinister aspect of Mervyn’s character was revealed when those who had dared stand up to his abuse at Rupavahini were later subject to brutal and violent attacks.
Mervyn’s association with underworld figures is well documented and the maverick Minister appears to revel in fatuous displays of his influence and power. He is reported to have publicly claimed responsibility for the assassination of this newspaper’s Founder Editor. And has frequently made unveiled threats against those journalists, politicians and civil servants who have dared question the presence of a known thug in the heart of Sri Lanka’s political establishment.

And while he was once seen as something of an overblown clown most the island’s public now regard the Kelaniya king pin as a dangerous disgrace to the nation.

The fact that the President has not taken any steps to distance himself and his government from this man who revels in thuggery and flaunts his association with criminals appalls even the most ardent Mahinda supporter.

And Mervyn’s presence as a key part of Mahinda’s coterie is a serious deterrent, driving the neutral and undecided voters who will play a key part in deciding the outcome of this election, away from the Rajapaksa camp.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Karuna

But if Mervyn was the sole sinister element in Mahinda’s retinue most of the electorate would be happy to allow our President the indulgence of a single court jester.

However Mervyn is just one of a vast coterie of dubious acolytes and advisors.
No slouches in matters of thuggery and terror are messieurs Karuna and Pillayan. These esteemed former terrorists by their sudden/strategic defection played a vital part in the defeat of the LTTE.

However that they have been rewarded for their defection with an effective free hand to pillage and profit from the east; to threaten and terrorise its people and each other, is again deeply disconcerting.

The feuding between the two former allies means that violence, murders and abductions continue to plague the east.

A series of land grabs initiated by both the Pillayan and Karuna factions as they struggle to seize primary property throughout the east has fuelled an epidemic of corruption.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Rohitha Bogollagama

The frequently flying Foreign Minister is well known for taking his job a little too seriously. And as Foreign Minister has acquainted himself so thoroughly with things foreign that he spends remarkably little time in this paradise isle.

So keen is he on being abroad that he is now renowned for his lavish junkets and carting dozens of advisors and his own family members to every corner of the world in often fruitless quests to secure aid, trade, and also procure better suits for himself.

On a single official visit to Brazil, Bogollagama was reported to have spent five million rupees and slotted a family holiday in a luxury resort in Rio into his schedule.

Within the Foreign Ministry, the inimitable ‘Boggles’ has consistently overlooked career diplomats and ensured that Rajapaksa relatives and retired army officers occupy as many major diplomatic posts around the world as possible.

Unsurprisingly his eccentric appointments rendered him somewhat unpopular with old hands in the Foreign Ministry and a court case was filed questioning his appointments.

While Bogollagama must be given some of the credit for dealing with the pressure exerted by the ‘international community’ on the government in the last days of the war, in the minds of the electorate, Boggles is a symbol of government extravagance. And his presence in the cabinet is unlikely to do any electoral favours for Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Keheliya Rambukwella

The convivial Keheliya has become a stalwart of the regime. As Defence Spokesman Rambukwella has been the voice of the government, consistently, and often successfully, defending the regime’s military solution to the international media.

However the able Mr. K wears a number of hats within the government. And it is in his capacity as Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister that he was found to have committed a series of enormous frauds.

The Sunday Leader reported that Rambukwella presided over a particularly sinister fraud at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment where domestic workers seeking work in the Middle East were compelled to obtain fraudulent and expensive insurance from an unlicensed agent.

Rambukwella was also implicated in the abuse of resources at the state owned foreign employment agency. By appropriating vehicles and assets belonging to a public institution for use by his family and in his political campaigns Rambukwella would provide another example of this regime’s cardinal sin; the use of public assets as personal property. A policy that may provide short term gratification for ministers but has thus far proved unpopular with the public.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Douglas Devananda

Another government strong man with a terrifying past.
Now firmly in the government fold, in his day Douglas was a fearsome anti government insurgent who had no compunctions about ordering and participating in the elimination of policemen and soldiers.

While all that maybe in the past, Devananda’s paramilitaries still cast a shadow over Jaffna. And the EPDP’s, reportedly, still armed cadres have been accused by rival political parties of engaging in open thuggery and extortion. And Douglas is reputed to run his strong hold; the Jaffna Islands like a private feudal fife.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for Sajin Vaas Gunawardena

The man behind the absolute and unacceptable farce that is Mihin Air.

A vote for Mahinda is a vote for S.B. Dissanayake

A man who’s sons are known to have run amok with the protection of their father and a man who has faced repeated allegations of corruption. While he has successfully rebuffed the serious allegation that he misappropriated millions of rupees worth of Samurdhi funds he has been less successful in cultivating an image as an honest politician.

And his penchant for pole vaulting across this county’s political divide or crossing over hasn’t helped him establish an image as a man of principle.

A rousing orator and veteran campaigner with a genuine power base in Kandy, SB has of course been affiliated with every side in the country’s political game. But while he only recently rejoined the Mahinda camp, in doing so he may have given the UNP a definite edge in the current corruption related mudslinging contest.

With SB now locked in the SLFP’s embrace, UNP supporters are able to claim that the party’s years in the wilderness have cleansed it of corrupt and wayward elements allowing it to present a clean slate to the public.

While such claims may rather stretch the truth, there is something disconcerting about the prospect of a Rajapaksa administration with SB as prime minister. The potential for corruption seems staggering even by Sri Lankan standards.

Not that anyone believes that a UNP or rather joint opposition government will be significantly less corrupt in the long term. However this government by being in absolute power for five years has been able to put into place such an exhaustive mechanism for corruption that you can’t help but fear the future, six more years of Rajapaksa rule will bring.

Ultimately, this government has been able to stuff every relevant agency with its cronies meaning that the infrastructure is now in place to bleed the country dry. The UNP which has been struggling in the wilderness for decades will take time to implement as high a degree of institutional corruption.

And so at least in the case of corruption a vote for Sarath Fonseka is perhaps the best of our bad options if only because the UNP after years in opposition is lagging behind in the corruption race.

30 Comments for “Yet Another Swindlers’ List? Ali Baba And His…”

  1. CJ

    A vote for Fonseka is a Vote for EELAM. Wake up sunday leader., it’s time to end your Eelam dream . The people of Sri Lanka will teach you Eelam sympathizers a good lesson on the 26th.

    • Dinesh

      The Vote for Mahinda is vote for KP – Now EELAM is gone.

    • mervyn SILVA

      i thought im the only “GONA”. but CJ is a real GONA.doesnt he know we have karuna,KP & others with us, idiot. we also EELAM. we also want tamil vote. dont be BOORUWA , ok CJ :)

      • Lanka Epuwath

        Ado Mervyn…is it true that U have already bought air tickets to Dubai for you and the family including your rowdy sons? Pissu yaka, umba saramak andagena kumbura palayang.

    • Sandman

      cj : u better wake up from yr wild dream !!!! dont u see karuna, pillayan beside u in your bed ? Yes surely the people of this country will teach people like u and the people whom u seem to support a lesson of their life. If Lankans are mature and politically literate like they pride themselves to be. They would know what is good for them and their future and the future of this country of ours. The present corruption, nepotism and family bandyism has to be thrown out, it would spell total disaster for years to come, if this regime is allowed to continue even after 26 January. Let us see if we would be stupid as we all seem to be !

    • Sinchoappu from Galle

      you should follow the news articles appreared before too to come a conclusion of this sort. How come you say that vote for SF is a Vote for Eelam. There will not be Eelam since the war against Ltte is defeated. People those who really want to see their future generations to live like a country Singpore, will surely think twice before going to give their votes to MR+ family this time. People of the country is said to have the highest literacy rates in the regions. So this time, they will surely decide thinking thieir future, reduction of corruption ( now everyon 10 year old could see how they have abused the funds donated to all lost tsunami victims) and after all wanting to see the country´s ecnomic developments. One who is trying to make use of credit that all defence forces deserves should be driven away from governance. When also considering the facts about the allegations to have abused state properties to a manner as no other leader has done before, should not be the country´s nation´s leader further. Why there are no provable articles written about their sorta known corruptions can be the best example to feel the any one who could be a right thinking one, to feel that the governance under MR + is insincere and using all sorta powers to stay further in power. Masses who suffer struggling for survival in the sky rockted cost of living conditions, will never elect MR again.

    • pinky

      Because JVP is with Fonseka, they will never allow Fonseka to help LTTE to build an EELAM. Therefore, you do not have to worry.

  2. Sarath Lakbima

    Voters in Sri Lanka should read this article very carefully. We all agree that MR should be commended for eradicating terrorism from our soil. He and his team followed their dream and made it happen. No one can ever take this away from MR. But during this period, lots of irregular things happened that were ‘just not done’ and totally inappropriate. He has take full responsibility for this. First of all, the ridiculous diplomatic appointments made round the world were just downright astonishing. Take for instance stragglers like Walter J who was moved to the Sri Lanka High Commission in the U.K., Bandula J who got an appointment in Toronto, Hemantha W who had a good holiday in Italy, Jaliya W who is screwing up big time in Washington DC, Chandrapala Liyange who is also making big money from “Api Wenuwen Api” fund in Italy and the list goes on and on. And what Minister Bogols intended son-in-law’s appt to the US Embassy in Washington DC and his sister-in-law Jayathri Samarakone (sister of his wife Deepthi) and many many other silly, meaningless diplomatic appointments that does not make any sense any way you look at it. What did president and the the foreign minister think when they were making these appointments? “Gonata Andanawa” is a phrase used in one of the articles alluding to this atrocious situation. Actually Bogols and Rajapksas were trying to intimate the people by infusing terror that anyone talking out of turn will be dealt with physically by white van buffoons. People named above too adopted the same attitude in their missions abroad. In fact the Toronto Consul General has openly threatened many Tamils saying that he will ensure that they do not enter Sri Lanka ever again as his government will deal with them severely. This is an absolute fact and not fiction. And what about Kohona and Ksenuka? They were appointed to highly important posts just about three months back and now they are been treated like royalty in Sri Lanka and given paid vacation. And mind you, they are paid in Sri Lanka and will receive their ambassadorial salaries in foreign currency too. MR and Bogols and their forty thieves have broken all standards and rules of decency and protocol. For a developing country these people are behaving like Obama and the affluent western nations. Come off it, little people you politicians should only be seen and not heard in international corridors. Don’t take your job very seriously as you are all downright “frauds”.

    • Sinchoappu from Galle

      I really appreciate your comments here. Those who live eyes open to the things that are going on with our ministers under MR while leaving the poor masses of the country who are the majority in sl letting to struggle to surivive being unable to face it – having even no daily meals. All the collosal amounts of funds that have been abused under his governance could have better been used for pay hikes of public sector workers and fultfiled several other issues that should be addressed without delay. AsPERSONALLY known to me very recently, one srilanken group from the govt, who were sent to represent srilanken ayurevidic cooperation in Berlin were not to be found on the very second day of the session to which govt of srilanka had spent 1 million rupees for their entire luxuary tour. When asked where they had been was answered – travelled to see paris on the costs of tax payers funds. Nobody would report about these things, even if you pass it further to president would do nothing since he himself behaves mostly not second to any others in his bunch. Sure, MR has undoubtedly good policies like he did not want international communities to interfere in country´s alarming problem – fighting for LTTE terrorism, but he has also other facets, totally different from his good sides. As no other leader has carried out, he is said to have appointed some 300 relatives to the position that highly educated interllectuals should represent the country. One very good example is – today´ambassador to the US. By qualification he is just a former tea taster. How come people of this grade to have appointed as country´s ambassdor for a country where English is the medium of conversation. Every little boy would raise the q , by just listenning to his interviews, he could not even understand the querries properly that were being raised in his relevant interviews. So where have we been ? why do the interllecutals of the country who could better pass their say.. keep silent today ? Mervin silva is a thug and as every conscious citizen human being can see it by listening to his interviews and seeing his deeds. The sinhalese slang that he is used to use on TV sessions and even any interviews given are not even used by polite street dwellers from Pettah today. I really cant understand why MR administraton protect him further. What does MR say when asked abut why he defends M silva – on this topic, I have nt read any thing sofar. Mervin even sings songs against anyone publicly. Nobody in the MR´s team would go against him. Even GL peris who was once a law professor for lanken Uni has not expressed anything related to any crisis in which Mervin had invovlved in: Situation in our home land is alarming. It is too much to expect any leader to eliminate corruptions in sl, but any good leader with a better disipline can reduce all forms of corruption in the country, by solely focuing on the matter today than never before.

  3. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    SriLanka Foreign Service must consists of Professional Diplomats such as UK,USA and CANADA. This regime of MR ruined the FS using Highly Politically Motivated persons forgeting the value of our qualified Foreign Servents.
    EVERY PROFESSION IS A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE LAITY-GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
    P.L.J.B.Palipana,P.Eng
    SURREY,BC,CANADA

    • Sarath Lakbima

      I agree Mr. Palipana. But the Foreign Minister is not a professional as he has not acted like one who knows what he is doing when it comes to appointing diplomats. How on earth can he appoint his sister-in-law Jayathri Samarakoon as High Commissioner to Singapore? How can he appoint journalists like Bandula Jayasekara and briefless lawyers like Hemantha Warnakula? This government just does not have any class at all. It is a reflection at the politicians at the top.

      • Sinchoappu from Galle

        It is just because his unbeatable talent to argue someone even if he himself practises dishonest way of life further. For me as a FM for slanka, slain srilanken interllectual, Kadirgamar was the best among the few lanka has ever produced. If he could not get banned the LTTE on western soils, it was impossible to win a war against LTTE. Unfortunately, people and even good sorta politicians in the country today would not even remind his great work, when discussing about the elemination of LTTE terror in the country. Sadly, our people forget things very easily.

  4. Citizen

    very true. a vote for MR is a vote for notorious Mervyn, SB, Boggles and others. you can see this allround even today in run upto elections. imagine how this would be after elections, when MR goes to pay gratitude for their ‘service’.

  5. Joseph

    What is the point of a govt. if it appoints the biggest underworld king pin as a minister?

    How low can a the govt stoop down to?

    How can the govt. even ask people to abide the law when a sub human, a crook, a national disgrace,an absolute thug surrounded and picutured and videoed with known killers is given the highest jobs in the country?

    Isn’t is surprising that all antigovt. murders, dissapearences, assaults go uninvestigated,and unpunished?

    What is the point of having a law enforcement if they can not catch a single culprit out of many many crimes?

    When do you ever hear about any govt. minister such as Mr Rambukwella ( as above) and many others being investigated or punished for plundering billions but what a paradox for a poor worker in the parliament being punished for stealing a bun from the canteen?

    What is the point of a govt. if it appoints many henchman and relatives who even do not have even basic GCSE’s to head institutions such as Air Lanka, Mihin air, Petrolium co orp, Lanka Logistics etc and giving the the green light to plunder these institutions?

    What credibility a govt. will have when they break all international norms to send culprits with forged documents???

    These are just the tip of the ice berg!

    Certainly Lanka deserves better!!!!!

  6. Dilrukshi

    It’s a toss between corruption and Eelam. If you vote for MR, the possibility of current corruption levels continuing for another six years is a factor.
    If you vote for SF, there definitely will be an Eelam within two years, whether you want it or not. It will be too late by then. No one’s cries will be heard. Only Praba’s laughter echoing in his grave will be heard all over the world! So, either way, there is no winning!

  7. nandasena

    Birds of a feather flock together. Please do not blame “the forty thieves for Mahnida’s behaviour!!! After all Mahinda is a born Ali baba!!! It is a matter of “like minded people” getting together to rob mother Lanka of freedom and wealth!!!

    SF is not going to give Ealam!!! He will follow the same path as his predecessors!!!! All his promises will go with the wind, once he is elected!!! He might even pretend not to recognise Sampanthan!!!!

    As for winning the dirty war, the credit goes to India and the indiscriminate killing of civilians and chemical warfare!!!!!!

    Very soon SL will vie for the last place in human rights, wealth, health and education among the nations of the world!!!!!

    • Dilrukshi

      Well, according to both SF and Ranil, SF is only the front man, kind of like a Mascot representing the UNP, JVP, TNP and other myriads of parties. If SF wins the elections, he has said that he will not be President (conversely, he has also said that he will not be a ceremonial President-we do not know which to believe), that he will aboslish the Presidency and make Ranil the Executive Prime Minister. That SF will head a deparment for curbing corruption! So, if SF is saying the truth, in actuality anyone who is voting for SF is only voting for Ranil to become the leader of the nation. I think people forget that part of it. It will be Ranil who will give the Eelam to the LTTE!

  8. ISMAEEL

    DURING ONE OF THE ELECTIONS IN THE FIFTIES,THERE WERE TWO
    “HENRY’S’ CONTESTING A SEAT IN THE SOUTH. THE “THE SLOGAN WAS OOTH HORA MOOTH HORA GAME HORATA CHANDE DEEPANG”
    THE “THE GAME HORA” DID WIN. THE REST IS HISTORY!!!!!

  9. jayathilaka

    vote for Mahinda is not only vote for this bunch of thieves and fraudsters but there is a long list. like the key figures of his alleys like Weerawansa ,Champika etc. who fleece public and lavishly spend public money as they want and one vote Mahainda means he or she approves all these kind of thuggery ,fleecing, etc etc. by his goons

  10. Perera

    There are some who wish to scare the gullible voters by pronouncing Separatism and Eelam, now that most Tamil parties are backing SF. LTTE and Separatists have been defeated according to MR. If they are still actively around, then MR is a liar. Who are still around are LTTE and Separatist sympathisers. They are not actively involved in terrorrism. They will get active and wage another wave of terrorism only if their genuine grievances are not addressed by providing a Political solution. While it is clear MR is unable to provide that solution (he had four years to do so but failed) SF has promised to address their grievances. It is NOT a promise to grant Eelam or a Separate State. Who in their right mind will ever believe that SF who nearly sacrificed his life to eliminate the LTTE will ever grant Eelam? For that matter no Sri Lankan Leader will ever grant Eelam. JR, Premadasa, DBW, CBK & RW all played their part in trying to find a political solution within a United Sri Lanka. They never agreed to grant Eelam. Any political solution will be within a United Sri Lanka. I agree, a vote for MR will be a vote for the continuation of the current bad governance, anarchy and mayhem. A vote for SF will be a vote for CHANGE and for a brighter tomorrow for ALL Sri Lankans. Please do not be misled by those who wish to bring up Eelam, Separatism and Buddhist Extremism (Racism) in the guise of perpetuating a most corrupt regime.

  11. suren

    A vote for MR is a vote for unlimited corruption and unlimited thuggery so go ahead guys and gals do what you think YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES DESERVE !

  12. Laura

    Dear all ,

    Surely mother Lanaka deserves HONEST CREDIBLE LEADERS !
    Where have all the GOOD MEN GONE ?

  13. ROY(UK)

    Talking about the swindlers list,Number 2 Mervin Silva was singing a song on natinal TV against General Sarath Fonseka.
    I was appalled to see some poor spectators clapping for that horrble song.I wonder how on earth can they be fooled by these thugs.I assume that these people are bought over to dance to their tune,The main factor is these poor people do not understand that these thugs are drinking their blood.They do not have a proper meal a day,where as these politicians are absorbing all what is owed to them.We are still in the medieval times there is no one to educate them.If Rajapakse and co win another term ,We will not get much from other countries,and thus the poor people will be the losers again.
    I strongly favour a regime change , and hope that Fonseka can sort out the corruption and send good ambassedors all over the world make good friends and make MOTHER SRILANKA a prosperous country.I wish the General all the best and conclude with a salute.

  14. Sydney Night

    Mahinda, do not fool the nation for ever advertising about the success in eradicating terror in the North. The victory belongs to the fallen soldiers and to their beloved once. The rest made enough fortune during the war in the North.

  15. Pleasant

    Having studied all political parties, I do not think anyone will give elam to Tamils or any other race. All these problems are due to the fact that all citizens are not treated equally If everyone is treated fairly without discriminating due to race,and religion no one will even dream of demanding a seperate area. Demands arise when people feel injustice. Fundemental system should change to give equal opportunities to every citizen.

  16. My Theory is a rogue will support a rogue, a personel experience of mine was
    when i was working in Beirut Mahinda Rajapakse was then minister of labour
    at that time , we srilankans had grievences with the consulate who was a leban ese national who was a fraud & a crook we srilankans made numourous complain to the relevent srilankan authorities which fell on deaf years,in one occassion Ranjan Ramanayake visited Beirut & promised to take this issue
    with the authourities,after a lapse Mahinda & Alavi Moulana arrived to look in to the alleged consulate who was charging high price for passport renewal
    with so many unknown charges to our srilankans, we srilankans were assembled in a church to meet our minister of labour at an appointed time
    9.AM but he never turned up at the scheduled time, we srilankans waited in
    hot sun for nearly 3 hours pouring with sweat, finally he arrived with the rogue consulate (Ellie Sader) with police escort and Mahinda & Alavi moulana
    was in a hurry he just gave a speech didnt have time to accept our complain
    he was in a rush to leave. one of the boys got angry at Mahinda & posed a
    question at him , what bribe he got from this rogue consulate their was a heated argument suddenly the Lebanese policemen unmercifully assaulted
    our Srilankan boy on the instigation of the consulate M.R. enjoyed the assault & stood by (a Real patriot should have prevented the assault).Mahinda completely sided & defended the rogue consulate later we understood Mahinda & Alavi Moulana was well treated with gala extravaganza party from
    the time of their arrival(with the oldest profession) etc etc & that Cosulate continued for atleast another 3 or 4 yrs by the time I returned to my country
    in disgust.

  17. supper girl

    today every thing is gone to dogs ,no point in living ,mr is going to live like a king,we have to ask him even to put a bra what a king

  18. dagobert

    supper girl………….

    You are totally Wrong………….
    It should be dogs have come into everything.

    lal wicks would agree.

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