The Sunday Leader

How Rajapaksa Played Santa Claus With State Funds

  • Presidential Secretariat spent billions of rupees for hiring luxury vehicles for ex-President’s friends, family and cronies

by Nirmala Kannangara

Following last week’s expose titled ‘Weerawansa Family and Friends’ Joyride at State Expense’  shocking revelations have now come to light as to how the Presidential Secretariat under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa spent several millions of rupees to lease luxury vehicles for those who were near and dear to him.

Similar to how the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) under Wimal Weerawansa hired vehicles without following government tender procedure, the Presidential Secretariat under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa too had hired vehicles from parties known to them without following tender procedure. Amongst the beneficiaries of these vehicles were former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the Youth Affairs Unit which is alleged to be the arm of Namal Rajapaksa’s Nil Balakaya, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s younger brother Chandra Rajapaksa, brother-in law Dr. Lalith Chandradasa and nephews Malaka Chandradasa and Himal Hettiarachchi.

Apart from the immediate family members, certain parliamentarians, temples, Rajapaksa’s party offices in the Hambantota district, close relatives and even the National Freedom Front (NFF) of Wimal Weerawansa have benefitted from the Presidential Secretariat.

According to the vehicle lease report The Sunday Leader is in possession of, five motor cars bearing registration numbers KM 8583, KP 2383, KR 5382, KP 2382 and GY 9384 were leased on November one, 2013, January one, 2014, November one, 2013, October 24, 2014 and May one, 2014 for close relatives to the tune of Rs. 50, 000, Rs.45,000, Rs.120,000, Rs.50,000 and Rs.50,000 per month respectively.

 

 Relatives get Vehicles

Meanwhile a relative of Weerawansa had been given a Montero Sport bearing registration number KT 5335 which was leased for Rs.150,000 per month while five NFF members were given a Toyota Allion 240, double cab, a Navara cab a  double cab, a Toyota Allion 260 and Toyota Premio respectively. These vehicles bearing numbers KO 1375, PB 0645, PE 6432, JP 4312, KO 9480 and KO 9416 were leased for Rs.80,000, Rs.120,000, Rs.120,000, Rs.120,000, Rs.80,000 and Rs.80,000 per month respectively.

Although Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the then Defence Secretary used a fleet of Defence Ministry vehicles, he was allegedly allocated five Defender Jeeps and a High-Security vehicle from the Presidential Secretariat. The former Defence Secretary was given a Range Rover High – Security Jeep bearing registration number KC-8511 and five Defender Jeeps bearing registration numbers WPKX-2439, WPKX-2352, WPKX- 2440, WPKX- 2415 and WPKX- 2454.

“What made the Presidential Secretariat issue these vehicles to him despite him being provided enough and more high-security vehicles and back-up vehicles for his use from the Defence Ministry? This shows how the Rajapaksas were misusing public property for their whims and fancies at taxpayers’ expense,” reliable sources from the Presidential Secretariat who wished to remain anonymous said.

 

Former Speaker gets vehicles

Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa too was given vehicles from the Presidential Secretariat although the office of the Speaker had allocated a fleet of vehicles for him from Parliament.Although Basil Rajapaksa obtained a fleet of vehicles from the Economic Development Ministry he was also allegedly given a high-security Range Rover WPKC-8510 from the Presidential Secretariat. Even younger brother Chandra Rajapaksa had been given a Defender Jeep bearing registration number WPKX 2423 all borne by public expense. Meanwhile, former Chief Minister of Uva Province Sasheendra Rajapaksa who was Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Private Secretary and is alleged to not have physically carried out duties but was there in name-only had been given an unregistered Benz car (A-362396) and three Defender Jeeps bearing registration numbers WPKC-2274, WPKX- 2426 and WPKX 2435.

Rajapaksa’s sister’s husband Dr. Lalith Chandradasa had allegedly been given a Nissan Double Cab (PD-8011) and a Toyota Corolla car (KV-4295) for his use while his son Malaka Chandradasa who was the then Defence Secretary’s Coordinating Secretary was allegedly given a Nissan Sylphy car (WPKX- 8232) although he was provided vehicles from the Defence Ministry as well. Another nephew of Rajapaksa who was one of the alleged investors of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) Himal Hettiarachchi too had allegedly been given a Defender Jeep WPKX- 2451 from the Presidential Secretariat.

Meanwhile former Monitoring MP to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was also a close confidant of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sajin Vass Gunawardena, too had been given a fleet of luxury vehicles although he had used yet another fleet of luxury vehicles obtained from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Vass Gunawardena had used a High Security vehicle bearing registration number WPKD-3218 and Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep KE-0610, Defender Jeep KC-2280, Bolero Jeep PA-7086, Toyota Hilux LG-8732, BMW KB-9240 and Defender Jeep- WPKX- 2457.

The Youth Affairs Unit alleged to be an arm of Nil Balakaya had been given a Nissan Sunny (301-2859), Toyota van (WPKC- 0107), Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep (WPFZ- 9170), Toyota Hilux (LH-1670), Commando Jeep (KI-6569), Nissan Double Cab (PD-8001) and another Double Cab (PF-5829).

The former President’s Senior Advisor meanwhile had been given not only high-security vehicles but also an Ambulance bearing registration number LW-0962. The Senior Advisor had been assigned a Tata Single Cab (LC-6632), Defender Jeeps bearing numbers WPKB-7604, KC-2271, WPKX- 2239 and WPKX -2368 while an unregistered Benz car (A-385178), High Security Jeep (KL-0336), Land Rover (KH-4184) and Benz High Security Car (KY-1090) too were allocated to him.

Meanwhile President Rajapaksa’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge who did not face any security threats had been given a Volvo High- Security vehicle (KD-5285), another vehicle bearing registration number KI-3092, a Defender Jeep (WPKX-2396) and a Ford Everest Jeep (WP CAB 3462) while the former Chief of Staff who is now under investigation for accumulating a vast wealth whilst in office had been given Defender Jeep (KC-2275), Bolero Cab (CH-72061524), Trisler Wagon (PB-6265), Toyota Hilux Cab (PE-1632), Lexus (KP-3937) and Defender Jeep (WPKX -2451) from the Secretariat.

Rajapaksa’s Cousin Upul Dissanayake who was the Co-ordinating Secretary was given a Mitsubishi Montero Jeep (KG-5473) while Kithsiri Ganganatha Abeygunawardena, another Coordinating Secretary, had been assigned a Nissan Petrol Jeep (GD-7263), Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep (KE-0826), Tata Cab (LD-1103), Tata Cab (LD-1125) and Toyota car (KC-0952).

Amongst the other Co-ordinating Secretaries who had received vehicles from the Presidential Secretariat were Ananda (Hambantota Party Office) – Pajero Jeep (65-1097), Amarasiri Kudagalara  – Suzuki Liana (WPKA -9813), Co-ordinating Secretary (Hambantota District Office) – Defender (WPGE- 1789), Chaminda Rajapaksa – Defender Jeep (WPGE-1790), Bindu (Eastern Province) – Nissan Petrol (WPGD- 7209), Chaminda Kularatne – BMW (WPGF – 1092), Kapila Dissanayake – Defender Jeep (WPKB-7613), Kithsiri Sepala Defender Jeep (WPKB-7601), Rasanga Gunaratne (Tangalle Office) – Volvo S80 Car (65-5974), Daya Gallage – Toyota Merc (KH-9067), S. A. Rafeel (District Co-ordinator Pasikudha) Toyota Hilux (LH-1661), Cyril Munasinghe (Beliatta Office) – Pajero Jeep (32-0962), Mahesh Vidanapathirana – Toyota Cab (WPPC- 3362), Mrs. Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra – Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep (GP-3121), Keerthi Dissanayake – Toyota Land Cruiser (WPKX- 5289), Chaminda Gamage – Double Cab (WPPF- 6493) and Sudharsha Ganegoda  – Double Cab (WPPF 6495).

 

MPs get vehicles

Although MPs are given duty free permits to purchase vehicles and all parliamentarians do have their own vehicles, certain MPs were still given vehicles from the Presidential Secretariat vehicle pool. They are V. K. Indika (MP for Hambantota District) – Benz WPHJ 8859, P. Dayaratne (MP for Ampara District) – Defender WPGE  2036, Minister Nirmala Kothalawala (Kalutara District) – Defender WPGE 1809, Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, (Ratnapura District) –Bolero Cab WPPA 7079 and  Bolero Cab WPPA 7084, Sri Rangha – Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep KE-0604 and Micro Car KI-2663, Vadivel Suresh – Toyota Land Cruiser KE-0829, Wimal Weerawansa (Colombo District)  – Scorpio Jeep PA-1369, Nishantha Muthuhettigama (Galle District) – Bolero Cab LG-7493, S.B. Dissanayake – Nissan Teana KI-2484, Bandara – Toyota Hilux LH-1671, Manusha Nanayakkara (Galle District) – Kyron Rexton Jeep KJ-0703 and Earl Gunasekera (Polonnaruwa District) Kyron Rexton Jeep KJ-0796.

Meanwhile Buddhist temples and Chief Incumbents who were supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa too benefitted from the Presidential Secretariat. They were Ven. Elle Gunawansa – Chevrolet Double Cab WPPA-6063, Ven. Bengamuve Nalaka – Tata Sumo Jeep (KE-9174), Mahanayaka of the Rohana Sect – Land Rover Jeep (KJ-2067), Chief Incumbent Ruwanweli Maha Seya – Nissan Double Cab (PD-7984), Ven. Ellawala Medhalankara – Toyota Double Cab (PF-0053), Ven. Pallattara Sumanajothi – Hyundai Accent (WPKA- 9784), Ven. Matale Amarawansa – Toyota Carina (WPGJ-8390), Sithulpawwa Temple – Double Cab (252-6539) and Ambulance (LW-0575) , Gangaramaya Temple – Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep (WPKC- 0279), Deniyaya Temple – Bolero Cab (LG-7483), Hellala Temple – Bolero Cab (LG-7488), Siyambalanduwa Temple – Bolero Cab (LG-7492) and Kataragama Devalaya (PB-9872).

 

Captain Tissa

It is also interesting to note that Captain Tissa who is alleged to have been involved in Wasim Thajudeen’s murder too was given a Tata Safari (CUZN-00902), Tata Safari (CUZN 01006) and a high-security Defender Jeep (KD-2047).  “If Captain Tissa was in the Presidential Security Division (PSD) what made the Presidential Secretariat issue him two Tata Safari Jeeps and a high-security Defender? Was Capt. Tissa’s life in danger to provide him with a high-security vehicle and was he discharging his duties in Colombo or in wildlife sanctuaries?” sources queried.

Despite the fact that all tri-forces have their own vehicles, the Navy Commander under whom Yoshitha Rajapaksa was working too had been given a BMW high-security (WPGD-7072) while Ranna Navy Camp, Hakmana and Nuwara Eliya Army Camps were given Bolero Cab (LG-7496), Bolero Cab (LG-7485) and Bolero Cab (LG-7495) respectively.

Dullas Alahapperuma had been given Nissan Sunny WPGH-7830 and Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep KE-0791 while Jackson Anthony had used China Double Cab PB-8004, Rohan Welivita Toyota Corolla KE-8607 and Milinda Moragoda Defender Jeep KB-7607.

Rajapaksa’s political offices in Tangalle, Hambantota and Beliatta had been using Double Cab 252-6491, Land Rover Jeep KH-1173, China Double Cab PB-8000, Chevrolet Double Cab WPPA 6062, Volvo S80 Car 65-5973, Toyota Jeep KI-1678, Toyota Hilux LH-1679, Double Cab WPPF- 6497,Toyota Van WPPA-7176, Bolero Cab WPPA-7073 and UR-6012 for Rajapaksa’s and his son Namal Rajapaksa’s political campaign work. Even Chairman Pradeshiya Sabha, Embilipitiya had been given a Defender WPGE-2035 from the Presidential Secretariat vehicle pool.  Although as per government financial regulations it is a mandatory requirement to call for tenders when obtaining vehicles on lease, the Presidential Secretariat had violated all norms and rules when obtaining vehicles on lease.
“Although there are strict regulations on how to issue vehicles on lease agreements, these procedures had never been followed,” sources said.

It is almost one year and four months since President Maithripala Sirisena took over office from Mahinda Rajapaksa but it is surprising as to why officials at the Presidential Secretariat have so far failed to hold inquiries and bring the former officials who have violated government rules and regulations for personal benefit, to book.

When The Sunday Leader checked out the list of names of the recipients of these leased vehicles and from whom they were leased, there were many instances where the recipients had leased vehicles from their own family members, close relatives or even friends.

“This is why we say that officials during the Rajapaksa regime never obeyed government rules but carried out their work on the directives of their superiors,” sources added.

Meanwhile highly reliable sources from the Auditor General’s Department who wished to remain anonymous said that it is highly irregular not to follow tender procedure when a government department wants to obtain vehicles on lease agreements.

 

Audits not carried out

“Although the Auditor General’s Department has an office at the Presidential Secretariat, none of the officers wanted to carry out proper audits during the previous regime, as they knew what the consequences would be. If the AG’s department was allowed to carry out proper audits, these public officers would have known that they would be exposed and wouldn’t have engaged in any irregularity in fear,” sources said.

According to the sources, if a vehicle is leased, the maximum price that can be paid to the lessee cannot exceed Rs. 40,000 although there are many instances where the Presidential Secretariat had paid even Rs.130,000 per vehicle.

“If our audit officers were allowed to carry out audits, our officers could have unearthed these irregularities and would have gone to the extent of checking who the real owner of the vehicle was and the relationship to the recipient.

As they wanted to carry out these illegal activities, our officers were barred from carrying out proper audits,” sources alleged.

Sources meanwhile added that it is up to President Sirisena to appoint a committee to find out as to why high security vehicles were given to certain parliamentarians and other officials spending millions in public funds when there was no war in the country from May, 2009.

Meanwhile it is questionable as to why ambulances were given to Shiranthi Rajapaksa’s Carlton Pre-Schools on government expense when government hospitals in the country do not have enough ambulances to transport patients.

“This is daylight robbery. It is surprising as to why the government has still failed to inquire into these irregularities and take legal action against those who were responsible for misusing public money for their own pleasure,” sources said.

 

31 Comments for “How Rajapaksa Played Santa Claus With State Funds”

  1. Psycho

    So do you expect our politikka sand their catchers to go in bullock cart so?

  2. Ricky

    IF YOU ARE TRUE TO YOUR MOTTO “UNBOWED AND UNAFRAID” WILL YOU PRINT MY QUESTION BELOW?

    HOW DID ASANGA SENEVIRATNE BENEFIT FROM BEING ONE OF SANTA’S HELPERS (ELF)? HE AMASSED HUGE FORTUNE FROM ZILCH AND NOW OWNING YOUR PAPER WHICH HE BOUGHT FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION?

  3. This is how the Rajapakse government accounted for public funds and worse so, the public officials are guilty of dereliction of duty for not carrying out audits and should be penalised , no guts.

  4. AYMAN

    Sick of reading this over and over again. We want action taken against Mahinda and cronies,sooner than later !!!

  5. We have now heard from Sunday Leader their side of the story. I want to know the response from the other side, namely Dullas,Wimal, Rajapakses family. Then only we as citizen of Sri Lanka can decide what action to be taken against these crooks.

    • What a rotten basket of eggs!!!

      You all stink to high heaven and have the brass to talk about Yahapalanaya.

      Thank God you thieves are no more in the Government. You should all be thrown into jail to rot

  6. Mohana Prabath

    Bugger had played out money left and right.

  7. laksiri

    iyo sirisena how to audit this fraud can your new auditor general handle this???

  8. C Ranaweera

    All those who committed crimes should be brought before the courts and punished. What is not clear from this article is whether these are illegal acts or just unethical practices, for which no one can be sent to jail. Whatever it is, exposing these practices is the duty of the media. If the current government is not taking any action to investigate, I can only imagine that they are doing the same things. The media should investigate what is going on now as well. Otherwise, we will have to wait another 5 years to find out what this government is like.

  9. Roshan

    this deshspremi concept wearing white applying dye and inside dark black

  10. gamarala

    Massive wastage of funds to purchase/lease/rent vehicles for politicians/supporters/relatives bared.
    Why is it still not corrected, by this regime – this failure is itself corruption, which is being ignored.
    MR’s sycophants who allowed this, should be identified and removed from positions in which they can perpetuate the corruption.

    Why do single politicians require multiple vehicles?
    This fact itself amounts to corruption.
    Vehicle allocation should be based on actual requirements and rules regarding same formulated and implemented.

  11. Upul

    Why is the present government is not taking any legal action against those who are responsible? Is it because this is not illegal or are they doing the same thing at the moment?

  12. Birds of a feather flock together , this simply show Mythree is part of the day light robbery , he also would have got a fleet, thats why he is keeping quiet. All frauds will be swept under the carpet by the Mythree Ranil Govt. this is the reason why no action is being taken even though all were questioned & found guilty. Only JVP is shouting day in & night to prosecute all found guilty, time has come to throw out Mythree Ranil Govt. & even if MR come to power we will be better off.

  13. , Nirmala Kanangara is misleading people, accusation are false and untruth , I think Mangala Samaraweera provide all false information to her . please do not mud insult for Hon. Mahinda rajapaksha. you remember his reputation cannot reduce from the people of this country.

  14. vithura

    With the facts stated above why cannot any individual or group of individuals bring a public interest case to ascertain whether such blatant abuse of power and waste of public resources by the previous regime, is being looked into as a matter of urgency.

  15. These Psychopaths will try to get back into power and destroy Sri Lanka society as we know it.

    • sunimal

      Sri lanka does not belong to the dirty filthy Mahendra Percy Pundai Jarapaksa
      it belongs to the poor men an women who walk the streets with emty pockets
      not with Jadapaksa Arrack bottles ,does not belong to Jadyas like Kumar Welgama,,para Jada Weeerwansa and his hora passport wife,Gamini lokuge
      the POL Hora,and the pol thakkady abeygunawardene,and so many
      parayas who have swindled this country of ours
      Mahendra would be cursed with Murderous children for generations to come
      we curse him and his family and Hora ministers every day
      they must face justce,absolute Bastards

  16. Milano

    All these santa gifts were given out while people were destitute in camps and funds coming for rehousing them. Funny part is even the Buddhist monks enjoyed luxury goods while people were starving and dying.Shame to call myself a Sri Lankan buddhist.

  17. Mahen

    OK now you have exposed so much of this story and several more in the past months. Now please explain why Ranil and Sirisena are reluctant to act on this and apprehend the culprits.

  18. Gayan

    This is why that not only every Tom, Dick , Harry but also thugs, criminals, uneducated, rapists want to do ‘politics’. Most of these people may not have qualifications even to become labourers ( note- 50% of MP’s in the previous parliament did not have even OL’s) but by doing ‘politics’, they are ushered with luxuries, wealth and power!
    If the Yahapalanaya- can make sure that politicos have only a basic salary, a BASIC vehicle, do not have any security ( why should they?- no war now) etc, all these culprits will disappear and only who genuinely want to do public service such as Eran, Karu etc will come to the parliament.
    We need to eradicate this cancer once and for all.

  19. Ruvan

    You said all these crap before, during, and after the elections. Yahapalanaya has taken the reins 15 months ago. Do you want the innocent people to keep listening to these media crap again and again. Even if the information is correct we have lost our faith in what Sri Lankan media say on a daily basis because Yahapalana leaders are no different from the previous cronies of the Rajapaksas.
    I believe current rulers are even worse: why?
    Mahinda Rajapaksa, as Prez did something that was commendable and unforgettable in our histroy: he saved Mother Lanka from a deadly terror group that had plans to execute her in front of her kids. Today you and I have a country to live because of his bold decisions. If he had played Santa Claus or KIng Vessantara with public funds during his tenure we do not care about it; but not forever! That’s why we removed him on time. However, remember, for you and me to play with ourselves today we have at least a country because of him! Therefore, enough of criticizing this great leader who sadly lost the elections due to his cronies; but you and your muckraking media institutions have no right to keep harassing him on the name of media freedom!

  20. Buwa

    Ok that’s why we send him home. You lot are not any better, what happen to the promise when MR is kicked out and the corruption stopped we can make wonders
    And country will flourish. If MR pulled out batalanda and killing of thousands on the street all new lot will be on death row.

  21. C SIlva

    Im not a fan of any politician. Im fan of SL. But is this responsible journalism. Now u idiot have given all the Nos of the high security vehicles. Thanks to u, none of these vehicles can not be used for that purpose anymore.

    • Siva

      After readine the article written by N.K you call the person an idiot. Why?.
      N.K is doing the job assigned.You think of Security and of the these vehicles cannot be used for security purposes. Don’t you remember white vans and other vehicles without any identifications were used kidnap and kill people in Mahindra’s period.Vehicle registration is needed identify the vehicle leased from show etc. Probably you had one of those vehicles or you leased to the presidential pool. Who knows may be God?

  22. padmanathan

    rajapakse bros coruption is common knowledge.
    but no inquiries yet.
    because they r stil powerful & acting behind the scenes.

    What can president Sirisena & PM Wicks do?
    A mass uprising can cause them for a local inquiry with international participation.
    This wil result in the GUILTY punished & the ill gotten wealth hoarded abroad brote back.
    Wonder whether this will happen.?

    • gonaharaka

      You know before anything I want to bring to justice the racist Tamil Diaspora that collected funds for suicide bombing, had parties when innocent civilians were massacred and continued to fund the crimes against humanity. Before Rajapakshe brothers let s get them before justice. My dead relatives and friends are waiting.

      They have human rights too unlike the terrorist and their terrorist lovers. How is Adalee Balasigham living in England in retirement when she was the leader of the womens suicide bombers!!!

      One law for brown skined and one law for the Fuc$ing white british!!!

  23. I am woundering why the current government does not want to take legal acction for them becasuse economically people were suffered.

  24. mr Rajapaska and his family and his friends in the cabinet me wimal weeravasa are corruption srilanka half of money from the government, last one year president government are not doing anything but some investigation to show the tax payers but they will be free from all crime, mr president you are not for presient,mr ranil lost all most all election why postponed local government??

  25. Mahendra

    Since the former dirty strongman of Sri Lanka was defeated, many corruptions have been exposed by your newspaper but the present regime is acting blind and deaf to theses national crimes, The present regime continue to protect the group of criminals and facilitate their activities in Sri Lanka under the guise of bogus unfounded ” National Government” concept. The present government is an accessory to the protection provided to the criminals. These fellows who rule us are equally corrupt and follow the same principle followed by MR and his thieves. But it is amazing to note that average citizens also don’t care much about corruption, in fact they too have resigned to a position that one day corruption and corrupt politicians are the solution for their economic grievances unfortunately. So I believe SRI LANKANS shamelessly have decided to live in a stinking “shit hole” until a real change in the entire society. It is too bad we lost our beloved Venerable Sobitha thera in the hour of our need. So I also believe both present and former political leaders are equally happy about the untimely death of Venerable Sobitha thera.

  26. gamarala

    Only in Sri Lanka, one man – politician or state official – uses more than one vehicle,
    and has drivers for each.

    In England, Prince William took his wife and newborn children, from hospital, in his own car, and drove it himself.

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