|Lanka for the election campaign.
who is currently in London fled Sri Lanka during the crackdown on the JVP in the early
1990s. He was the only politburo member of the JVP of that period who survived the
The Sunday Leader learns that the Sri Lankan High Commission in London had
recommended to the department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo to issue a new
passport to Amarasinghe to return to Sri Lanka.
Moves to get Amarasinghe back to Sri Lanka got underway after the JVP and the PA signed
a memorandum of understanding for a probationary government following the opposition
sponsored no confidence motion in parliament.
With a view to facilitating the return of Amarasinghe, an application was made by the
JVP leader for a new passport at the Sri Lankan mission in London on the basis that he had
lost his earlier passport.
However, Amarasinghe who fled the country in 1991 had not stated he left the country
through legitimate channels.
Informed sources said since Amarasinghe is returning with the blessings of the
government such inquiries were not material.
Amarasinghe as a politburo member of the JVP was wanted for questioning by the CID at
the time he fled the country in relation to the murders, damage to public property and
bank robberies committed by the party during the 1980s and early 1990s.
However sources said Amarasinghe has received an assurance by the government he will
not be detained or taken into custody by the CID on his arrival.
Amarasinghe's new passport is to be despatched to London tomorrow by the department of
The opposition UNP had earlier accused the JVP of having struck a deal with the PA on a
wide range of issues including the return of Amarasinghe to the country following the MOU
between the JVP and PA.
The JVP has decided, its main target at the election will be the UNP.
Chandrika in London
President Chandrika Kumaratunge left for London on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight early
The President is expected to return on October 1 or 2.
The Sunday Leader learns that President Kumaratunge will meet with confidante
Ronnie Pieris during her stay in London.
Pieris left Sri Lanka the previous week via Delhi after the oppositiion lodged a formal
complaint with the Bank of Ceylon Chairman Ken Balendran on the waiver of over Rs. 15
million interest due on a loan extended to Pieris by the London branch of the bank. Pieris
was accompanied to Delhi by former presidential protocol secretary Padma Maharajah.
On Thursday, October 24, UNP Assistant Leader Gamini Athukorale lodged a complaint with
the Bribery Commission calling for an investigation into the business activities of Ronnie
Pieris and the role of President Kumaratunge, if any, in the promotion of his business
A firm of British Lawyers have also being instructed to make representations to the
British tax authorities and the Bank of England on the business dealings of Ronnie Pieris
and the banking practices of the Bank of Ceylon, London branch.
Informed sources and the President has also sought appointments with British government
authorities to discuss bilateral issues.
Speculation was rife yesterday that Kumaratunga will meet JVP leader Somawansa
Amarasinghe too in London following arrangements already made for his return to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Airlines suffer losses to the tune of Rs.
By Frederica Jansz
Sri Lankan Airlines has declared a 6.5 billion rupee loss over a 12 month period from
March 2000 to March 2001. According to company accounts, the net loss for the airline has
been recorded at Rs. 6508 million and a the declared loss for the group amounts to Rs.
On April 11, 2001, Sri Lankan Airlines entered into a loan agreement with the Bank of
Ceylon to secure a Term Loan Facility amounting to a total of USD 15 million. The facility
was fully drawn by May 15, 2001. This was despite the fact that the position of the
airline as at March 31, this year was questionable as to whether it could be considered a
The cost of sales in the year 2000/01 has been placed at 1474 million. According to the
airline's income statement for the first time the cost of sales in the national carrier
has exceeded revenue. Advertising and marketing costs alone have been placed at Rs. 3311
A huge deficit in exchange equalisation account amounting to Rs. 5171 million has
caused the total liabilities to exceed the total assets by Rs. 3710 million. Furthermore,
current liabilities had exceeded the current assets by Rs. 4412 million.
External auditors (Ernst & Young) had drawn attention to the company's action of
changing the accounting policy to run an exchange equalisation account upon deviating from
the accounting standards.
According to Ernst & Young the airline's total liabilities exceeded its total
assets by Rs. 3710.12 million during the year 2000/01. The report by the auditors asserts
that these factors raise doubt as to whether the company will be able to continue as a
In 1999/2000, Sri Lankan Airlines recorded a loss of Rs. 750 million. Within a period
of one year after this loss was declared the airline recorded an astounding 6.5 billion
Rajitha writes to Inland Revenue on JVP account
UNP candidate, Rajitha Sena- ratne last week wrote
to the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue to investigate the JVP accounts in the light
of recent media reports of a bank account at the Nugegoda branch of the People's
The JVP has claimed, the account at the People's Bank is a party account.
In terms of the Inland Revenue Act, political parties must submit their annual returns
to the Inland Revenue Department.
UNP treasurer, Nimal Weeraratne, told The Sunday Leader the UNP submits its
returns annually in terms of the law.
Senaratne earlier in a statement called upon the JVP to state whether it has submitted
its returns including details of the bank account to the Inland Revenue Department but
elicited no response, prompting him to write to the commissioner.
"Following the media exposure, Mr. Weerawansha and Mr. Tilvin Silva have on behalf
of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a recognised political party, claimed that the
monies in this account are actually the property of the JVP and that Messrs. Weerawansha
and Ferdinands had been operating this account on behalf of the party. They have failed to
explain however why it was that two individuals should maintain a private account on
behalf of the party. To me, as a member of the public, this smacks of an underhand
operation conducted in order to avoid payment of income tax. I therefore urge you to check
whether either Wimal Weerawansha and/or the JVP has declared this account in their returns
to the Inland Revenue Department and if not, take necessary legal action in this
regard," Senaratne has written.
Last week the former co-ordinating secretary to Anura Bandaranaike lodged a complaint
with the Bribery Commission calling for a probe on the JVP account and Wimal Weerawansha's
assets and liabilities declaration.
It is learnt Weerawansha has also not declared a loan he obtained from the Colombo
Municipal Council as a liability in his declaration.
Poster ban imposed
Officers-in-Charge (OICs) of police stations islandwide, have been directed by police
headquarters in Colombo to remove and destroy all posters and cut-outs of politicians, a
senior police officer said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Elections, Gamini Navaratne told The Sunday Leader that
police officers have been told to adhere strictly to this law or face consequences.
According to the DIG, all political leaders have also been instructed not to put up
posters or erect cut-outs. Navaratne said he had sent letters to all political leaders
asking for their co-operation in order to carry out police duties in keeping with the
election laws of the country.
"This time I am making sure that nobody violates the election laws", he said.
Protest against Mervyn Silva's antics
The Free Media Movement (FMM) condemning Former
Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva, who stormed into the Divaina office by force and abused the
staff, has organised a protest campaign tomorrow (October 29), opposite the statue of
Goonesinghe in Pettah.
Silva recently stormed into the Divaina office and threatened journalists, an act
looked upon as a grave threat to the freedom of the media in this country, stated a press
release issued by the FMM on October 26.
It is furthermore a threat to the lives and freedom of journalists in carrying out
their duties, the release said.
"Any person or organisation that values the freedom of the media cannot accept
this threat light-heartedly," the press release stated.
The FMM invites all organisations and people to join in this campaign.
Letter sent for Anthrax testing
A letter identified by the Medical Research
Institute (MRI), Sri Lanka, suspected to contain a deadly bacteria was despatched to the
United States for further investigations, an American embassy spokesperson said.
According to the spokesperson tension has continued to reign in the embassy with
embassy staff receiving strict and clear instructions not to open or handle any mail that
comes to the embassy.
The embassy, according to the spokesperson, has received a number of packages
containing suspicious substances. It has received nine suspected mail since Thursday,
The suspected letters are not post marked and do not indicate the name and the address
of the sender, the spokesperson said. The spokesperson said it is difficult to even
determine which part of the country these letters originate from.
The US embassy also sent two other letters about two weeks ago to the US for testing,
but those letters were not tested by the MRI.
The Anthrax scare was the result of suspected enemies of the United States sending
these substances to US missions in different parts of the world, protesting US military
action following the September 11 attack on the twin towers in New York, allegedly by
NE Tamil parties file nominations after wrangling
Tamil parties contesting the north and east filed
nomination papers Friday, after a hectic two weeks of negotiations and compromise, hoping
the unity of the Tamil Alliance (TA) would withstand the other parties contesting in the
area - especially the EPDP.
The Tamil parties, which comprise the TULF, TELO, ACTC and EPRLF filed nominations in
all the districts of the north and east - Jaffna, Trincomalee, Wanni, Batticaloa and
In the Jaffna district the TA is led by TULF's V. Anandasangaree and includes Suresh
Premachandran of the EPRLF and ACTC Leader A. Vinayagamoorthy.
In Tricomalee, the TA is led by R. Sambandan, general secretary of the TULF and
includes R. Thurairatnarajah of the same party, while Dr. R. Muralimanoharan of the ACTC
is also a candidate.
In the Wanni, with the shocking omission of M. Srikantha of the TELO, the other members
filed nominations, including A. Adaikalanathan who was the parliamentary leader of the
In the Batticaloa district where agreement on the list was long and tortuous process,
the district is led by TULF's Joseph Pararajasingham and includes S. Selvarajah who is a
former MP. Gnanamuththu Krishnapillai from the ACTC is also a candidate, while TELO is
represented by T. Thangavelu and Nithiyandan Prasanna.
The Digamadulla district TA list is headed by TULF's Chandra Nehru Ariyanayagam from
Tirukkovil. S. Sriskandarajah and K. Pathmanathan and K. Vengalachalam are among the more
important candidates contesting in the district.
In Digamadulla, the TA coalition is supported by the Tamil Maha Sabah (TMS) which was
an umbrella organisation too that contested this district at the last election and was
able to secure one seat.
"By and large there seem to be educated and popular candidates fielded by the
Tamil Alliance this time," said sources from Batticaloa.
Azwer urges action on Thalagoya
Former MP of the United National Party (UNP), A. H. M. Azwer said if no proper action
is taken against the former deputy minister and Puttalum district People's Alliance (PA)
MP, D. M. Dassanayake (Thalagoya), elections in the Puttalam area would turn violent.
Dassanayake, it is reported, was released on bail only last week after he was arrested
by the police for allegedly threatening supporters of the opposition parties and moving
about with weapons.
Residents from Puttalum told The Sunday Leader that they even saw Dassanayake, fully
armed, removing any material that appeared to him green in colour, including polythene
sheets and shopping bags.
Meanwhile Azwer said he had already written to both the Inspector General Police Lucky
Kodituwakku and Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake regarding Dassanayake's
"If the government is not going to take proper and timely action against him, we
are going to witness another 'Wayamba' situation this time as well. This is why I am
pressing the IGP and the elections commissioner to take action. Only they have powers to
do so," he said.
Meanwhile The Sunday Leader learns that a number of open warrants have been issued on
Dassanayake by the Puttalum district court and that there are some 40 cases filed against
Sri Lal Gomez president of PJASL
Sri Lal Gomes of Lakbima was appointed President of the Photo Journalists' Association
of Sri Lanka (PJASL) at its annual general meeting held at the Jayawardenepura centre on
Following are the other office bearers of the PJASL: Secretary- Dunstan Wickramaratne
(The Sunday Times), Treasurer- Gamini Abeyesekera (Lankadeepa), Convenor and Technical
Advisor- Sena Widanagama (AFP),
Vice Presidents- Gemunu Wellage (The Sunday Times) and Ashoka Fernando (The Sunday
Leader), Deputy Secretary- Ravi Maanikkawasam (Thinakkural), Deputy Treasurer- Saman
Jayatilleke (Tharunaya), Welfare Officer- Padmasiri Gamage (The Sunday Leader).
Following are the committee members: Dudley Wickramasinghe (Lake House), Ravindra
Deeptha (Daily Mirror), Kamal Jayamanne (Lankadeepa), Buddhika Weerasinghe (Ravaya),
Lakruwan Warriarachchi (Lakbima), Shanbandu (Tharunaya) Subash Withanage (Veerakesari),
Gamini Wickramasinghe (The Sunday Leader) and Saman Mendis (Lake House).