-- Giving Vimukthi
a helping hand
Nanayakkara -- Quick approval
Bandaranaike -- All in the family
is it about President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
that she finds it literally impossible to tell the
truth? This month saw the President utter one more
diabolical lie. This time she did so in writing, having
ordered her office to deny a statement made by
UNF MP, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne that during his
tenure as lands minister he allocated two acres of land
at Mirissa in the Weligama area in Matara to her son,
a media release on Saturday, August 10th, the President's office
denied a news item which had appeared the day before in a Sinhala
daily which quoted Dr. Rajitha Senaratne as saying that he has
approved two acres of state lands to her son Vimukthi.
a letter addressed to Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on August 9th,
Secretary to the President, W. J. S. Karunaratne states the
President has instructed him to inform Dr. Senaratne that
"neither she nor her son has ever obtained state land or
any other state property" while Senaratne was the lands
minister (See box for contents of denial). True to form,
Kumaratunga has warned Senaratne not to insult her son in
order to save his skin insinuating that Senaratne is guilty of
misdeeds during his tenure as lands minister.
Sunday Leader today places before its readers the documentary
evidence which details clearly the transaction involving
Vimukthi Kumaratunga and the allocation of two acres of state
land at Mirissa so he can build a holiday resort comprising of
20 luxury villas. Not only is Vimukthi involved, but his
mother too has attested a letter to the Director Investments,
Board of Investments of Sri Lanka informing the BOI that the
Kumaratungas have appointed an investment consultancy firm to
handle this project on their behalf.
financial credibility report by the Bank of Ceylon
July 8, this year, President Chandrika Kumaratunga signing in her
capacity as power of attorney for her son Vimukthi, informed the BOI
that L. J. Foreign Investment Consultancy Services (Private) Limited
has been empowered to act on Vimukthi's behalf to make the BOI
application and to represent Vimukthi Kumaratunga in the project to
establish a holiday resort having 20 luxury villas at Mirissa. This
letter was sent on a letterhead which bore the address,
"Presidents House - Janadhipathi Mawatha - Colombo 1."
(See box for letter)
J. Foreign Investment Consultancy Services (Private) Limited is
located on the Mezzanine Floor of the Galadari Hotel. It was
incorporated on August 25, 1992. The directors of the company are
Don Lalith Milroy Ganlath, Deanna Cynthia Arnolda and Ranjith
the same time, Kumaratunga informed the investment consultancy firm
to handle Vimukthi's business deal and accordingly they wrote on
July 15 seeking the preliminary approvals.
within just two weeks, on July 29, 2004, Senior Manager (Investment)
BOI, Ms. Y. G. Rajapakse wrote to D. C. Arnolda at L. J. Foreign
Investment Services (Pvt) Ltd., giving approval in principle for the
project. The letter bears reference number EC/4/7709/04.
letter refers to the application dated July 15, 2004 submitted to
the BOI by the company on behalf of Vimukthi Kumaratunga in respect
of a project to set up a holiday resort at Mirissa. Rajapakse has
informed the investment company that the Sri Lanka Tourist Board has
in principle approved the above project. Rajapakse has asked that
details pertaining to the financial credibility of their client
Vimukthi Kumaratunga and a feasibility report be submitted. (See box
is pertinent at this juncture to raise the issue whether both the
BOI and the Tourist Board have bypassed regular procedure and
approved this project in principle even before a feasibility report
was submitted. Given that the minister in charge of the BOI is none
other than the President's brother Anura Bandaranaike and the head
of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board is the President's ex brother-in-law
and confidant, Udaya Nanayakkara, it also raises the question
whether there is a conflict of interest. Afterall, while Senaratne
as lands minister gave his approval for the release of the land in
violation of the accepted procedure in September 2003, it is only
after the UPFA government was elected to office that Kumaratunga set
the ball rolling by writing to the BOI on July 8, 2004.
if that is not bad enough what is worse is the President's outright
denial of this "deal." And a "deal" it certainly
is. How can she claim to have no knowledge of this transaction when
she herself has attested a letter to the BOI on behalf of her son on
July 8, this year informing them of a company representation who
would handle the "project" on their behalf.
we spoke with Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and asked why he had allocated
two acres at Mirissa to the President's son despite Vimukthi
Kumaratunga failing to submit as required a project and financial
report, which is a necessity when such applications are made for
state owned land he said, "Because it was the President's son I
approved the request despite there being no project or financial
Senaratne added that during his tenure as lands minister, neither
the President nor her son, made any payment for the land.
transaction began in August last year and The Sunday Leader carried
some details of this "deal" early this year.
to the Land Commissioner in August last year, Vimukthi Kumaratunga
had the temerity to use the address of President's House in his
letter requesting for two acres to be allocated to him with beach
frontage for a holiday resort.
official stationary and equipment at President's House young
Vimukthi had been doing a bit of business no doubt living up to his
mother's boast that, "politics is the family business."
Given the new evidence, it is indeed hard to believe, the President
did not know about the land transaction. That instead, she is lying,
and lying through her teeth, given the documentary proof, is a
land, the President's son has set his eye on is crown land at
Mirissa - Pem Uyana Estate in the Matara District.
the letter written by Vimukthi Kumaratunga to the Land Commissioner
on August 8, last year, Kumaratunga has stated that he has
identified a land suitable for a holiday resort in the Matara
District. He states in this letter, he would be "most
grateful" if two acres of land is granted to him on a long term
basis for a holiday resort.
full extent of the land in question at Pem Uyana Estate is about 30
acres and partly occupied since 1992 by the allotees under the
village expansion scheme. Kumaratunga maintains in his letter that
an area of about five acres is still vacant on the allotted land,
unoccupied by anyone at present and that he would like to be granted
two acres for a holiday resort as a BOI project.
allocation sought was approved by then Lands Minister, Dr. Rajitha
Senaratne on September 23, 2003.
beach frontage, Vimukthi Kumaratunga has specifically identified
that an extent of two acres be allotted to him from block 'A' depicted in the preliminary
plan No. MR 1171 dated April 8, 2001 of the Land Commissioner's
land in question is prime land at Mirissa boasting one of the most
scenic views of Sri Lanka's southern coastline.
'A' according to the preliminary plan of the Land Commissioner's
Department has been separated for environmental and other purposes.
The plan states specifically that no human habitation must be
allowed or buildings erected as it will interfere with the sea area
as well as wind direction. But these stopgap measures to protect the
environment hardly carry weight with this government - least of all
with the President and her son.
September 3, 2003, Secretary, Divisional Secretariat-Weligama, C.
Mudalige wrote to the Chairman, Board of Investment (BOI),
Arjunna Mahendran requesting clarification if the BOI had
received a project proposal from Vimukthi Kumaratunga for a holiday
resort at Mirissa and if approval had been granted.
BOI referred Mudalige's letter to its regional office in Galle which
in turn requested Mudalige for a reference number since they could
not trace any record of an application or proposal made by Vimukthi
matter more or less came to a dead end there following the political
upheaval in the country initiated by the President on November 4,
the issue certainly did not die for young Kumaratunga and no sooner
his mother had a firm hold on the administrative structure in the
country again, both mother and son set the wheels of this project in
motion once more.
to say it was that much easier with uncle Anura in office as
Investments Minister under whom the BOI is slotted as well as uncle
Udaya under whose purview is the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.
in making the application for BOI approval, it has been stated in
writing the land for the project is private land and the plans
submitted are as per Vimukthi's letter, namely Pem Uyana at Mirissa.
How this land came to be private land is also a matter that calls
for investigation. Unless of course the declaration made in the
application that it is private land is false. That would make a bad
this while the new United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has been
espousing righteous rhetoric with regard to land alienation.
would do well for the new, Lands Minister, Anura Dissanayake, a self
proclaimed patriot and Marxist, to examine this deal and find out if
indeed it is in the best interest of Sri Lanka to hand out state
lands to the President's son, a lad, who is not more than 23 years
according to the response received by the BOI to their request for
financial details of the project investment
has been given as a sum of over Rs. 50 million. Now it would
be pertinent to find out how Vimukthi Kumaratunga, as yet unemployed
to the best of our knowledge, has access to 50 million smackers to
invest in a project of this nature.
on the other hand there are foreign investors both the BOI and the
Sri Lanka Tourist Board need to find out who these investors are and
how and why they have received a carte blanche blessing from the
President no less?
given Senaratne's own admission, the use of the President's name
carries clout because that is what prompted him to approve the
allocation of this land to Vimukthi outside accepted procedure, and
the President now has the gumption in writing to deny her son having
got Senaratne's approval for the land in question.
of public property
are other pertinent issues which also arise from this case apart
from a simple case of trying to mislead the public with blanket
denials and using the state media for that purpose, once again
misuse of public property.
as we said earlier is not gainfully employed and the question arises
how he has over Rs. 50 million to invest in this project. Does he
have a tax file in Sri lanka or London, where he has accounted for
income to invest such large sums of monies?
mind you, the figure of Rs. 50 million given as the investment is
also open for question. How afterall can you build 20 luxury villas
for Rs. 50 million. Can you build a luxury villa for Rs. 2.5 million
given today's building costs? Is there a conscious decision then to
undervalue the investment for tax and accounting purposes?
the other hand, if the President is giving her son a helping hand,
can she account for such a large sum of money on the basis of her
assets declaration? Afterall, we are in possession of letters
written by Chandrika Kumaratunga in her own handwriting from London
not long before her assuming public office claiming the serious
financial constraints faced by her.
President in those letters lament, Vijaya Kumaratunga who was
murdered by her new partner in government, the JVP left her only
with debts. Kumaratunga says however she prefers to wash someone's
floor to earn a living rather than borrow from anyone.
after assuming public office, Kumaratunga would have had to make do
with only her official salary and may even have had to dispose of
some personal assets to educate her two children in the UK, given
the expenses involved.
these statements of the President which no doubt will be reflected
in her assets declaration when she first assumed office as Western
Province chief minister, the question that arises is how Vimukthi,
who is still unemployed is going to raise over Rs. 50 million to
fund this project given the BOI's call to establish his financial
the other hand if young Vimukthi having got the approval is to find
some foreign investor to do the funding, then does it not tantamount
to influence peddling at the highest level? Afterall, if Vimukthi is
used only as a front by some foreign investors, then cannot it be
said he will be lending his name to the project only because of the
influence it carries to get the necessary approvals?
fact that it is Vimukthi's financial status that is depended on to
get approval for this project to build 20 luxury villas at a cost of
well over Rs. 50 million is evident from the request made by the BOI
for a report on his financial credibility.
interestingly it is to another state institution the Kumaratungas
turned to get that report of credibility for the BOI. That report on
Kasun Vimukthi Kumaratunga came from none other than the Bank of
Ceylon and the speed at which they were moving is also evident from
the date therein - August 2, 2004. That is 72 hours after the BOI
letter of approval in principle was received.
letter of financial credibility for this luxury villa project
costing over Rs. 50 million from the Bank of Ceylon (Personal
Branch) was nothing earth shattering but simply said - "This is
to certify that Mr. Kasun Vimukthi Kumaratunga has operated the
above account for the past three years in a satisfactory
manner." It was signed by a senior manager and was nothing more
than a scrawl.
is pertinent in this context to draw the attention of our readers to
the case of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently for
allegedly helping his son promote a similar resort project. He was
subject to a thorough criminal investigation on all aspects of that
of course is too much to expect in sunny Sri Lanka notwithstanding
the exploits of ASP Srinath Vedisinghe, but would not at least a
parliamentary select committee be in order to ascertain the facts of
that the JVP has claimed ad nauseam that the UNP ran the economy to
the ground and promoted robber barons to invest in the country, it
would do well for the true red patriots to investigate how the
President's son has access to 50 million rupees to invest in a
if the President dares to point an accusing finger at this newspaper
that we have dragged her son's name into print - well, too bad
Madam! If you want your children's reputations to remain squeaky
clean then don't encourage them to blot their copy books by using
the state to push business deals through. Politics is the family
letter to the BOI
8 July 2004
Board of Investments of Sri Lanka
World Trade Centre
Project to Establish a Holiday Resort Having 20 Bedroom Luxury
Villas Section 17 Approval
have empowered L. J. Foreign Investment Consultancy Services
(Private) Limited to act on my behalf to make the BOI
application and to represent me at the BOI and other
institutions, authorities, including the Tourist Board, in
respect of the above project and on that behalf to sign the
BOI Application and all other relevant documents.
on behalf of K. Vimukthi Kumaratunga
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga - Power of Attorney
letter to Lands Commissioner
Land Commissioner's Department
7, Gregory's Avenue
for a block of land (two acres) for a BOI project - Pem Uyana
Estate - Mirissa.
have identified a land suitable for a holiday resort in the
Matara District in the Southern Province. The land is situated
at Mirissa within the Division of Secretary of Weligama.
am informed that this land which is about 30 acres is partly
occupied by the allotees under the Village Expansion Scheme,
since 1992. An area of about five acres is still vacant on the
allotted land, unoccupied by anyone at present.
shall be most grateful if an extent of two acres of land, from
the above said project is allocated. I will be submitting my
project proposals to the BOI under the normal scheme available
to investors, as soon as I receive your response for approval
of the grant of two acres of land. I undertake to abide by any
direction given by you and the District Secretary, Matara, for
the said grant. All necessary payments for the purpose of
survey and blocking up of the land for this purpose can be
deposited with the District Secretary, Matara immediately, of
I need a beach frontage for my project, I wish that the extent
of two acres be allotted to me from Block A, depicted in
Preliminary Plan No. MR 1171 dated 08/04/2001 made by
Surveyor, J. G. A. Ratnaweera of the Land Commissioner's
Department. A copy of the said plan is annexed hereto for
facility of reference.
an early favourable reply,
lying through his teeth:
insult my son to save your skin
President's Office in a media release, last Saturday denied a
news item which appeared in a Sinhala daily, alleging that MP
Rajitha Senaratne has stated at a media briefing that he has
given President Kumaratunga and her son certain state lands.
The President has instructed the Presidential Secretary to
address a letter to MP Rajitha Senaratne requesting him to
correct this false statement.
the President's Secretary W. J. S. Karunaratne on August 9,
addressed the following letter to MP Rajitha Senaratne:
President's attention has been drawn to the news item which
appeared on the first page of the (Lankadeepa) Sinhala
newspaper of August 9 reporting what you have allegedly stated
at a media conference held at the Opposition Leader's Official
Residence on August 8.
has instructed me to inform you that neither she nor her son
ever obtained any State land or any other State property while
you were the Minister of Lands and therefore she insists on
you to make a public announcement correcting this false
statement purported to have been made by you.
has further instructed me to inform you that you have repeated
this statement several times in the past too.
President is of opinion that certain acts alleged to have been
committed by you while holding a portfolio cannot be concealed
from the public by making public announcements of this nature
intended to discredit the President and her children."
letter to Vimukthi's consultants
of Investment of Sri Lanka
Our Ref: EC/4/7709/04
Ms. D.C. Arnolda
L J Foreign Investment Consultancy Services (Pvt) Ltd.
64, Lotus Road,
to set up a holiday resort at Mirissa
has reference to the application dated 15th July 2004
submitted by you on behalf of your client Mr. K. Vimukthi
Kumaratunga in respect of the above project and the telephone
discussions had with you today by the undersigned regarding
wish to inform you that Sri Lanka Tourist Board has approved
the above project in principle. Therefore, in order to process
the proposal for consideration of the Board, you are kindly
requested to submit details pertaining to financial
credibility of your client and a feasibility report in respect
of the above project.
appreciate if you could submit the above details as early as
possible in order to expedite the approval of the project.
Y. G. Rajapakse
Senior Manager (Investment)
Board Of Investment Of Sri Lanka