Golden Key Dep. Chairman pleads innocence
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Deputy Chairman of Golden Key Company, Khavan Perera in
an exclusive interview with The Sunday Leader insisted
he is innocent and has been unfairly implicated in the
Golden Key financial scam.
said the disputed Rs. 26 billion remains in the country
and all 9,054 depositors could be repaid despite Golden
Key so far having failed to come up with an acceptable
However, his chief and Chairman, Deshamanya Lalith
Kotelawala continues to maintain he was completely
unaware of any scam despite having collected a monthly
sum of Rs. 3.5 million as part of a monthly remuneration
admitted that tens of thousands of depositors' monies
had been transferred out of Golden Key to Kotelawala's
charities, the Sarana Fund and SOLO U.
Besides drawing Rs. 3. 5 million from Golden Key
assets, Kotelawala has also drawn another Rs. 500,000
for the Sarana Charity Fund, Rs. 2 million for his SOLO
U charity fund and Rs. 350,000 as director's fee.
the matter came up in court last week, Golden Key assets
were frozen with strict orders of non-transfer.
remanded Chief Operating Officer, Golden Key and
Personal Assistant to Deputy Chairman, Padma Nandini
Kumari till March 11 together with Deputy Chairman
Khavan Perera, Finance Director Saradha Sumanasekara,
Manoj Chaminda Jayalath of Ceylinco Insurance, former
Internal Auditor M. Nallanthuvan and directors Suramya
Karunaratne and Niranjan Fernando.
Meanwhile, investigations conducted by the Criminal
Investigation Department have revealed the manner in
which GK directors had siphoned off funds to nine other
subsidiaries of the Ceylinco Group.
transpired that millions of rupees have been taken out
of Sri Lanka to float companies overseas including
Perera and his PA Padma Nandini Kumari have made several
trips last year to Golden Key Investments Australia
Ltd., one of the several new foreign ventures. At the
time of arrest, Kumari had Rs. 144 million in her Golden
Solicitor General Jayamanne told court all this was
public money and requested court to make Sicille
Kotelawala also a suspect in the case.
Jayamanne told court that Mrs. Kotelawala was evading
arrest and had used Golden Key money for personal use
including foreign trips. At the time of retirement as a
Golden Key director, she had drawn a gratuity of Rs.4.5
million for 20 years service.
Sarath Jayamanne told court that Rs. 215 million had
been transferred from Golden Key to maintain the
Ceylinco office and Rs. 266 million transferred to
However, police investigators are unable to access the
Golden Key computer systems due to electricity being
disconnected at its main office at Bambalapitiya.
Lawyers representing the defrauded depositors have
requested court to compel payment of head office utility
bills for investigators to access records.
Despite Perera insisting all 9054 depositors can and
will get their monies back so far, no repayment plan has
were tears at The Sunday Leader office last week by
depositors who lost their life savings amounting to
millions of rupees. Over 75% of the depositors have
deposited less than Rs. 2 million.
said he is to be next produced in court on March 26.
Lasantha killing: Nothing yet
By Nirmala Kannangara
police on Friday confirmed to The Sunday Leader that
they had received the Government Analyst's (GA) report
into the murder of Editor-in-Chief, The Sunday Leader,
However contradicting his earlier stance Police
Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera claimed that the
report would not help to make a breakthrough in the
According to SSP Gunasekera although the police had
received the GA's report, the investigation teams could
not do much unless they receive reliable information
into the assassination.
the police has received the GA's report but how can we
expect any breakthrough from these findings? It may have
given the mode of the weapon used to assassinate
Wickrematunge and the cause of death in addition to
scientific evidence. But how can the police nab the
killers from these findings unless they get first hand
information," queried the SSP.
SSP on many previous occasions told The Sunday Leader
that the GA report was vital for a breakthrough and
added the investigation process was at a standstill due
to the delay in the GA's report.
four police investigation teams that were appointed to
investigate into the killing of Wickrematunge have
failed to make any breakthrough over the past two months
but were making various excuses for their collective
failure The Sunday Leader understands.
Meanwhile SSP Gunasekera further said that the
investigation teams are still probing into the telephone
calls received by Wickrematunge moments before his death
and claimed that the police are yet to trace 'vital
the request of the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate the Moratuwa
University is helping the investigation teams to trace
the telephone numbers," the SSP said. The inquest into
Wickrematunge's murder is scheduled to be held on
Thursday, March 19 at the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's
CPJ urges Sri Lankan ambassador to
investigate media attacks
delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists on
March 5 met the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United
States and called for a comprehensive and transparent
investigation into a series of recent attacks against
the press that may have involved government forces.
the independence of the Sri Lankan judiciary, Ambassador
Jaliya Wickramasuriya said he was unable to offer any
assurances about the scope of the investigation. "The
Government of Sri Lanka is perturbed by threats against
media workers and especially repulsed by the alleged
attacks on media workers," the Ambassador told the
further said that the government in no way condones or
endorses any such attacks and said that the attacks on
journalists may have been perpetrated by "terrorists"
seeking to embarrass the government.
we appreciate the opportunity to convey our concerns
directly to the Ambassador and his staff, we hoped to
emerge from the meeting with assurances of a robust and
vigorous investigation into these appalling crimes,"
said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
worst attack came on January 8, when the Editor-in-Chief
of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was killed
in his car on his way to work. CPJ produced a special
report, Failure To Investigate, detailing this assault
and others after a trip to
at the end of January.
has been impunity for those who attack journalists in
Sri Lanka, and there have been attempts to intimidate
and silence critics of the government. Journalists who
are critical should not be targeted as part of the
government's military objective," Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia
Programme Coordinator told Wickramasuriya.
Meanwhile the CPJ highlighted three specific cases that
are in need of urgent attention. Tamil journalist J.S.
Tissainayagam has had to spend a year behind bars as of
March 7, and is facing implausible terrorism charges.
Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, the editor of two
Tamil-language papers, was detained on February 27 for
alleged contact with the suicide bombers that attacked
Colombo on February 20.
Athas, the Sri Lankan Sunday Times defence columnist
and a former CPJ award winner, has been under constant
harassment, and has been in and out of the country for
months, fearing for his life.
also raised concern about a consistently high level of
violence towards journalists that rose in January with
three incidents and the ongoing restrictions on
main control room at the Sirasa TV came under an arson
attack on January 6 while the prominent editor of The
Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge was brutally
assassinated by an unidentified gunmen on January 8 and
Editor Rivira Publications, Upali Tennakoon was attacked
by four men on January 23, which resulted in him
sustaining severe injuries and made him to flee the
CPJ delegation board members included Andrew Alexander,
David Marash, Clarence Page and Mark Whitaker in
addition to Joel Simon, CPJ's Executive Director, and
Washington Representative Frank Smyth. Marash has posted
a blog entry about the meeting on CPJ's web site.
According to CPJ's records, since President Rajapakse
took office, eight journalists have been killed of what
CPJ considers to be premeditated murder. No one has been
brought to trial in any of these cases, according to CPJ
testified about the threats to the Sri Lankan media in
front of a Senate subcommittee in the Middle East and
South Asia on February 24.
ICRC to continue evacuations
By Raisa Wickrematunge
ICRC has so far transported 3175 patients and their
accompanying relatives to Trincomalee since February 10.
The organisation said that it will continue to
facilitate transportation of essential items to
Mullaithivu despite the prevalent conditions in the
Media Coordinator, Sarasi Wijeyaratne said that the ICRC
had facilitated the shipment of foodstuffs provided by
the World Food Programme (WFP) from Trincomalee to
Puthumathalan. Wijeyaratne said the shipment contained
flour, dhal, sugar and vegetable oil.
ship was contracted to transport 500 metric tonnes of
food, but had only been able to offload 142 tonnes of
the food due to bad weather. "The navy actually
requested the captain of the ship to return to
Trincomalee because it was raining badly, so they were
unable to offload the remainder of the food,"
Wijeyaratne said. She added that the remaining cargo
would be offloaded on March 13.
Wijeyaratne further noted that, "In the nine evacuations
we have carried out, the ICRC has transported 3,175
patients and relatives in total, since we commenced this
operation on February 10."
added that the ICRC would continue such evacuation
movements, adding that the organisation would need the
security assurances of both parties in the combat zone.
She added that the ICRC had no reason to believe that
their vessels were being directly targeted.
Police on slashing Ravi's security
police have sent a clarification on a news story
published in The Sunday Leader on March 1 under the
headline 'Ravi's Security Slashed.'
Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekara in his clarification
has said that UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake's security was
reduced to four from seven, as he did not have any
"According to his position as a Member of Parliament, he
is entitled to only four security officers."
"However, out of the seven security officers provided to
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake in the past, three security
officers were withdrawn by the Inspector General of
police as there were no known threats to him,"
said that there was no information from the state
intelligence service of any possible threats to the
Former SLRFU council told to send
observations on audit query
By Dilrukshi Handunetti
Sports Ministry has written to all 22 members of the
former Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) Governing
Council requiring them to submit their responses and
observations to a February 17 audit query within the
next 10 days.
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Public
Recreation, H. M. B. C. Herath wrote to all members with
copies of the audit query dated February 17, (Query No:
PY/B/SA/2008/04) by V. P. P. Fonseka (signed on behalf
of the Assistant Auditor General) seeking clarifications
on a number of issues.
and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge first
referred the financial statement of the previous
administration to the Auditor General amidst allegations
of alleged mismanagement of SLRFU funds in the year
2008. Subsequently, the Minister instructed the Ministry
Secretary to refer the same to the Permanent Commission
Investigating into Allegations of Bribery and Corruption
following the Auditor General's rejection of a financial
statement prepared under its controversial President
Minister Gamini Lokuge when contacted by The Sunday
Leader said that it was a matter of course until the
Ministry sought official clarifications from the former
administrators but said after The Sunday Leader
published the audit query, there was renewed public
The Sunday Leader on an earlier occasion questioned the
Snr. DIG regarding the audit query that referred to his
tenure as SLRFU President, his response was that he was
not responsible, but the union was.
position is that they must answer," Minister Lokuge
said, adding that the former administration's financial
management was indeed questionable on the face of it
former council was headed by Snr. DIG Nimal Lewke
(President), Asanga Seneviratne (Deputy President), S.
P. Duke Hamid (Secretary), Nandi Anthony (Treasurer),
Dilroy Fernando (Executive Director) and 17 others.
Clinton expresses concern over
of life in the northern "safe zone"
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed deep
concern over the deteriorating conditions and increasing
loss of life occurring in the Government of Sri
Lanka-designated "safe zone" in northern Sri Lanka
during a telephone conversation with President Mahinda
Rajapakse on Friday (13).
Clinton's conversation, she had said the Sri Lankan Army
should not fire into the civilian areas of the conflict
zone and had offered immediate and post-conflict
Following is the official communiqu‚ issued by the US
government following Clinton's telephone conversation
"Humanitarian Situation in
Deputy Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesman,
of Public Affairs,
March 13, Secretary Clinton called Sri Lankan President
Rajapaksa to express the
deep concern over the deteriorating conditions and
increasing loss of life occurring in the Government of
Sri Lanka-designated "safe zone" in northern Sri Lanka.
The Secretary stated that the Sri Lankan Army should not
fire into the civilian areas of the conflict zone. The
Secretary offered immediate and post-conflict
reconstruction assistance and she extended condolences
to the victims of the March 10 bombing outside a mosque
She condemned the actions of the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who are reported to be holding
civilians as human shields, and to have shot at
civilians leaving LTTE areas of control.
Secretary Clinton called on President Rajapaksa to
devise a political solution to the ongoing conflict. She
urged the President to give international humanitarian
relief organisations full access to the conflict area
and displaced persons camps, including screening
United States believes that a durable and lasting peace
will only be achieved through a political solution that
addresses the legitimate aspirations of all of Sri
Lanka's communities. We call on the Sri Lankan
Government to put forward a proposal now to engage
Tamils who do not espouse violence or terrorism, and to
develop power sharing arrangements so that lasting peace
and reconciliation can be achieved."
Many families separated due to
conflict says ICRC
ICRC yesterday said that many families have been
separated while fleeing conflict zones.
issues faced by the IDPs were taken up when the ICRC and
the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society met with Resettlement
and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishad Bathiudeen
on Friday (13).
the process of displacement, many families have become
separated or have lost contact with relatives in other
parts of the country, or abroad. The Movement offered to
help them reestablish contact and reunite," the ICRC
ICRC in a statement following the meeting said that the
movement had offered to improve access to medical care
by upgrading existing health infrastructure, providing
first-aid services and mobile medical clinics, running
an ambulance service and engaging in physical and
"According to the authorities, over 36,000 people have
left the conflict zone since December 2008 and are
living at sites in Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna
districts. All possible measures must be taken to ensure
that these people are received in a safe environment,
under adequate conditions of shelter, hygiene, health
and nutrition. They must also be allowed to return
voluntarily to their homes as soon as conditions
Govt. attempting to silence
intellectuals - UNP
UNP last week said it was time for the educational
institutions also to rise against violence against
General Secretary Tissa Attanayake commenting on the
abduction of Prof. Dhammika Ganganath Dissanayake said
the government was in the process of silencing
Dissanayake, former Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC)
chairman and a senior lecturer at the
University was abducted on Wednesday (11) and released
the following morning.
stated that two persons had arrived at his house
demanding to know whether he was writing a book against
the government. The persons who had identified
themselves as from the police had then searched the
house. He was later asked accompany them for questioning
and was taken in a white van.
persons had taken him from his house, blindfolded.
February 27, the Dinamina newspaper carried a news
article that Prof. Dissanayake was tasked by UNP Leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe to write a book against the
government. Prof. Dissanayake however had denied the
Dissanayake said the abductors wanted to know whether he
was writing a book against the regime. He said that he
was not writing any book against the government.
Govt. ready to welcome Pillai to SL
By B. M. Murshideen
Government yesterday said it would welcome United
Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai to Sri
Lanka any time.
Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe responding to a question posed by The
Sunday Leader said that he has also extended an
invitation to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights
during his meeting with her in Geneva recently.
government yesterday held a press briefing to explain
the Government's stance on the statement released by the
UNHRC on Friday (13).
Samarasinghe also said the UNHR Commissioner had not
given any details or discussed with him her concerns
during his meeting. He pointed out that Pillai should
have discussed her concerns either with him or the Sri
Lankan Representative in Geneva.
Samarasinghe also charged that Pillai's statement
carried details and figures, which were published in the
asked whether he made any request from the UNHR
Commissioner on behalf of the Government to release a
joint statement after his meeting with Pillai,
Samarasinghe said they should do it and that even UNHR
Commissioner should include the Sri Lankan Government's
details in her statement.
UN expert calls on
Govt. and LTTE to prevent civilian casualties
The United Nations independent expert
on internally displaced people, Walter Kalin referring
to the conflict in Sri Lanka has called upon the
government and the LTTE to do their utmost to prevent
civilian casualties and to allow for the safe evacuation
of those trapped in the conflict zone.
Kalin, who is the Representative of
the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally
Displaced Persons, speaking shortly after presenting his
annual report to the United Nations Human Rights Council
which is currently in session in Geneva, has expressed
grave concern at reports that the LTTE are preventing
civilians from fleeing the conflict zone and may be
holding civilians as human shields.
He also appealed to the Government
and rebels to allow civilians to evacuate the conflict
zone in the country’s north.
Kalin also urged the Sri Lankan
Government to provide all internally displaced persons
escaping hostilities with all necessary protection and
assistance. He recalled that internally displaced
persons, as citizens, retain their right to freedom of
movement and must not be confined to camps.
"While security screenings may be
conducted upon arrival, they should be concluded
promptly and individuals retained only in accord with
judicial process and on the basis of individualized
suspicion," Kalin has said.
He has called for more attention to
be paid to some of the world’s most serious displacement
crises, including those caused by natural disasters and
by the conflicts in Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
"More than 26 million people in the
world are displaced due to conflicts and violence,"
Kalin has said. "There is an urgent need for the
international community to pay more attention to some of
the worst crisis situations."
Also driving displacement is climate
change, which threatens to increase the frequency and
severity of natural disasters, leading to greater
numbers of IDPs, he has said. "Governments have to make
a greater effort to prepare for natural disasters and,
in particular, to protect disaster-affected populations,
including the displaced."
assaulted and office set ablaze
A case of election related violence
was reported yesterday when a JVP office was set ablaze
and two supporters allegedly assaulted early yesterday
The JVP yesterday alleged that a gang
of UPFA supporters had assaulted two JVP supporters and
set fire to the JVP office at Malapalla.
JVP supporters, R.A.D. Saman Wasantha
and Kapilasiri Nandana were allegedly assaulted by the
UPFA supporters at 12.45 a.m. yesterday while they were
removing propaganda boards set up for the JVP’s rally
held on Wednesday (11).
Nandana was admitted to the Homagama
Hospital for treatment.
According to the JVP, the armed UPFA
supporters had arrived in a white Prado vehicle and
after assaulting Saman Wasantha and Nandana had traveled
towards the JVP’s Malapalla office and set it ablaze
around 1 a.m.
The JVP has lodged complaint bearing
No. EIB 20/41 at the Homagama Police regarding the
The Homagama Police told The Sunday Leader
that one of the suspects in the assault case was
arrested and later released on bail. (MIA)
Arrested for selling Tamil
By Nirmala Kannangara
Manager, Poobalasingam Book Depot at Wellawatte who was
taken into custody on March 5 by the Mt. Lavinia Police
is being kept under a Detention Order (D/O), Police
Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told The Sunday
Mt. Lavinia Police arrested Manager Sritharasing at his
Wellawatte residence on March 5 for distributing the
South Indian weekly magazine Ananda Vihadan which was
in support of the LTTE, SSP Gunasekera said.
Gunasekera told The Sunday Leader that Sritharasing has
been charged for distributing Tamil magazines published
South India that are in support of the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
magazines were to be sent to Jaffna and were detected at
the Ratmalana Airport," SSP Gunasekera said. According
to Gunasekera, Sritharasing is being kept under a DO and
is being interrogated by the Mt. Lavinia Police.
However when queried as to when he would be produced in
courts, the SSP said that depends on the investigation
report. "The police are now probing as to how he got
down the magazines from South India and how he got
customs clearance. Once the police get all the details
he would be produced in court," SSP Gunasekera added.
Victims of Akuressa blast paid
By Raisa Wickrematunge
45 people injured and at least 15 people killed in the
Akuressa suicide blast, only 33 of the injured, and the
dependents of 10 of those killed received compensation,
according to the Resettlement and Disaster Relief
Services Minister, Rishard Bathiudeen. Of the people
injured in the blast three are currently at the Colombo
National Hospital, while the majority of the patients
are at the Matara General Hospital.
Director General, Colombo National Hospital, Dr. Hector
Weerasinghe, confirmed that the three patients admitted
with injuries were on the path to recovery. Weerasinghe
said the Post and Telecommunications Minister, Mahinda
Wijesekara, was still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),
following surgery. He also confirmed that the two other
patients, former Southern Province Chief Minister H. G.
Sirisena and his son, were in a stable condition.
Bathiudeen said that when he visited the Matara General
Hospital there were 33 patients who had been admitted
with injuries following the blast. He added that each of
these people had received Rs. 10,000 as compensation.
Bathiudeen added that he had visited several funeral
homes of victims of the Akuressa attack. "We visited two
homes in Weligama, one in Gintota and another in Matara,
and we paid the families of these victims a partial
compensation of Rs. 75,000," Minister Bathiudeen said.
He added that six other families had been awarded
Rs.100,000 as compensation. Bathiudeen also said that
the hospital had been instructed to pay compensation to
any others who qualified for compensation.
Minister further said that to his knowledge there were
no requests for compensation in respect of damage to
property and that if there were any whose property had
been damaged by the blast, they would be awarded
compensation in respect of the damage suffered.
press release from the Ministry of Defence, Public
Security, Law and Order stated that anyone who
organised national events in which the general public
participated would now need to obtain permission from
the Defence Ministry.
statement said that those who organise local events
should obtain permission for same from the closest
police station, and that all who organise events for
the Sinhala and Hindu New Year too should ensure that
they have permission from the relevant authorities.
Four Karuna supporters killed
are on the lookout for the attackers of the supporters
of newly appointed National Integration and
Reconciliation Minister and former TMVP head,
persons, who were loyalists of Muralitharan, were killed
last Friday when unidentified gunmen attacked their
office in Sammanthurai.
Muralitharan's spokesperson D. Kamalanathan said that it
was not clear as to who had carried out the attack.
"Anything is possible. At the moment, we do not know who
is behind the attack," Kamalanathan said.
Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekara told The Sunday
Leader that there were no developments in the
Kamalanathan added that they were looking into the
matter and the steps to be taken with regard to the
safety of the supporters would be discussed later.
said that the LTTE could have been behind the attack,
because of previous reports of their presence in the
nearby jungle areas. Kamalanathan however said that they
were only assumptions and nothing had been confirmed.
sources denied any connection with the attack.
TMVP last week officially handed over their weapons to
the security forces and called upon other armed groups
to join the democratic mainstream.