Sunanda Deshapriya’s explanation
We reproduce below — unedited — an email circulated
by Sunanda Deshapriya following The Sunday Leader
article last week on the misappropriation of monies
belonging to the Safety Fund:
Dear all FMM members,
Today (May 24) Sunday Leader has carried an article
on FMM Safety Fund and accusing me for
misappropriation of money. This SLPI report has been
leaked to Sunday Leader just two days before its
Under the Safety fund
FMM did a great service to safeguard of lives of media freedom
activists and threatened journalists. It was 5 media
organistaions led by
FMM, which defend media freedom in the face of
unprecedented media suppression in Sri Lanka.
Leaking of this SLPI document to the Sunday Leader
is also part of the plan to destroy FMM and other
media organizations various persons with vested
Sunday Leader story has number of inaccuracies; some
of them are fellows. I propose that FMM write a
reply to Sunday Leader after the AGM.
SLPI did not send me this report.
was given a report on 15th May 2009 by FMM convener
and I have sent my comments on the same day,
FMM sent the draft narrative report last October and steering committee
approved it in general and after that revised report
has been sent to
FMM by my self.
FMM safety fund was implementation of activities, I have
implemented activities as in the proposal in
consultation with the steering committee, accounts
were the responsibility of the treasure.
resigning from Safety fund steering committee on
conflict of interest – it was decided only on
October steering committee meeting for both my self
and SLPI DG Ranga Kanasooriya to resign, I resigned
as soon as it was decided by the steering committee.
Personally I do not agree with the number of points
raised in the SLPI audit report, SLPI should have
had a discussion with FMM before making a claim to
return the money
FMM convener gave me a copy of
SPLI report on 15th May for my responses, I sent my
responses within two hours: they are fellows.
17th May 2009.
comments to SLPI letter dated March 21 2009 to
The approach of the letter is inappropriate. Before
asking FMM to return any funds SLPI should have held
FMM. Auditors too should have discussed with
FMM before making final report. There was no
discussion held with
FMM by the auditors appointed by SLPI.
Advance payment to Poddala Jayantha rented house –
His rental period only cones to an end by July 2009.
This baseless claim.
Advance payment to Sanath Balasuriya rented house -
for safety reasons Santh Balasuriya has left the
country. FMM need time to communicate with him
Altered and false payments:
Door intercom was installed by the landlord him
self. FMM do not check the address of bills.
Auditors should have talked to the Landlord before
making this claim.
FMM would like to see these bills before making a
Office rent –
FMM want to know how SLPI obtained
FMM project proposals and want to know whether it
has any right to look in to FMM proposals without
FMM permission. FMM has not claimed all rents form
Coordinator salary – missing voucher can be
re-produced without any problem.
Printing post cards – quotation can be produced.
There is not obligation in the agreement to provide
quotations for all safety work. These activities
done in hurry and with some secrecy for safety
Payment to Vincent Jeyan – He has left the country
for safety reasons. FMM need time to sort this out.
Double payment – Need to check with Vincent Jeyan
Payment to Lanka E news was for a protest poster,
SLPI letter does not indicate what is the issue with
Mobile payment. – this was a block payment, no
bills were required,.
10. Mobile payment – need to check
11. Payment paid journalists families – need to
check. In this case aditors should have checked with
the families if they receive the money or not as
they have checked with Supermarket bills.
12. Need to check.
13. CMEV expenses – This is a wrong entry. This trip
was made to meet eastern province journalists to
ascertain the safety issues during the election
time. This only need to change the entry.
14. Need to check. Difference is only 40.00 SLR.
15. Participant list can be provided, FMM can
provide evidence that course was held.
16. Purchase of Laptop – this was explained to
steering committee meeting held in October and
FMM decided to buy the laptop for safety reasons. Desk cannot
be carried home to work any time of the day. Sanatha
Balasooriya who used the laptop was moving from
place to place in those days.
17. Need to check and can be ratified.
18. Need to check and can be ratified
19. Laundry bill was on the person who went to the
This letter shows SLPI’s total inability grasp the
situation FMM and its activist worked under
unprecedented media suppression. Any Safety fund has
to be flexible. FMM never sent a project proposal to
SLPI. FMM want to know where this funds came and why
it was given to SLPI.
Sunanda seeks money from same fund for Geneva trip
Despite standing accused of misappropriating
millions of rupees from a Safety Fund for which
monies were given for the protection of journalists
under threat, Sunanda Deshapriya has on May 5,
written asking for more monies from this same fund
to be given to him to go to Geneva to attend a
conference on human rights.
Following is the e-mail message sent by Deshapriya:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sunanda Deshapriya <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, May 5, 2009 at 10:23 PM
Subject: safety fund
To: Johan Romare <email@example.com>, Henrik
Thomas Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ranga
Kalansooriya <email@example.com>, Sonny
sam de silva <firstname.lastname@example.org>
you may know FMM safety fund has allocation to
Geneva to engage in Press Freedom Advocacy,
But Fund is not active yet, money is getting rusted
while we do not have funds to do advocacy as
there anyway funds allocated to Geneva advocacy can
be utilized or
SLPI safety fund supporting my travel and daily
expenses, I am trying to raise funds to be there for
the June secession of HRC,
Explanation for the delay in banking Rs.192,000
Below we reproduce — unedited — the email circulated
by Sunanda Deshapriya in response to the findings of
FMM audit report:
have received FMM internal audit report from sources
FMM. FMM has not sent this to me yet.
First I like to know who leaked this to media? Who
had the soft copy?
think best course of action would have been to
submit report of recommendations to FMM AGM until
persons named in the report get a opportunity to
respond. It is unethical to make a report publish
without giving a time for persons named in the
report to respond.
organistation make detailed internal audit reports
public, I know this from CPA very well. Now this
report has made public I need to make this
The auditors never asked me for explanation on the
entry on SLR 192,000 I handed over to FMM.
The report says I have kept he money for 10 months
That is wrong.
only received 180,000 to be sent to IFJ in
February, and as I couldn’t send the money aborad
because of foreign exchange regulations I handed
over 192.000 to FMM (Accountant Faizal) in early
June, 12.000 being the interest for the 180,000.00
in three months, Sandamali Devcasurendra can be a
witness for this if auditors to find out. If the
money was not banked in June that has to be inquired
from Faizal Anser, the accountant of CPA,
this money came form a CPA proposal and CPA asked me
to return the money without interest I handed over
another SLR 180,000.00 to CPA in December 2009. As
I have paid the money to CPA now this SLR 192,000.00
is paid form my personal savings.
The auditors could have get in touch with me easily
if they wanted.
According to the FMM constitutions it is the
treasurer, who is responsible for r keeping
have not interfered with accounts in my involvement
in FMM at all in any time. All treasurers will
Poddala Jayantha’s response to the audit query
Following the article published in last week’s The
Sunday Leader on the misappropriation of the Safety
Fund, Secretary, Working Journalists’ Association,
Poddala Jayantha has sent a response to the query
raised in the SLPI audit report.
The SLPI audit report called on Jayantha to return a
sum of Rs. 50,000 paid from Safety Fund monies, as a
deposit for a safe house taken for him.
Below is an English translation of Jayantha’s
response which was sent to us in Sinhala:
had to intervene in a lot of situations as secretary
of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association in
the recent past during severe suppression of the
media. It is a well known fact that my life was
under great threat as I opposed the suppression of
the media. After the police visited my house at
night, I had to leave my residence to find a safer
place. My house was located in an area called
Diyakada, which is about 8 km from the Kahatuduwa
junction on the Colombo-Horana Road.
Considering the situation, the Free Media Movement
that was handling the Safety Fund established with
the Sri Lanka Press Institute, got me the house at
the above mentioned address (...... Nugegoda), for a
period of one year. The house was taken on rent
after a legally binding lease agreement and
registering it at the Land Registry. (Copy of the
lease agreement attached to the letter.)
Apart from a one year rent advance, the house owner
also kept another Rs. 50,000 as security deposit
that would be returned after the lease period comes
to an end. The lease to this house comes to an end
on June 18, 2009.
While I’m planning to vacate this house by June 20,
2009, the house owner would release the above
mentioned Rs. 50,000 at that time. The monies would
be immediately handed over to the Free Media
Movement, which would in turn hand it over to the
The funny thing in this whole issue is that while a
copy of the lease agreement has been given to the
Press Institute, on letter dated March 21, 2009,
they have requested for this Rs. 50,000.
came to this safe location after vacating my house
because my life was under threat. While a copy of
the lease agreement was given to them and a request
made not to publicise it as the document contained
the address that is supposed to be kept a secret,
the Press Institute released the address to a
private audit firm to investigate the house I was
living in for my safety.
is also interesting to note that those who came to
investigate did not even possess an ID issued to
them by the respective audit firm. It is in this
manner that the Press Institute revealed the house I
was living in for my safety.