week - Hizbullah in the dock
By Frederica Jansz
week this newspaper exposed Defence Affairs Spokesman
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s involvement in a multi
million rupee fraud. A government owned agency has been
defrauded of over Rs. 100 million and the Minister
himself stands culpable of having stolen the monies.
week we have proof that the current Minister for Health,
Sports and IT Education in the Eastern Provincial
Council M. L. A. M. Hizbullah also stands guilty of a
multi million rupee fraud, monies he systematically
defrauded together with his wife.
Hizbullah has declined to pay back a multi million rupee
loan he obtained from a Ceylinco subsidiary despite
having issued countless letters whereby he signed as
guarantor for these loans.
Rs. 67 million released
exceeding Rs. 67 million was released to Hizbullah’s
wife Sithy Rameeza Sahabdeen between 2004 and 2005 when
Hizbullah in his capacity as chairman Airport & Aviation
Services (Sri Lanka) Limited asked that a total of Rs
67.5 million, be released to his wife in several
Hizbullah named his wife as chairperson of four
different companies to which these monies were released
periodically over one and a half years.
monies were taken from Ceylinco Profit Sharing
Investment Corporation Ltd., which was originally
incorporated in May 2002 and named ‘Ceylinco Islamic
Investment Corporation Limited.’ The name was changed a
year later to Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment
Corporation Ltd. There were seven directors of the
company including Lalith Kotelawala, Sicille Kotelawala,
Daniel Jegasothy, Patan Sirisena, Sunil Jayatissa,
Kalukumara Tittawella and Sanka Ravi Wijesinghe.
active party to this massive fraud who according to
Hizbullah also served as a “partner” in the now defunct
companies of which his wife was chairperson was the then
Chief Executive Officer of Ceylinco Profit Sharing,
together with the Hizbullahs systematically bled
Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment Corporation Ltd. dry
over a period of years — ending the ultimate drain of
the company’s resources in July 2007 when Razik was
finally replaced as CEO.
contacted by The Sunday Leader Hizbullah denied having
literally “stolen” Rs.67.5 million and absolved himself
of all responsibility despite having signed as a
guarantor. “I have no responsibility” he insisted,
asserting he “merely issued letters” to “help them”
secure the millions of rupees.
if, at the time he signed the letters as guarantor, he
possessed a sum of Rs. 67.5 million which he could pay
back in the eventuality of the companies collapsing he
replied “No” adding, “It was not necessary — I only did
this as a help and they Ceylinco too stood to benefit as
they were partners in my wife’s companies.”
Rs. 93 million due
date a sum of Rs. 93 million is due to Ceylinco Profit
Sharing from the monies “loaned” to the Hizbullahs as
“interest” or (profit) — the latter terminology used in
such transactions involving the Muslim community. Only
a sum of Rs. 5 million has so far been paid back by
Hizbullah. And that would seem the be all an end of it
as Hizbullah himself clearly has no intention of
settling any further dues. “I don’t owe them a cent,” he
insists with no qualm.
Hizbullah admitted that all four companies of which his
wife served as chairperson “collapsed” and are currently
non existent. Asked what happened to the Rs.67.5 million
rupees “borrowed” from Ceylinco Profit Sharing he
replied “it was all lost.” Asked if he had any intention
of paying the monies back he said “No. Why should I?
This was not my responsibility.”
asked them to regularise matters quickly — they did not
— this was done in collaboration with Korean partners
who never purchased the required stuff before they
pulled out,” he said, asserting that despite the fact
the monies had all been loaned purely on his guarantee
to his wife he had no clue or control as to how the
monies had been spent.
four companies operated under the names of M/s Serendib
Manufacturers Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., M/s Happy Day Lanka (Pvt)
Ltd., Green Flowers MFG (Pvt) Ltd., and M/s Serendib
Clothing Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.
According to Hizbullah the companies manufactured
electric kettles and door closures. The factories he
said were situated at Meetotamulla, Wellampitiya while
one company M/s Serendib Clothing Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.
operated “as the company office” out of an address at
Dutugemunu Street, Dehiwela, also, long since vacated.
Letters of recommendation
letters that Hizbullah signed as then chairman of
Airport & Aviation Services Limited he named his wife as
chairperson of the four different companies and
requested facilities of between Rs. 3 to 12 million on
of the letters dated March 15, 2005, Hizbullah writes,
“Mrs. Sithy Rameeza Shahabdeen is well known to me and I
have no hesitation in recommending, guarantee and
indemnity to you (Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment
Corporation Ltd) for a facility of Rs. 12 million. I
further take responsibility and hereby agree in case of
delay or default by the said Mrs. Rameeza Shahabdeen and
or M/s Serendib Manufacturers Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., that I
would within 7 days of notice by your good self pay to
you in full Rs. 12 million together with any other claim
of yours on the said facility.”
letters of guarantee for the other companies too were
identically worded. The letters are dated from May 2004
to September 2005.
Failing to honour these transactions numerous Letters of
Demand have been sent to Hizbullah over a period of
years by lawyers attached to Ceylinco, but he has not
bothered to answer a single.
was initiated by Ceylinco only after July 2007 when
Razik was replaced by a new CEO, Dr. Rafeek. However
Dr. Rafeek too has reached a stumbling block — as many
of the files pertaining to these transactions have “gone
missing.” Only some photocopies remain. Apart from
that, Ceylinco Profit Sharing has not “a cent” left
company officials told The Sunday Leader with which to
pursue legal action against the Hizbullahs.
Presidential Advisor also caught with his hand in
the cookie jar…
The cheque issued to
N.S. Mohamed for Rs. 6.5 million
a separate but related incident current Presidential
Advisor N. S. Mohamed who was also a Director of
this ‘Sharia Board’ at Ceylinco Profit Sharing
Investment Corporation Ltd., in May 2006 applied for
and was granted a loan amounting to Rs. 6.5 million.
To date, Mohamed has not paid a cent back on the
loan insisting that it was a “donation” given to
him. His official application requesting for a loan
however is in the possession of The Sunday Leader.
Robbing left and right!
Profit Sharing Investment Corporation Ltd., is today
bankrupt. Having had 10,000 depositors the company
had an investment of Rs. 800 million. However due
to mismanagement and fraud the company lost all of
its investments. With 95% of its depositors from the
Muslim community the company re-invested deposits
amounting to some Rs.200 million in the now defunct
F & G Company, also a subsidiary of the Ceylinco
Group. Another Rs. 150 million in the Sussex Group
and another Rs. 500 million was given out as “loans”
to numerous people including a final total of Rs. 93
million to Hizbullah and his wife.
Presidential Advisor Nihas Moulavi played a key role
in forming this company under Islamic Law together
with Lalith Kotelawala. Moulavi too later “helped”
himself to funds taking Rs. 6.5 million and claiming
later the monies were “donated” to him.
company audit has been done in the last five years.