16 June, 2024


Exclusive: Another Scandal Rocks The United National Party

In what is acute embarrassment to the already shamed United National Party after the Treasury bond fiasco is another very shocking scandal.

The Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake asked the Director General of Customs Jagath P. Wijeweera to give sweeping duty concessions to his privately owned firm. He flatly refused the demand on the grounds that the country would lose millions of dollars. Because he could not continue to stand undue pressure being brought on him for favours costing millions to the country, Wijeweera tendered his resignation on Monday to Treasury Secretary Dr R.H.S. Samaratunga.

Ravi KarunanayakeThough Wijeweera said he is quitting due to “personal reasons,” he confessed to close friends in the Customs Department he could not bear Karunanayake’s interference into fiscal matters not only on behalf of his private firm but also various suspicious businessmen. For his private company Global Park which provides warehousing and logistical services he had wanted duty concessions running into millions of dollars granted. Karunanayake had also been in the habit of telephoning Wijeweera almost every day to seek duty waivers, withdrawal of fines and other concessions for several businessmen. He told his friends that he could no longer continue to do things Karunanayake wanted and be answerable for public moneys.

On Monday night, as we reported, Karunanayake announced Wijeweera’s resignation and said the exact reason was not revealed. The Finance Minister claimed that Wijeweera might have resigned due to ongoing investigations to determine the reasons for the considerable loss that had been reported in the Customs Department in the recent past. A senior Customs officer handling revenue told Colombo Telegraph the Customs were now earning a record revenue of five billion rupees a day. The same officer said Wijeweera enjoyed President Sirisena’s confidence, regardless of allegations against him and therefore served in the Assets Recovery Task Force too.

The talking point in Colombo’s private sector, which Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has despised as being of no use, is how it was easy to get the UNP Government to get any job done if one got around Finance Minister Karunanayake. Two examples being cited are those of Nissanka Senadhipathi, owner of Avant Garde Maritime Services (who is facing a CID inquiry) and Lalith Kotelawala, Chairman of the Ceylinco Group of Companies. Added to that, Karunanayake has also been personally approaching foreign business concerns with Sri Lankan connections. Both Senadipathi and Kotelawala reportedly made substantial donations fronted reportedly for the UNP to be spent on the general elections. If any went to the UNP and how much it was is not known.

The UPFA opposition was on Tuesday amending their Vote of No Confidence on Finance Minister Karunanayake to include the reasons behind Director General Wijeweera’s resignation. They are also including references to Arjun Aloysius, Karunanayake’s bosom friend and financial supporter. Arjun is the son-in-law of Arjuna Mahendran, a foreigner who is Governor of the Central Bank and at the centre of the Central Bank’s scandalous bond issue. The UPFA opposition says there were five persons who were in the know of the bond issue well in advance – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Karunanayake, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema, Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Arjun Aloysius.

During the presidential election campaign both Wickremesinghe and Karunanayake shouted loud from political rallies about bribery and corruption by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his family. They promised that they would be brought to book. However, after elections, Wickremasinghe directed the Attorney General Yuvanjan Wijetilleka not to arrest Rajapaksa or his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There were a lot of reservations within the UNP when Karunanayake was named Minister of Finance by Wickremasinghe. Many businessmen have been told by top UNP members that Karunanayake was raising funds for the elections but some are dismissing these statements.

UNPers are also shocked that President Maithripala Sirisena, who also spoke out against bribery and corruption is maintaining dead silence. Many reports about Finance Minister Karunanayake’s deals have reached him but no action has been taken. An SLFP Minister said the President was waiting for the COPE report. Members of the COPE sitting daily to inquire into the scandal involving the UNP leadership and Governor Mahendran.

Related stories;

Stolen State Assets Recovery Task Force Member Resigns From Sri Lanka Customs

Customs Officials Demand Ransom Of Rs.120 Million – Custom Chief Wijeweera Under Fire

Deal Or No Deal: Customs Chief Wijeweera In A Rs.100 Million Defraud Deal?

Lawlessness In Customs Costs Govt Dearly: Tyre Importer Says

Customs DG’s Collusion To Embezzle Hundreds Of Millions Tax Revenue Reported To President Sirisena

Exposed: Rajapaksa’s Blood Ivory Robbery: Justice Rohini Lies Internationally

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Latest comments

  • 6

    If i ask a tortoise to stop all malpractices in the sky and regulate it what do you think of me.

  • 32

    In the first place why did Ranil, the backdoor
    Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasingha appoint
    Ravi Karunanayake as Finance Minister? RW is
    not the Mr Clean as portrayed. He is very
    much tainted now. I don’t trust him. God
    Save Sri Lanka

    • 1

      Almost all political leaders people appoints are crooks..What are the options RW have?

      • 0

        Simple. Deal or no deal ! I,as an ordinary man, once
        said no to a loan of Rs 40 million in 1992 for a
        commercial project that creates employments because
        I knew, at the end I will be held responsible for the
        money and I will have to resort to lies and deception
        in order to escape responsibility. Why all this ?
        Likewise, if all political leaders are corrupt, then
        better not give them leadership or be part of it !

    • 3


      Elect Sumanthiran as Prime Minister and you will see milk and honey all over this blessed island – but Sumanthiran is an ‘outcast’ to become a PM in this country….! Yes, God bless Sri Lanka!!

  • 33

    an immediate complaint should be lodged with the police or the FCID for trying to defraud the country of its revenues.It should be easy to trace the telephone calls and ask ravi why he has to call the customs chief every day. Also if the contents of the call can also be heard that would be still better.CID should take a statement from wijeweera.Ravi must be grilled by the FCID or CID from 9AM to 3PM.otherwise siri might as well put his yahapalanaya up his arse.

    • 13

      FCID is headed by the PM isn’t it? I think that itself should tell you what will happen if you complained to the FCID.

  • 14

    Its time to handle. Such filth would put the country backward as it was during the past 10 years. Mr. Prime Minister / Cabinet / parliament now you are on the line.

  • 16

    i’m loving every bit of this gawa-palane

    • 0

      Better than the Kimbul-palaney ! Even the Kolla is safe !

  • 17

    How can one trust Ranil Wickremesinghe. He wins
    the public trust and mortgages it for his personal
    ends. He uses rogues to make money. Two cabinet
    ministers who he chose Ravi Karunanayake and John
    Ameratunga are known for their shady activities.
    Still RW trusts them.

    He tells one things publicly and manipulates
    other things from the back of the people. A vote
    to the UNP at the next elections will be another
    vote for bribery and corruption.

    All because Maithripala Sirisena cannot act.

    • 0

      There’s no one in politics for you to trust in the
      paradise, it’s all about going for the less harmful.
      In the paradise almost all politicos enter politics
      on personal agendas.”you scratch my back and I’ll
      scratch yours” is the motto ! The general public has
      no choice because they don’t take risks to change the
      pattern. If people want a change, change will come.
      At the moment,JVP is the change, they are the thieves
      catching machine that everybody else is dying to avoid.
      But how they will handle the business,corrupt to the
      core, can not be predicted. Catching thieves not enough
      for creating more business. People must increase their
      representation in the parliament for more from them !

  • 9

    This Ravindran [Edited out].He knows nothing about Finance other than [Edited out]. If Ranil is Mr Clean, why did he appointed this [Edited out] to FM position?. Why our YAHAPALANA president silent on him and Arjuna case too. Where are the Chmapikas, Sobitha, JVP & JHU gang?

  • 12

    There is a saying in Tamil “Nakkundar Na Elanthar” meaning if you have eaten out of the hands of another person you will be tongue tied to criticize that person’s misdeeds.

    That is the case of President Sirisena. He became President with the support and help of UNPers and how can anyone expect President Sirisena to reign in on the UNPers involved in corruption and other misdeeds. This is not the first time that accusations against Ravi Karunnayake had been levelled for illegal or immoral practices. Most of the present day Sri Lankan politicians are upto one or other acts of corruption or misdeeds and there are no saints either in the UNP or SLFP or for that matter in any other Sri Lankan political party.

    I think President Sirisena will go down in the Sri Lankan political history as the most ineffective government leader since independence. He has neither charisma nor any basic attributes to be the country’s dynamic leader. In the one hundred odd days he was in power, President Sirisena has demonstrated that he cannot think and act on his own. He like the former US President George W Bush is living on borrowed brains. At least in the case of George W Bush he had the personal determination to finish off what his father George H.W.Bush started in Iraq by invading that country once again and killing its leader Saddam Hussein.

  • 7

    Wheels within wheels? Do not discount the theory that Jagath Wijeweera resigned because he was under investigation. He may be making a case for himself by blaming the Minister. If the Minister has been up to no good, then sack him. But hold your horses for the moment! How clean is CT? Do we know?

  • 9

    The writer has not identified himself. Not even a pen name. This article seems like a Rajapakse supporters’ ploy to discredit the government. Nothing in the article is substantiated. If this is true Mr Wijeweera or the writer himself should report the matter to FCID. Personally I think this article is a farce.

    • 4

      Oh you poor thing

    • 1

      Though you finger point to the writer who has written this news item to CT as a Rajapaksha pro, you seems to be a blind supporter of UNP and their crooks. It is a widely accepted fact that Wijeweera is a brave govt. servant who’s been appointed to a commission recently by none other than the incumbent Executive President, Maithreepala Sirisena. And Adrian, you are reluctant to accept this story as true but you take no time to embrace all the fabricated stories that go against Rajapakshas. What a laughing stock you are Adrian!

  • 5

    You don’t put foxes to guard the hen house. You find the most honest people to run this country, if you do not want to follow the footsteps of the previous regime and want to run a government free of corruption and has the best interest of the nation not their own pockets. From the beginning RK was looked upon with suspicion, and this posting was a bad move. All politicians are dishonest, but surely this country deserves those untainted and without an ugly reputation? This new government should have made sure they were not going to do what the previous regime has been accused of.

  • 4

    Ravi K., If you have done something like this , without any hesitations you must take the full responsibility and shame on you. You are solely responsible for your actions. It is not the people who elected this govt. or raise their voices against corrupted and work for the Rainbow Revolution. We don’t know the real facts yet. We are not saying Wijeweera is good official at all. He has been a MR lackey for years and also accused and involved in many cases including fabric containers release and take bribery from certain people. But nothing can be justify by this of behaviour. You always fought against corruption and abuse of power. How can you do something like this? Answer us immediately! Otherwise we will definitely campaign against you and I don’t think country need politicians like you anymore!

  • 8

    Adrian has fallen from the moon on
    Sri Lanka. When there is no name
    to an article, he thinks it is
    fictitious. Where in the world are
    you living? How many reports do you
    read in the papers, see on
    television and hear on the radio!!
    You don’t go looking for who wrote
    it unless you are trying to draw
    a red herring. You are insulting the
    intelligence of CT readers

  • 3

    Wijeweera must state his reasons for resignation in the media.
    If he has not done anything wrong, he must say so.
    Instead, blaming and allowing accusations against Ranil is unacceptable.
    Why should he fear the truth?

  • 8

    Bond scandal is still hot and here is another one. The whole country knows about Ravi K. This is an accident waiting to happen. Now we can see that the days are numbered for UNP. There is a good possibility that Mahinda might come back to power as he is a lesser crook than these UNP fellows.

    • 4

      You are day dreaming. what we have seen in last 10 years is much worse than this . Even if this is true, still we have a democracy and freedom. When we have democracy and freedom we can make a difference in all kind of rough waters. What Rajapaksa maffia this to this country is unimaginable with these minor things. Therefore don’t try to whitewash defeated people, who rejected by the masses and old corrupted dictators anymore.

      • 2

        Sapumal koluwoo, this is for 3 months. 10 years mean 360 months. If these guys would be in power for 360 month, they will be 1000 time more than last 10 year. wait and see who is going to get the cup.

  • 8

    Where are the so called ‘Mr/Ms cleans’ by the names of ‘amarasiri’, ‘metilda ellepola’, ‘sri lal’ etc., and other LTTE minded “critiques” who take no time to bash Rajapakshas over “corruption” and various “malpractices”(though none of them have proved right – yet) with filth language?

  • 11

    “There is a saying in Tamil “Nakkundar Na Elanthar” meaning if you have eaten out of the hands of another person you will be tongue tied to criticize that person’s misdeeds.”

    SIRA is a puppet on a string.

  • 7

    Ranil uses other to steal to maintain his Mr. Clean image.

    Aiyo….did SIRA bargained for all this???????????

    Wonder whether the COMPANY _ GLOBAL PARK listed in the stock exchange as I would like to purchase shares in it.

    Mangala lives on Goebbels. That his artistry in politics.

  • 0

    Only Edgar Wallaces’s the four just men can solve the problems of greed in Srilanka, its time people with dignity stood up against these corrupt politicians, they should be banned from politics and banished to an Island away from humanity.

  • 1

    We cannot indict anyone just because someone said something to a friend. Proper procedure needs to be followed. There should be concrete evidence to support the allegation. I am not trying to say that Ravi is an embodiment of integrity. But let procedure be followed. If it is proved, he should not only be sacked but should also be arrested and put in jail and not in hospital as he is in sound health.

  • 2

    I bow to Colombo Telegraph for
    publishing what newspapers in
    Sri Lanka are frightened to do.
    They would have lost advertising.

    This show the pathetic state of
    affairs in the UNP, once a glorious
    political party respected by all.

    What is sad is the role of Ranil
    Wickremesinghe, its leader and now
    Prime Minister without the people’s
    mandate. He could not contest a
    presidential elections. It was openly
    acknowledged that he cannot win. He
    is not trusted by the people.

    RW is well known for the devious deals
    he works out whilst telling the public
    another story. Prabhakaran has got rid
    of the recent UNP leaders like R.Premadasa.
    Even is some hated him, he never did dirty
    deals like Ranil. RW has continued to
    abuse the trust placed in him by the

    Why did he appoint Ravi Karunanayake as
    Minister of Finance? Is it not to make
    money. Another Ranil stooge is John Ameratunga.
    Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa, publicly acknowledged
    briber taker who figured in the Avant Garde
    deal with lawyer Tilak Marapona are evil influence
    on Ranil. They lead him by the nose.

    High time the UNP had a new leader. This is very
    disgusting for people who loved this grand old
    party, like me.

  • 1

    Marcus Silva………In the novel Oliver twist, therein explains Runkneel’s character very clearly.
    In local terms, its the character of a Mama San………..

    saintly as he appear to be, he is as crooked as a cork screw.

    I am He, who leads the party untill the end of my time on earth. No one except me will lead the party. I am the way to the Party and the Truth.

  • 2

    President Sirisena is unable to control Ranil the PM and Ravi the FM. Is he scared or under obligation to the UNP? What he can do now is sack the govt and let the opposition lead by him form a new govt with a new SLFP PM until elections in April 2016. He can run this govt with better yahapalanaya and get the electoral reforms through by then. I am sure he will be able to control his own party ministers better then. This will be a more stable govt unlike this achcharu mess of a minority govt:.

  • 0

    If MS wants to establish this National Govt. for the future, he has one thing to do for
    the moment – take charge of Customs under the Presidency and reinstate DG Wijeweera if
    the Custom Officers Association supports this move. Not only the Country will benefit
    and Customs corruption will be eliminated for 6 years!!

  • 2

    There is now shocking news in the media that the containers containing an imported weedicide containing Glyphosate have been released to the importer in spite of the order by the President NOT to release them.

    The Prime Minister is being blamed for this.
    If true, this is a crime against the nation, many of whom are dead, and severely ill of kidney disease caused by Glyphosate poisoning.

  • 0

    Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene alleges that the Customs Director resigned due to the Glyphosphate scandal. According to this article it is due to Ravi K’s pressure. As a result all the anti RK have commented blaming RK and also RW. Now who will have to eat his words?

  • 1

    Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene alleges that the Customs Director resigned due to the Glyphosphate scandal. According to this article it is due to Ravi K’s pressure. As a result all the anti RK have commented blaming RK and also RW. Now who will have to eat his words?

    Will RK also clear the grounds as Laxman K. did?

  • 1

    The moment Professor Rajiva Wijesingha left this Government, I knew it is on downhill path. Professor Rajiva Wijesingha, the noble, high intellect, decided to leave the Government,as he knew he cannot work with corruptors. Why cannot the rest of the saint people see the new corruption that is emerging and creeping in? This is a very dangerous scenario

  • 1

    There is an apt saying in English “people in glass houses must not throw stones”. Ravi Karunanayake must realize he might suffer the same fate as many of his political opponents of the former Government now under custody following revelations of corruption during their tenure. If powerful Ministers of the former Government could be marched in handcuffs in the glare of public, the same fate will befall him sooner than later.

    The Minister should remember these former powerful Ministers and their friends are waiting to do the same when their turn comes. Quite rightfully so, because any corruption must be severely dealt with, with the full force of the law and this stand was accepted by all including the Minister Ravi Karunanayake and therefore he cannot then call it ‘revenge’.

    This Government came to power accusing the former Government of massive corruption and cannot be found to condone such behavior from any of Ministers of the present Government. We as ordinary public want corruption eliminated totally and those involved punished severely whoever it may be. I think an impartial inquiry should be held on the allegation involving the Minister Ravi Karunanayake and even be taken to courts in the same manner the Ministers of the former Government were escorted. Then am sure, that will give a better credibility to the present Government especially when elections are closing up!

    These Ministers drunk in power including Ravi should not forget all their bad deeds could be easily traced and that is what befell the former Ministers. They all will one day regret why they ever became a Minister. It is then they will realize the truth that it is the power and their misbelief they could easily hide and erase all traces of their bad deeds that lured them into committing massive corruption. It will be too late for them, unable to pay back, have to sell all they own. All their so called friends would have deserted them. Serving in prison will be actually a blessing in disguise as on day they come out; they will have to live with shame begging in the street with nothing left for them!

  • 0

    Mr Kiriella took time and effort to answer his critic fully on CT. Ravi Karunaratne is as yet silent.

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