Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, Basil Rajapaksa and his wife Pushpa Rajapaksa had used the Sri Lanka Army’s central armoury located at the Salawa army camp in Kosgama as a location to earn big bucks, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
The Salawa camp and 800 houses in its vicinity were completely destroyed and damaged beyond repair in an explosion last week, including loss of lives and physical harm to many, though the numbers are yet to be confirmed.
Documents seen by Colombo Telegraph shows that the Rajapaksa duo had transported used brass artillery barrels from the north and east provinces to Salawa army camp and had them washed and resold at scrap value.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Minister of Defence and the commander Tri Forces and his younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whilst his other brother Basil Rajapaksa was the Minister of Economic Development.
We publish below an edited part of an affidavit of a person who was involved in the deal, since the matter is now under investigation.
1. I am ………..and I was born on ……… now living at , ……, . At the moment I am working at ……
2. In Sri Lanka I worked at …….as a Sales Director, No….., Sri Lanka, and also a Trading Broker especially for the iron in local market.
3. Somewhere around July 2010 I met xxx with a substantial business proposal. Normally he is also doing the trading business, and he is very close to the President’s brother, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, and his family. At that time xxx was looking for buyers for the 75,000 tons of used artillery barrels which was under the Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka. The releasing price of used artillery barrels by the Ministry was 280 rupees for 1kg, and xxxx offers that for 350 rupees per 1kg to me. This business was mainly handled by Pushpa Rajapaksa, wife of Basil Rajapaksa.
4. I started to search the buyers and I found xxxx who is doing the local iron business at the Pettah. xxxx agreed to do the business and he wants to see the goods before confirm to his buyer.
5. In the mean time I was looking for some other buyers too because of the huge quantity. And day by day the business was dragged by xxx. I asked the reason for the delay, because at the time, xxxx is pushing me to see the goods. xxxx told me that they have bring down all the goods to Kosgama Army camp from the other areas of the country and they do washing before providing to any buyers in case any chemicals have been used which will cause a future problem. Because of this issue, the goods were delayed and xxxx missed his buyer and he shouted at me. At that time I told him the process and reason for the delay.
6. Then I found the Malaysia xxxxxxx Company through xxxxx former xxxxxxx. We discussed everything and they finally agreed to buy all the goods at a price of 430 rupees per 1kg. But they asked for a letter of authority from the Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka to start the business process.
7. To release that letter Pushpa Rajapaksa asked an advance of 150 million rupees. But xxxxxxx Company did not like to release the money without having the approval letter. They agreed to give the money within 3 hours after getting the evidence. For the trust they agreed to sign a contract in front of a lawyer. I tried to get a bank loan to pay the initial money.
8. xxxxxxxxx bank Manager Mr …..agreed to give the loan, but he asked a commission from the business. Finally we all agreed to sign the contract.
9. We planed a final meeting with …., …….., ………, and myself on 5th August 2010 at the Galadari Hotel Colombo. ……. . a…….. and me came on time and we were arrested at the Galadari hotel lobby by a group of armed men, and dragged to a white van. As xxxx came late, he was not arrested.