It was around 2005 or 2006 when the “MiG Deal” as it was called broke out through The Sunday Times written by it’s Defence Columnist Iqbal Athas bringing the story into focus. This initial article was followed up with The Sunday Leader going into further detail into this “Deal” laying the blame squarely on the then Secretary to Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Several articles followed repeatedly if readers can recall, in The Leader going into details of Belimissa Holdings Ukrinsexport, Ukrinmarsh. Readers may also recall that Gotabaya was quick to file action against the Late Lasantha Wickrematunge and the newspaper for defamation seeking a compensation in an unimaginable sum.
The case was heard in Mt Lavinia, in a higher Court for awhile before the Editor of The Sunday Leader was murdered. Readers would also remember the infamous interview of Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Chris Morris of the BBC. For clarity the interview is reproduced here:
Giving evidence UNDER OATH in Mt Lavinia Courts Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that it was a Government to Government deal. So did the high ranking Air Force Officer in charge of Engineering and several other Officers listed as witnesses. Former Air Force Chief Roshan Goonetilleke was one such listed witness. The Sunday Times of 18.03.2018 Political Column reproduced below reveals the true state of the MiG DEAL vehemently defended by Gotabaya as a Government to Government deal. Some social media networks have hinted that Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder was linked to the articles he wrote in relation to the MiG purchases. They adduce this to be the motive for the murder. The difference between what the original seller was paid and what cost the Government of Sri Lanka amounts to nearly US $ 7 million. The former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge is wanted for questioning in this regard. BUT WHAT OF GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSA THE SECRETARY TO The MINISTRY OF DEFENCE who was the PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING OFFICER? Has he been questioned ? Open and shut case !!
Will President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe thwart this one too? Oh what a country we live in. How much more do we stoop to deceive?? Sri Lanka will soon be ungovernable. Or is it already?
(By Suranimala Umagiliya)