Contradicting Ravaya Chairman and the former editor Victor Ivan’s claim about Ravaya employees’ share value, a founder director and the former deputy editor Upali Colombage said he was given only Rs. 1000 for his total of 100 shares (Rs 10 per share), when he was asked how much he was paid for his shares.
With the controversy surrounding Victor Ivan’s fraudulent pocketing of Rs 5 million of Ravaya’s collected funds Ivan wrote last week; “When an employee is retired the money he/she get for his/her shares is lager than the accumulated value of his/her ETF and EPF.”
Upali Colombage is a founder member of Ravaya and has been involved since the time it was even attached to the Sarvodaya movement which was led by Dr A. T. Ariyaratne.
After its breakaway from the Sarvodaya, the group formed Ravaya publishers (Guarantee) Ltd. and until his retirement Colambage served as a director of the company as well as the deputy editor of the Ravaya newspaper. He was also a co signatory for signing of Ravaya cheques.
“As far as I remember, according to the memorandum of articles of Ravaya, if in the event they wish to dissolve the Ravaya guarantee limited, all assets have to then be donated to a university (or a similar not for profit organisation or a charity according to the Companies Act). Not a single table or chair even can be taken home by anyone” Colambage told Colombo Telegraph.
Victor Ivan has pocketed Rs 5 Million out of a total Rs 12.7 million that had been collected to ‘keep Rāvaya afloat’, claiming that Rs 5 million is his for selling of his 20% of shares. He claims he is willing to sell his shares of 40% to the value of Rs. 20 million.
“I read the Ravaya story as well as the CT stories with the comments. Ivan does not have a leg to stand on where the law is concerned. There are strict consequences that follow under Section 34 of the Companies Act. This will have an impact on Ravaya itself and not only Ivan at a personal level. I hope that Udan fernando, Gamini Viyangoda, Kusal Perera, Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri are aware of this. This is a terrible situation. These are the very same guys who are preaching about good governance!” a Colombo based senior lawyer and a legal academic told Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity as she did not want to get abusive emails and a defamatory attack from Victor Ivan.
Last week Ivan wrote in his Ravaya newspaper that all employees were paid EPF and ETF without delay. He claims his salary was Rs. 62,000. “Yes, Ravaya paid EPF and ETF for his salary, but others were not. Other staff members were under paid. Their EPF and ETF contributions were robbed according to Ivan’s plans. For instance when I joined Ravaya my salary was Rs 3900 and I was paid an allowance of Rs 2000 every month. In total I got paid Rs 5900 but my EPF/ETF was calculated on the sum of Rs 3900 only. I was cheated of my EPF/ETF contributions for the balance sum of Rs 2000. This is a fraud” said another employee.
“I also read Ivan’s venomous article last week where he states that all employees were paid bonuses. Yes, that is correct and employees were paid two months salary only in some years during the Sinhala/Tamil New Year. Whilst I was paid two salaries of Rs 3900, Ivan was given Rs 124,000 as his salary was Rs 62,000. This is the equality of the Ravaya newspaper. We campaigned that each and every employee get paid the same amount and distributed equally, but Ivan did not want to hear anything of that sort. Ivan portraits himself as a saint, but look at this story. Under Premadasa regime State media attacked Ravaya and Ivan as the editor. Ivan filed defamation cases against Lake House, all legal fees and expenses were paid by Ravaya. When Chandrika Kumaratunga came to power in 1994 she instructed Lake House chairman to settle all cases and pay compensation. What did Ivan do? He took all money home and not a single cent was paid to Ravaya” concluded the employee who urged Colombo Telegraph not to reveal his name as he went on to state “Ivan will attack me so please don’t write my name”.
Meanwhile the Fraud Bureau did launch an investigation today against abusing of the funds collected from public.