Animal rights activists today revealed that the Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage is party to the widespread baby elephant smuggling racket, pointing out he is the present owner of an elephant that had been smuggled out of a national park by the racketeers.
The expose was made by the activists today during a press briefing at the Library Service Auditorium where they quoted information cited in a report issued by the Auditor General’s Department based on an investigation carried out on four selected cases of suspicious baby elephants that are being held domestically. According to the Auditor General’s Department, the elephant registered under no: 334 is presently owned by Thilina Gamage who has purchased the animal from its previous owner C. Yatawara.
The investigations have revealed that Yatwara who in his application to rear the animal as a domestic elephant has stated he is a resident of Meegoda, Ovitigama is in fact a resident of Nawinna, Maharagama. Moreover, it has also been exposed that during the time the elephant was bought by Gamage, the license permit issued by the WCD was withdrawn as the signatures and seals of the Homagama District Secretary and the Grama Niladhari had been forged in the documents submitted by Yatawara to apply for the license.
Hence, Gamage had been holding the animal in his possession for several months without any legal documents whatsoever.
The activists also point out that the Bribery and Corruption Commission should launch an investigation into the wealth and assets of Gamage, pointing out his ability to pay Rs. 3 million for the elephant raises concerns since he is a government servant. They also note that the absence of a formal receipt of purchase in a financial deal that was worth a significant sum of between Gamage and Yatawara is also evidence of the dubious nature of the transaction.