22 September, 2018

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JC Weliamuna Confirms He Appeared For Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Murder Suspect

Lawyer J C Weliamuna has confirmed that he did appear on behalf of Kandegedara Piyawansa, a suspect in the assassination of Sunday Leader Founder Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.

J. C. Weliamuna

J. C. Weliamuna

On August 7, 2016, the Colombo Telegraph carried a story under the heading “Weliamuna Appeared For Lasantha’s Murder Suspect Under Rajapaksas’ Watch: TI Director Now Evades Questions” which said that Weliamuna, who is the Director of both Transparency International and its Sri Lanka Chapter had appeared on behalf of Piyawansa, an Army Intelligence Officer.

Piyawansa was accused of purchasing five SIM cards which were used in the murder operation of Wickrematunge. Piyawansa is alleged to have purchased the SIMs under the name of Pitchai Jesudasan whose ID card was stolen by Piyawansa. Jesudasan reportedly died in remand custody during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.

Even though a journalist attached to the Colombo Telegraph made repeated attempts to contact Weliamuna for clarification over his decision to appear on behalf of Piyawansa, Weliamuna continuously evaded phone calls, text messages and even emails sent to him over a period of several days.

However, after the article appeared in the Colombo Telegraph, a frantic Weliamuna and several of his friends had tried to convince editors and journalists of several English and Sinhala newspapers to provide space for ‘Weliamuna’s side of the story.’ However, only ‘Sathhanda,’ a Sinhala newspaper had granted Weliamuna space for his Q & A.

In the interview, Weliamuna says that he appeared for Piyawansa in Supreme Court because Piyawansa’s human rights were violated.

In the questions Colombo Telegraph sent to him, we did ask him to clarify his position, which he chose to ignore. Weliamuna accepts that Piyawansa was released from all charges on the basis of a decision of the higher court after he appeared on his behalf.

Incidentally, most of the questions in Weliamuna’s interview published in ‘Sathhanda’ were what the Colombo Telegraph sent him via email. However, both Weliamuna and the newspaper have not explicitly mentioned Colombo Telegraph anywhere in the interview.

In the interview, Weliamuna’s answer to the question whether he is an advisor to the President is not clear. Colombo Telegraph asked him: “Do you currently function as an Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka? If yes, in what area do you provide advice on.” The question was based on a caption and picture published by Transparency International website in June 2016 where they described Weliamuna as a Presidential Advisor (Please see image here) while he is seen standing next to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London. Weliamuna is also the current chairman of the Stolen Assets Recovery Task Force.

In the interview, Weliamuna also admits that he has appeared for other Army personnel to get their due promotions.

Clarifying as to why he avoided the questions sent to him by Colombo Telegraph, Weliamuna had said: “I will not speak to any media organization or journalist that has been attacking me”. However, the Colombo Telegraph would like to place the following facts and allow it’s readers to decide if the website was working on the interest of the public or if it was carrying out a witch hunt against Weliamuna as claimed by him.

In May last year, the Colombo Telegraph carried several articles along the lines that Weliamuna and several senior lawyers was paid Rs. 3.5 million from public money to carry out an inquiry into corruption and malpractices at the SriLankan Airlines. Subsequently, Colombo Telegraph requested for a breakdown from Weliamuna as to how much he and the rest of the team was paid respectively taking into account the large sum of money that was invested in this report. Weliamuna however never responded to the question. As a government that came into power pledging transparency, and good governance, the Colombo Telegraph believed it was appropriate that people be informed about how the new government was spending the public money. “There ought to be transparency on both the framework set for the inquiry and the basis for charging – the danger is this ends with those involved profiteering without [the public gaining] adequate benefits”, a Finance Ministry official told Colombo Telegraph.

Subsequent to Weliamuna’s claim that Colombo Telegraph had launched a witch hunt against him, the website spoke to a reader selected randomly to obtain his views on Weliamuna’s statement. The reader, Manjula Kandadarage said that in his opinion there was no witch hunt and the Colombo Telegraph was merely carrying out the fundamental pillar on what journalism is built on, which is ‘finding out the truth.’

“I don’t see this as a witch hunt or a personal grudge, and Colombo Telegraph was merely asking questions keeping the public interest in mind. For someone who is talking about transparency and accountability and especially with his position as the Director of Transparency International, he should have answered the questions,” the reader said.

Incidentally on August 7th the day the article on Weliamuna appeared in the Colombo Telegraph, UNP Working Committee member and media head Krishantha Cooray telephoned journalist Munza Mushtaq who wrote the story and questioned as to why she was ‘attacking’ Weliamuna.

Cooray had no idea who wrote the article as the article which was published did not carry any bylines due to the fact that apart from Mushtaq, another journalist from the Colombo Telegraph News Desk also worked on the story. Only Weliamuna knew about Mushtaq, as it was she who contacted him and emailed him the questions with regard his decision to appear on behalf of Wickrematunge’s murder suspect. The Colombo Telegraph believes that Weliamuna would have made a complaint about the journalist to Cooray, who in turn called her and questioned her as to why she wrote the story.

Related posts:

Weliamuna Appeared For Lasantha’s Murder Suspect Under Rajapaksas’ Watch: TI Director Now Evades Questions

Sri Lankan Airlines: Weliamuna Inquiry Costs Rs 3.5 Million

Sri Lankan Airlines Probe: Weliamuna Yet To Disclose Fee Breakdown

Absolute Conflict Of Interest: Maithri’s Investigator Weliamuna Must Go

The Assault On Weliamuna

Wiliamuna Controversy: Jayaratne Sees Nothing Wrong

Weliamuna Inquiry Costs Three Supreme Court Judges’ Combined Annual Salaries

Weliamuna Controversy: Now Chandra Jayaratne Goes Silent

Weliamuna Out Of Order: Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Unprincipled ‘[Edited out]. Shame on you. You will stoop to any low level for money, You have lost your credibility.

    • 2
      0

      This man made lot of money by trying to find out the loot hidden by Rajapakses. But, he did not how to or what to do in order to find it, and he was just running around.

      He wants to make the govt transparent but his agenda is hidden.

  • 12
    2

    People expect a person of that calbre; (Director Transparency International) to have minimum or zero personal agenda; his refusal or delay to respond straight to a question with public interest should be denounced.

    CT argument is right.

    • 4
      4

      sr

      Now it is very clear who has the personal agenda. According to CT Eknaligoda was not a Journalist. Again CT said Eknaligoda was murdered because he has sent some Human Ashes to Presidential Secretariat by mail. CT even attacked that poor Lady Sandya Eknaligoda who is struggling with 2 young Kids. Once CT said Lasantha was murdered because he was a RAW spy. Again attacked Lasantha’s Ex Wife. Independent Journalism at it’s best.

  • 5
    1

    J.C Waliamuna appeared for murder suspect but now it seems that CT is appearing for real murderess. In that interview Mr. Waliamuna clearly denied that he appeared for Piyawansa at lower courts where Piyawansa was released and he only appeared for Fundamental right petition at highest Court . Has CT found Piyawansa is Guilty now?

    Nice Journalism and where was the article yesterday Namal Baby appeared with handcuffs?

  • 5
    3

    Shame on you Weliamua

  • 2
    4

    Average lawyers are damn thieves & rouges who never work for the goodwill of the general public but to protect evil.that’s the history.They have always worked for money by abusing the divine law except in several cases with great persona like Sir Thomas De Sampayo;Nowadays we see only dirty thugs with black robes(angel of the devils)who earn money out of any grave situations. Even they would appear for Hitler, Bin Laden & Prabakaran for good some of money.Thus,Weliamuna is nothing better than any other common lawyers who earns his daily living by screwing up Innocent poor people.

  • 2
    2

    At least now we all no who appeared for Weliamuna, if not CT we would not be able to know the fact.
    At least now we all know Weliamuna inquary costs 3.5 million. if not CT we would not be able to know the fact.
    Thank you CT.

  • 4
    1

    OMG! Wheals within wheals, it is interesting to know UNP media head Krishantha Cooray’s role. He is putting pressure on journalists. Is this good governance and press freedom Mr. Cooray?

  • 3
    0

    Oh ! who criticise Krishantha Cooray? he is a high society roller and one of the untouchables.
    he caN DO NO WRONG NOR pressure any journalist.

    Moreover, he is a decent guy and squeaky clean.
    It was a friendly Yahapalanaya phone call to Munza Mustaq & nothing more.

  • 2
    0

    Ayyo Mr. Weliamuna!

  • 1
    1

    Repairing someone’s credibility, which is destroyed or tarnished, is an uphill task, because there is only one truth. Any volume of untruth will entangle Weliamuna further in the rot of his own making.

    Not Just Weliamuna, any lawyer pretend to be champion of human rights should be exposed with no mercy, because the clean up operation of the failed system should be started from the Administration of Justice.

  • 1
    1

    Repairing someone’s credibility, which is destroyed, is an uphill task, because there is only one truth.

    Any volume of untruth will entangle Weliamuna further in the rot of his own making.

    No one who play double game should be spared and in the public interest all them should be exposed.

    Therefore, not Just Weliamuna, any lawyer pretended to be champions of human rights should be exposed with no mercy, because the clean up operation of the rotten failed system should be started from the Administration of Justice.

  • 0
    0

    Another disappointment!

    I thought Weliamuna was above double-dealing, but looks like I was wrong. Is there ANYONE in Sri Lanka politics who is above corruption?

    If there is, it must be akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack!!

  • 1
    1

    I had high hopes of Weliamuna when he first appeared on the scene, alas I’am dissappointed. We still have Nagananda Kodithuwakku and Justice Warawewa.The hipocrits and the thieves should be exposed and purged.

  • 2
    0

    “You too… Weliamuna…..”

  • 3
    0

    Weliamuna is a lawyer.

    Lawyers appear for anyone willing to pay their fees.
    This is their vocation.
    They appear for murderers, rapists, swindlers and many others who perceive injustice against them.

    Fees for “investigations of financial/managerial improprieties” of public enterprises – which is their forte – are ‘high’ the world over.

    If they hide/distort any facts they became aware of in the course of their professional duties IN A COURT OF LAW – AS WITNESSES, this would be a crime.

  • 0
    1

    It is well known Tranparency international [Edited out]. that is the truh.

    check the public domain to find stories.

  • 0
    0

    A lawyer is entitled to appear even for the worst criminal. That is their bread and butter. But why dodged CT interview is beyond belief. All what is required is to defend his decision as a lawyer to appear for a suspect. But why on earth he did not do so, he on the contrary steadfastly refused to answer the questions is a mystery. Lawyers can speak from both side of their mouths.

  • 1
    1

    What I see here is one side story.Mr. Weliamuna is a lawyer by profession. He has a every right to appear in courts. However in this case he appear only for their fundamental rights. Even for Lasantha Wickramathunga killers or LTTE suspects , killers or terrorists have a right to defend them selves from unauthorized detention and torture. That is also happened for prisoners who detained in Guantanamo Bay. Even though they consider them as enemies and terrorists, they were represented by the US lawyers. Only thing in this case Mr. Weliamuna is well known for his civil society activities and people expect him to do what they always want him to do. They don’t care about how he is going to live. He has done immense work for the change. Now let him do his proffession. I dont think he has done any thing contradict with ethics.

  • 0
    1

    Wake up call to the President, not to cast caution to the wind in selecting his so called advisers

  • 4
    0

    All accused have the right to defend themselves and all lawyers have the same right to appear for anyone they choose. But, in this particular case Weliamuna made the wrong choice. He should have known better.

  • 0
    0

    2600 years ago A king contemporary of lord Buddha dreamed
    16 Dreams one night.
    In one of the dreams he saw a horse had two mouths .one in front as usual and another on his rear side.
    Lord Buddha explained to the king after 2500 years of his demise there will be persons ( now we call them Lawyers) who take money from both accused and Victims
    and appear before Tribunals.
    So weliamuna is one of them . 90 percent of lawyers are like that. No point hammering one. The fellows on the bench and who sit below the bench are also the same. Good luck Weliamuna. !

  • 0
    0

    SO WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT. HE IS CARRYING OUT HIS PROFESSIONAL DUTY. STOP THIS

    TYPE OF THIRD GRADE MUD SLINGING PERSONAL ATTACKS.

  • 0
    0

    Public – So Weliamuna, why couldn’t you reject this case? and how much did you receive for the SriLankan investigation? Can we know the breakdown of expenses and fees please?

    Weliamuna – CT has been attacking me for a while and you all are CT readers. I shall not answer CT as they lack credibility.

    Lessons to learn on how to get away
    1) Say that the readers of CT (or any other media for that matter), are not public – they are readers/viewers of that website, newspaper, radio/tv channel.
    2) Do not disclose anything including how much you got from tax money paid by the public when you are questioned by media. You can get away with it by pointing the finger at the media organisation and/or journalist for lacking credibility.

    Yours truly – JCW

  • 1
    0

    I am not surprised by this. My personal experience of human rights ‘activists’ with the Asian Human Rights Commission has revealed that at the end of the day it is the almighty dollar/rupee that matters. Integrity is something that can be bought and sold very cheaply.

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