Ravaya, the newspaper that often champions good governance, justice and democracy, has succeeded in suppressing an inquiry into allegations that its long-time editor Victor Ivan had pocketed millions of rupees in gross violation of the Companies Law, thanks to support from President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns.
“We cannot investigate it, we are under pressure, you should make a complain to the police commission” a high ranking police officer told Colombo Telegraph.
He was referring to a complaint lodged at the Police Fraud Bureau on the 02nd of July 2015 by Public Interest Rights Activist and Lawyer Nagananda Kodituwakku, who also complained to the Registrar of Companies D.N.R. Siriwardena about the same matter.
On the 6th of July 2015, commenting on the allegations against Victor Ivan pocketing Rs 10 million of Ravaya funds, D.N.R.Siriwardena, the Registrar of Companies told Colombo Telegraph that the entire transaction is illegal and completely out of the order and that an investigation is to be launched into the transaction.
Even though the Registrar of Companies told Colombo Telegraph that the Ravaya documents were kept under lock and key, Colombo Telegraph has managed to obtain the relevant documents of Ravaya which were submitted to Companies Registrar. All the documents were endorsed and issued to us by his office saying “documents not recognised/endorsed by the Registrar of Companies”. See the picture below:
Although Colombo Telegraph was able to speak with the Registrar on two occasions, all efforts to contact him for further clarification have failed.
Colombo Telegraph, at the time, published damning evidence to the effect that the newspaper had provided false information in several public appeals through ‘Ravaya Solidarity’ to keep the newspaper afloat. Although there was no intimation that money thus collected would be used to pay Victor Ivan, the former editor took Rs 5 million of the Rs 12.7 million contributed by hundreds of donors.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph on the 8th of December, 2015, Kodituwakku said: “Ivan has no right to claim Rs 20 million from Ravaya. On the one hand Ivan has never invested Rs 20 million in Ravaya and on the other is Ravaya is a company limited by guarantee and operating as a not-for-profit organization, much like an NGO. I made a complaint to the Registrar of Companies, and he asked me to make a complaint to the Fraud Bureau as well, which I did. Yesterday the company registrar informed me that the Ravaya documents are kept under lock and key. When I contacted the company registrar two days ago he said that the investigations are proceeding.”
Following revelations published by Colombo Telegraph about Ivan pocketing money contributed by well-wishers to a fund launched to save the cash-strapped newspaper, Ravaya began paying back the donors. Kodituwakku was thereby returned the Rs 100,000 he had contributed two years later, although without interest. This was after he had complained to the Mirihana Police, which summoned Ivan and Gamini Viyangoda, and later asked Kodituwakku whether he would drop charges if the money was returned. Kodituwakku had stated at that point that he wanted all the money collected from all donors returned since it was a fraudulent initiative on the part of Ravaya.
“Boss is under pressure”, a staff member of the Registrar of Companies told Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity. Whatever pressure relevant to the case can only come from the offices of the President and the Prime Minister.
The suppression of the investigation comes in the wake of deliberate attempts by the Prime Minister’s office to quash yet another investigation, that which has since been dubbed “Phone-Gate”