Cousin of President Rajapaksa – Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to USA has been gravely cautioned over the financial misconduct allegations against him and has been ordered to pay back over Rs. 45 million that he had swindled through financial misappropriations.
Making an excellent case on the detrimental impacts of the widespread nepotism prevalent in Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service, Wickramasuriya was exposed by the US government earlier this year to Canadian authorities, concerning the financial misappropriations when committed during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington 20008.
He had been ordered to pay back this hefty sum after the Accountant involved in the transaction divulged the details to save his neck, as the suspicions over the issue initially circled around him.
A column in today’s issue of the weekly English newspaper Sunday Times referring to the same incident (though it has not mentioned Wickramasuriya), notes that he has made an appeal claiming the money was paid to him by the seller but that it was reject. However, it has been noted that the common practice in the US is for the seller to pay commissions if any.
It has been revealed that Wickramasuriya has also been involved in two other transactions where he had made mark ups and pocketed the money.
According to diplomatic sources that spoke to Colombo Telegraph, one of the transactions had been the hospital bill of Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne for the treatments he received at the John Hopkins University Hospital. Meanwhile, the other had been on a payment of legal fees to a law firm that dealt with a case relating to war crimes against President Rajapaksa in the US.
Colombo Telegraph has been unable to reach Wickamasuriya for comment.
The paper also reports that following the mounting allegations of corruption, the centers of power in Colombo including official residences of the leaders have been declared out of bounds for Wickramasuriya. It also states that an irate President had remarked that Wickramasuriya had ‘rubbed mud in his face’ (mooney deli gewa) indicating a slim chance for him to be offered another posting.