14 November, 2018

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Rajapaksas Siphon Off 18 Billion Dollars: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

“According to some of the people we’ve been working with, they feel that the assets that have been siphoned off from this country by the Rajapaksa family at large may amount to 18 billion dollars” says the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera.

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

“In fact, we have done a little better than the Libyans and the others because at least we know where 2 billion is, but it is not an easy task and we are getting help and support to negotiate and get access to these funds.” Samaraweera further said.

Minster Samaraweera made above remarks today at Siri Kotha.

The spreadsheet below compares the budgets of several key ministries to the sum of stolen assets. Notably, 18 billion is equal to the annual Samurdhi budget X 42 i.e. its equal to 42 times the Samurdhi budget.

stolen assets

Selected extracts of Mangala Samaraweera’s press conference today;

Elections: “I believe that President Sireisena has also given an assurance to the SLFP and other members of parliament that he will also see through the 20th amendment to the constitution that will introduce a new electoral system. And the UNP is very supportive of the idea but we have to ensure that the new electoral system does not marginalize the small parties and the other ethnic parties which are now represented in Parliament. Their ideas must also be taken into account. We hope that by next week we can come to some sort of agreement, and then present it to parliament as soon as possible and then go for the general elections, dissolve parliament, perhaps on the same night that we pass it (20A) in Parliament.”

“I’d rather not mention the countries, we are getting the expertise of four countries in the asset recovery operations. For the moment I’d rather not name the countries.”

Domestic mechanism: “If you look at section 93 of the 100 day programme we promised the people a domestic mechanism to look into human rights violations. This is not something we are doing out of the blue. We told them even before hand during the election, we told them during the stages. I talked about it on the stages in the deep South in Matara. Section 93 states:

“Since Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute regarding international jurisdiction with regard to war crimes, ensuring justice with regard to such matters will be the business of national independent judicial mechanisms.”

And now we are in the process of doing so, and we will come up with this mechanism and with of course international technical assistance and I’m sure we’ll be able to salvage the good name of our country and our armed forces by doing so.”

Domestic mechanism timeline: “We do have a timeline (for the domestic accountability mechanism). We are working according to a timeline even now. I think we will be able to meet the timeline. All I can say is that, we will have a domestic accountability mechanism in place in time when the 30th Sessions commence in September. And the OISL report that will be tabled can be referred to the Sir Lankan mechanism. They have not given us any kind of requirements, but it is our duty. This is a promise we have made to the people of this country, and we want to stick to the timeline as much as possible.

I doubt the FCID gazette will be repealed: “That is an intrinsic part of the mandate given to us by the people of this country. To look into all these allegations of wide-scale corruption which existed during the last regime. The very fact that they want it done shows that they are guilty. Because, with due respect, half of those accompanied former President Rajapaksa to meet him (President Sirisena) all have very serious allegations. It is a race against time to somehow get these investigations stopped, we have total confidence in the President that he will live up to the mandate given to him by the people of this country.”

China projects: “some Chinese projects are going, others are being reviewed. We expect the reports soon.”

Ukraine arms: we are organizing a team of people, two police officers and one official from the Ministry to go to the Ukraine, I got the Ambassador who is now in Delhi to come down about two weeks ago. He is now arranging for them to go to the Ukraine. He said any dates after the 9th which is the end of this week and once all the appointments are complete especially with the public prosecutor of the Ukraine who is I believe is aware of this deal. Moment those appointments are through will go through. (Inaudible) I have to report to Parliament when its done, lets wait till the report is out. We have now suddenly received the heavy luggage of Mr Udayanga Weeratunga to the foreign ministry. He has sent various people to collect it without any power of attorney. We have not released it. Then I beleive last week he appeared in Tehran out of all places and gone to the embassy and requested his luggage to be released. But now we have informed the investigators and the police and we are getting their advice with what to do with the luggage. The luggage is here in Colombo.

There is no warrant for his arrest. Its far too early, until investigations. Obviously his guilt his making him hide, he has become an international fugitive. This is the caliber of our former ambassadors.

 

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Latest comments

  • 12
    3

    President Maithripala was not given a mandate on Jan8th to hold discussions with Mara,who was comprehensively defeated.

    President should now follow-up to bring back the loot of 18 Billion dollars to the State coffers,instead of chatting with MaRa and ask Sappe Dukke Kohomade?

    • 10
      4

      Looks like Managala is supporting MR by presenting a crazy figure so that even Marcos is going “come on!”

      This man has no control of what he says and is the ultimate bull in the China Shop. He says things and then his brain follows much later.

      He is reflection of the irresponsible behaviour of this government that has failed to focus on specifics but keeps shooting in the dark.

  • 10
    5

    Mangala you must be out of your mind. You say MR and family allegedly siphoned off 18 billion USD which you convert to 2.3 trillion in Rupees from the wealth of the nation. Further, you also claim those assets and money are not even in his own name, but rather in names of his closest friends, acolytes and relations to cover-up, hide, misdirect investigations, complicate issues with objective of evading evidence, easy identification and finally seizing through confiscation. What happens if tomorrow he dies? What can he do with that kind of money to help himself in the hereafter? Absolutely nothing. Also, those who will truly benefit will be those who own those ill-gotten wealth and who were not intended to be beneficiaries to enjoy the fruits of it in the first place. Are those allegations plausible I wonder. I mean the number 18 billion USD.

    We know MR is a weak leader who loves the glamor and glitter of the position of First citizen and all that it entails, with poor administrative qualities, famous for turning a blind eye to all the corruption that was going on under his nose, on the rotten excuse of ‘ape miniha’ (our man). But for you to push the corruption level to suggest this new benchmark, is a bit ‘going over the top’. You need to say things which are believable for people to take you seriously enough and take you into their confidence. When you say it, there must be some truth in it and must also be plausible. Otherwise you are just plucking numbers from the sky, like many past politicians who ruined their touch with the people.

  • 11
    4

    The country’s GDP is around $71Billion. The yearly revenue is appx. $10-15 Billion. If one was to consider these numbers I just wander whether could anyone rob the country to the tune of $18 Billion over a period of 5 to 10 years. Also be mindful that the country’s borrowing over the last 5-7 years has been only around $5 Billion. Even one is to rob everything the country gets these facts do not support the wild allegations levelled against the former president. Such allegations reflect the intellect of the country’s foreign minister who in this instance has come up with these comments. One would have thought politicians in general are more smarter than this. How sad, looks like how much we try we can never get the correct breed of politician for the country’s sake. These comments are unsubstantiated and one would think similar to saying there was 40,000 civilians killed at the run up to the end of the war 2009. Wander who come up with these figures!

    • 8
      3

      Shaun,

      “The country’s GDP is around $71Billion. The yearly revenue is appx. $10-15 Billion. If one was to consider these numbers I just wander whether could anyone rob the country to the tune of $18 Billion over a period of 5 to 10 years. Also be mindful that the country’s borrowing over the last 5-7 years has been only around $5 Billion.”

      Good points. Thanks. I agree with you.

      I don’t know how they would have managed to steal 18 million USD when most of the foreign currency is needed to pay for imports and foreign loans.

      This news proves once again that our politicians invent “facts” and most voters believe them because they don’t have enough knowledge.

      • 5
        3

        Heretic. At least there is one person who uses his head and logic . Even the ex wife of warren Buffet ( The richest man in the USA ) assets are believed to be $1.2 billion . ! This man MS is known to have the biggest mouth in SL for inventing fairy stories without facts . He should be taught a lesson for misleading people . The problem is that this type of people with no credibility is elected by the people in SL . !!!!

      • 6
        2

        The entire amount of loans by China amounts to US 16 billion. How can MR take 18 billion from it and do all the development we saw? Samaraweera failed maths three times…. and it is showing. LMAO

  • 9
    8

    C’mon, Mr. Foreign Minister, you lost the trust of people. You have become a laughing stock to the world. We are ashamed that a person who doesn’t even know his basic arithmetic is entrusted to represent Sri Lanka in the international arena. How could you now go and meet the international community? What a shame Mr. Foreign Minister, what a shame?

    All your attempts to insult, tarnish and denigrate Mahinda Rajapaksa have backfired. You have become a joker. Whatever effort your government take to defame Mahinda Rajapaksa, it has rebound now. The more your attack Mahinda Rajapaksa, the more people embrace him, love him and respect him.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Lion on our National Flag. Every time someone hoist our National Flag, hold our National Flag or carry our National Flag, we remember Mahinda Rajapaksa. We love, respect, cherish and revere Mahinda Rajapaksa, as much as we love, respect, cherish and revere our National Flag. Your government’s every attempt in defaming or tarnishing Mahinda Rajapaksa now on, will be regarded as an attempt to defame and tarnish the Lion on our National Flag and thus your government will be stigmatized wildly by the people in this country. Hail O” Hail Mahinda Rajapaksa, you are gaining more ground now, dear leader, Hail O’ Hail our Lion!

  • 9
    6

    This is just a kind reminder to the voters in Sri Lanka. At the next general election, make sure to vote for candidates who, at least possess the basic intelligence and common-sense, to the parliament. People like the present Foreign Minister is an insult to the intellectual capacity and the judgement of voters in Sri Lanka.

    • 1
      1

      He’s even got a foreign qualification… Ahem…

  • 8
    5

    Mangala this very serious allegation in our political history. Do you have all the evidence to prove this charges against our former President. Everyday most of UNP politicians as a habit blaming last government ministers, officials an members MR family various allegations level against them. But so far we are awaiting final out come of this episode.We all understand most of these things are base less political jargens.For a example PM,and rest of the members cabinet using progressive powers appointed by the new President.
    It is illegal. Other all the Corporation heads banks heads,Armed forces head appointed with RW and cabinet is illegal.People of this country had not give any mandate to these set of people to do any thing.Your main idea behind this story is to gain political support from people of this country aiming next election. Please stop bloody nonsense. we fedup this type of silly statements. Tell us your proposal plans. Now we understand there is no money to pay peoples salaries.other projects.
    We are very well aware mistakes of MRs regime and his personal gains etc. Nearly three months had passed every day arresting people producing before Courts, complaining to the Bribery Commission that’s all. You all are throw stones to others but remember same fate you all may have to face one day.

    Dinesh

    • 1
      4

      Dinesh,

      Patience is a virtue. May 11th could be quite auspicious !!

  • 8
    0

    Talk is cheap minister.

    Sri lankan politicians were/are talking for decades. But, Don’t do anything.

    Find the stolen stuff and prosecute them.

    If not you are in the same boat as they are.

  • 6
    3

    a new cabinet portfolio shoul be created called COURT JESTER and mandala shoul be appointed to the post. Mr minister you are an absolute clown and ignoramus. You obviously have the mathematical ability of a pre schooler. Rajapaksa was corrupt to the core. But USD 18 billion ? You surely have mixed up your marbles.

    • 6
      6

      Michael pereira

      I agree that “a new cabinet portfolio shoul be created called COURT JESTER”

      Most qualified to decorate this office is either Mervyn Silva (who has many years of experience) or Wimal Weerawansa.

      Mangala has no previous qualifications. Get Mervyn to train him.

    • 4
      2

      Michael P,

      “A graduate in Clothing Design and Technology from St. Martin’s School of Art in London, he served as a design consultant to the National Design Center of Sri Lanka prior to his political career.”

      Keep Mangala away from numbers!

  • 5
    3

    Take your pick Amarasiri. The plot is still under development. I think it is Kuwaiti Dinars. That makes it Rs. 8,379,000,000,000,000. As we all know to us the gullible readers, bigger the number, higher the tickle it gives us.

    • 4
      3

      paul

      “As we all know to us the gullible readers, bigger the number, higher the tickle it gives us.”

      The bigger the number higher the respect and greater the vote count. The biggest crooks are respected, revered and celebrated for having bigger brains than their fellow citizens.

      Greatest crooks are the greatest leaders in this island, and their supporters are proud about them.

  • 4
    1

    “According to some of the people we’ve been working with, they feel that the assets that have been siphoned off from this country by the Rajapaksa family at large may amount to 18 billion dollars” “

    So the substantiation of this claim of 18 billion USD is the fact that some people are saying so.he must be thinking that the people of srilanka are morons.If he makes a claim,substantiate it with something better than “some of the people we are working with”.How about a little bit of improvement by “many of the people we are working with” or go the whole hog and say”all the people we are working with”.

    This FM would never be a good Finance minister.he shuld concentrate on his portfolio and let the Finance minister talk about figures.he must be thinking that FM stands for Finance Minister,Not foreign.

    If you were and newly appointed accountant and a couple of people in the accounts depts come and tell you that they believe that the former Managing Director who left suddenly had siphoned out 18 million dollars,would you go around saying to everybody you meet,that it is the truth.Instead you will ask the following questions

    1.Why are you two talking in dollars.I thought we were running this company in rupees and your accounting dept has the accounts in rupees.

    2.What are the transactions you are talking about.Give me a list.

    3.Where are the vouchers showing the payments.Also the supporting documents.Who signed the cheques.where are the counterfoils?

    4.If it is commissions siphoned off at the source then where are the estimates of the project and the actual cost and comparative costs of competitors for you to think that we got less than the real value.

    The fourth point is the only way a substantial amount could have been siphoned off without really entering the country in the first place.for example the chinese Exim bank could have given 1 billion USD to mahinda for each big project and stashed it for him somewhere.They would not have lost on the deal because they would have inflated the project costs and interest rate to cover that 1 billion.So 18 billion is possible that way but mangala has to produce the costs of the projects with market rates and substantiate it w/o bollocks like”people say”.

    • 2
      2

      well said Shankar . Only some people are blessed with intelligence and some with qualifications and no intelligence .

    • 2
      2

      Shankar,

      Correction. People of Sri Lanka are morons.

      Take a good look around you. We are literate of course but we are a country of literate modayas. Mangala is dropping these numbers for the literate modayas.

      Even the best My3 could suggest for leading the country after him is the supreme pole voulter for money Dayasiri.

    • 0
      1

      Maybe FM stands for foolish Minister !

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 5
    2

    Mangala, please give the break down of the total loss to the country from the CB Bond deal of Mahendran who friends of RW and RK. why are Champika and JVP silent on this? Isn’t this a bigger scam? What is the President doing re: this. Why does’nt he question his PM?

  • 4
    1

    Many commentators have raised legitimate doubts about the US $ 18 billion figure. Mangala Samaraweera has to provide a satisfactory answer, without details that need to be yet secret. Whether, if true and accurate. this huge sum of money was spun off as commissions on the huge development projects undertaken with foreign loans over a ten year period (average of 1.8 billion/ year), should be also considered.

    However MR & Co should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is the basis of our laws. Accusations do not mean guilt. This government has the responsibility to make sure that unassailable evidence is gathered and the accused are prosecuted. The judicial system should determine whether they are guilty and punish them as per law. The process however has to be accelerated.

    Dr.RN

  • 0
    0

    Some relevant information:

    1. In 2013 the loss reported by the Central Bank was Rs 39 billion, which was equal to 0.5 % of the GDP.

    (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-continually-loss-making-central-bank-puts-nation-on-red-alert/)

    The GDP for 2013, thus works out to Rs 7800 billion. At Rs 130 per US $, this will be equivalent to US $ 60 billion.

    2. Further, the Interpol has reported to the government that US $ 10,000 Million ($ 10,000,000,000 or 10 billion) was paid to Bellimissa, a ghost company claiming to be based in the UK to purchase MIG aircraft in 2006.

    (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mig-deal-rajapaksas-paid-us-10000-million-to-a-ghost-company-no-company-called-bellimissa-interpol-confirmed/)

    What do these numbers mean with regard to the accusation leveled by Mangala Samaraweera?

    Dr.RN

    • 1
      0

      Dr RN,

      You must be the first non Dalit here , who has managed to work out the GDP of our Motherland.

      Mikoyan MIG 29 was selling at 11 Million USD a piece in 2009.

      With all the extras , including leather seats and GPS the gadgets which your Diaspora mates look for nowadays, the price was still averaging about 20 Mil USD for fairly new units in 2009.

      So that is 50 Mikoyans for just One Billion USD.
      .
      I am sure your Elite and Anglican mates from Cinnamon to Wellala Gardens believed Managalan and Interpol.

      And I am not a least bit surprised.

      Because their counterparts in Interpol land, as well as FBI land believed that poor Old Saddam had WMDs.

      But your mate, our lovely FM is smart . Isn’t he?.

      Although it is a silly thing to say that is smart.

      Just look what he has done for the unwinnable Ranil, who couldn’t win even when our new FM was in Govt then…

      BTW , Do you think Mangalan and Madam will make you Federal?….

      • 1
        0

        KAS,

        “I am sure your Elite and Anglican mates from Cinnamon to Wellala Gardens believed Managalan and Interpol.”

        I am pretty sure that only the elite regardless of their religion understands that Managalas numbers are likely to be wrong. The majority regardless of their religion doesn’t understand. I am sorry if my opinion insult you.

        What is your problem with the Anglicans? Are they a special group in Colombo? Can you please name some important Anglicans? I live very near India and far away from Colombo so that my knowledge is very limited.

        If I want to join the national elite would it be helpful to convert?

    • 0
      0

      Dear Readers,

      There is a serious error in point 2 of the above comment. It should read instead:

      2. Further, the Interpol has reported to the government that US $ 10 Million ($ 10,000,000) was paid to Bellimissa, a ghost company claiming to be based in the UK to purchase MIG aircraft in 2006.

      (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mig-deal-rajapaksas-paid-us-10000-million-to-a-ghost-company-no-company-called-bellimissa-interpol-confirmed/)

      I think it arose because of change in the title number after I read it and copied the reference.

      Apologies.

      Dr.RN

      • 0
        1

        Dr RN,

        I think you should go to night classes too with your buddy our lovely FM..

    • 0
      0

      DR.RN
      “2. Further, the Interpol has reported to the government that US $ 10,000 Million ($ 10,000,000,000 or 10 billion”

      the article headline clearly says 10million USD,not 10billion as you claim.Maybe mangala is also confused like you and really means 18million usd.I heard he failed in his maths.However i’am surprised you too.

      I hope one day someone doesn’t start talking of trillions of USD and really confusing giniappuhamy, bisomenike and gonthirala who must be already confused as to what is billions because in their simple day to day existence 5000 rupee note is the highest they have ever seen.

      • 0
        0

        Shanker,

        The error arose because the figure cited originally was what I have commented (see the link I have copied)

        I noticed however it was later changed in the report( Please see the link as it appears in the revised report).

        It was an unavoidable error, but I sent in a corrected comment, as soon as I realized there was a problem.

        Please also see the GDP figures for 2013 derived from Dr.Wijewardene’s article. It is huge. Considering the exchange rates prevailing, billions and trillions have become normal in our discourse. Further, I do not understand why a billion (1,000,000,000) as one thousand million!

        Dr.RN

    • 0
      0

      Dr Rajasingham NO Interpol has only responded saying there is no company called Bellisima . No where have they said that money has been transferred to this company ! only our pundits give the wrong message to confuse readers,

  • 0
    3

    I hope you will provide the required information to relevant authorities to indict the culprits, before the parliament is dissolved!

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