Expecting to come to a settlement Victor Ivan’s Ravaya has started paying back monies collected from the public, after the newspaper provided false information in many public appeals made by “Ravaya Solidarity” to keep the newspaper afloat, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The public appeals made by Ravaya Solidarity at no point intimated that monies collected from the public were to pay Victor Ivan a sum of Rs 20 Million.
Subsequent to these appeals Ravaya collected a whopping sum of Rs 12.7 million out of which Victor Ivan pocketed Rs 5 million.
Although supporters were told that they would receive shares for their pledged donations that too never took place.
One such contributor who gave Rs100,000 Nagananda Kodituwakku, was not only not given shares, he was not even given a receipt for his money.
Since Nagananda Kodituwakku’s repeated requests for a receipt was not met he then went to the police, complained to the Registrar of Companies and eventually took his case to the Fraud Bureau of Sri Lanka.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph Koditiwakku said, Ravaya returned his Rs 100,000 after two years and that too without any interest. He said after he had complained to the Mirihana police about this fraud last July, the Mirihana OIC summoned Victor Ivan and Gamini Viyangoda to the police station. The OIC then phoned Kodituwakku and asked him if he would wish to drop the charges if his monies were returned.
“I said, this a fraud, this is not only about my money. I will not stop this fight until justice is served and peoples’ monies are returned.” Kodituwakku told Colombo Telegraph.
“Ivan has no right to claim Rs 20 million from Ravaya. On 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 the companies, 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.” he further said.
Colombo Telegraph also actively supported the fund collecting exercise of this project to help keep Ravaya alive. However subsequently it was found that in the public appeals, share issue is not mentioned.
The Colombo Telegraph raised this issue with key members of the Ravaya solidarity group forwarding a question that was raised by a supporter.
Udan Fernando, now a director of Ravaya and Ravaya solidarity then replied by email saying “as I told you when we met, the Articles are not yet finalized. The value of shares needs to be determined. But there will certainly be a share issue. The details can be given soon”.
Meanwhile when Colombo Telegraph contacted Victor Ivan for a comment twice, Ivan angrily said “I have a right to be silent on this matter. You can write whatever you want”
It is reported that Ravaya newspaper to date has to pay Rs.12 million in income taxes.
Until the Presidential Election of 2005, i.e. during the reign of Chandrika Kumaratunga, every month without fail the Ravaya would get a notice from the Department of Inland Revenue, requesting payment of an outstanding amount of Rs 14 million.
When Mahinda Rajapaksa became President, he told Ivan to speak with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. Ivan sent Lal Piyasena, the late owner of Dai Lanka, to represent him. Piyasena was told that Rs 2 million had to be paid because payment had been promised by Ravaya. The rest, Rs 12 million, was frozen. Financial Accounts of Ravaya related to the period mention this amount under Liabilities (click here to see the financial accounts).