None of the Ravaya staff shareholders apart from the Directors who are said to represent them, are aware that Victor Ivan was paid Rs 5 million from funds collected from the public, Colombo Telegraph learns.
Colombo Telegraph interviewed several key members of the Ravaya staff and they all said they were unaware of this transaction.
For example, when contacted by Colombo Telegraph, its News Editor Lasantha Ruhunage said he was not aware of any such transaction. When asked whether he would say that on record, Ruhunage said he needed “half an hour” to prepare a statement on the matter.
When we tried to contact him after half an hour, Ruhunage did not pick up the phone. Then, Colombo Telegraph contacted another staff member of Ravaya and asked him to hand over the phone to Ruhunage. At that point, the News Editor of Ravaya said he was busy and hung up the phone.
Ruhunage is a stalwart of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association and the Free Media Movement.
Efforts to contact the Editor of Ravaya, K.W. Janaranjana, have proved unsuccessful.
Ravaya, which has been a strong advocate of accountability and transparency, never disclosed in its appeal to supporters that Rs 5 Million of the funds collected would be given to any individual.
Meanwhile on the 19th of June, when Colombo Telegraph asked Kusal Perera (a key member of Ravaya Solidarity) about this matter, i.e. before we first published the story, he asked us to contact Ivan about what stakeholders can do with their stakes.
As per Kusal’s recommendation, ( read Kusal Perera’s answer here) we contacted Ivan again but the latter could not explain satisfactorily how the valuation was arrived at. When confronted he said ‘I was offered and I accepted’. This is in complete contrast to his original statement.
On 18th June, Gamini Viyangoda said that Ivan held 51% of Ravaya shares of which he planned to sell 40% (of the total) to Milinda Moragoda for Rs 20 million. When Ravaya Solidarity intervened Ivan had agreed to accept 10 million with the rest to remain invested in Ravaya. This contradicts Ivan’s statement about being offered and then having accepted the said amount.
Ravaya Solidarity paid half the amount (i.e. Rs 5 million). Accordingly RS still ‘owes’ Ivan Rs 5 million.
Meanwhile, today the Company Registrar told Colombo Telegraph that the entire transaction is illegal and completely out of order. An investigation is to be launched into the transaction, Colombo Telegraph learns.