14 November, 2018

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Ravi Karunanayake Should Resign, Not Because Aluthgamage Says So

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“It is another matter that the very fact that investigators now, unlike during Rajapakse rule, invade the person of powerful political figures stands as a most refreshing outcome of yahapalanaya.”

The gentleman by the name of Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is one of the black sheep falling off from the broad ranks of the yahapalanaya movement. He must resign; if he doesn’t, he must be removed. This is not because former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage says so; that was a the pot calling the kettle black. It is easy to explain why.

Yahapalanaya -not the Property of any Political Group

Firstly, let us all realise that Yahapalanaya is not the property of any political group. It is a social movement originally led by the Late Revd Maduluwawe Sobita that took off during the later stages of the Rajapaksa ten-year-old regime. Socially conscious intellectuals and others banded together to change the direction of the country on to a sustainable path defined  by democratic freedoms, accountability, and the supremacy of law and order. This, they saw, as the fundamental base from which economic and social development can be predicated and the life of people made to flourish. The present government is only the chosen political instrument for that transformation. If the government fails to deliver, the movement will opt for another political instrument. Black sheep will fall by the wayside.

From the vantage point of my location in a country (Australia) defined by established systems of yahapalanaya, I have mentally aligned myself with this civil movement.  Our country profoundly needed a broad social movement emerging from the civil community since the more progressive of the political class seemed locked in an intrinsic inability to extricate itself from the menacing shackles and growing darkness of the Rajapaksa regime. The Mahanayakes and the GMOA, who shout now, were conspicuous by their inactivity then-at the hour of national crisis.

Ravi’s Myth Building

To begin with, I didn’t like Minister Ravi advertising himself with third party testimonials as  “the best Minister of Finance,” somewhere. What a wise move it was, made just in the nick of time, to have replaced this best Foreign Minister! Simultaneously, what an unwise move to have attached the Lotteries Board to his new portfolio of Foreign Affairs!  Sans any logic, it also smelt bad. Yet, Ravi got into the saddle. He now talks of “commercialising,” the orientation of the Foreign Service. As if that styling wasn’t there in the first place!  I am fed up with these kinds of slogans which our politicians have been feeding on. Be it “Gam Udawa,” Uthuru Wasanthaya,” or “Mathata Thithak”-these slogans have not meant anything real in the life of our people. They are meant to deceive by myth-building. I am glad President Sirisena has not come out with something like that.  Or has he?

Our religious leadership, educational institutions and media have never made it their serious responsibility to help build a critical community that would see through political myth-building. They want a worshipping community. Why on earth should we worship any entity-God,King, monk, or other person? The media is still full of astrology and superstition stalks our island.

The News Story

Let’s extract the story from a news report (Colombo Telegraph 26/7/17):

“Anika Wijesuriya, this morning told the Commission to inquire into the Bond Scandal that, her super luxury apartment at the Monarch Residencies was taken on lease by Arjun Aloysius who paid for it on behalf of the then finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

She also said that Arjun Aloysius had called her and told her to “destroy” the lease agreement pertaining to the transaction.

When deciding to give it on rent, Karunanayake’s wife Mela had called the brother of Anika who had then put her in touch with Anika.

The wife of the minister had then arrived at the apartment to inspect the apartment with two bodyguards. Thereafter she had taken a call and told the witness that, “a person known to both of us will be here.”

A short while after, Arjun Aloysius had arrived at the apartment. Thereafter, following discussions the witness said it was clear that Arjun was going to pay the rent for the house in which the Karunanayakes were moving into.

The entire lease amounting close to 9 million was paid for by a company named Walter and Rowe which Arjun and his father Geoff are both Directors. It is a fully owned subsidiary of the holding company of Perpetual treasuries.

Thereafter the Karunanayakes had moved into the apartment.

Accordingly, following the end of the lease period of 6 months, which commenced in February 2016, the Karunanayakes had decided to buy the apartment. Their family company of which Mela and the daughter are Directors had paid 165 million rupees and purchased the apartment the witness said.

The witness also said that Arjun Aloysius had called her last week and insisted that she destroyed the lease agreement. She said that she had decided against it.

She also said that the current Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake had called her father Nikhil last week.

The witness said that she knew that the information on the transaction had been found out by the investigators when officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) visited her in March this year.

The witness Anika, provided her name as Muthukudarachchige Vinodini in order to protect her identity during testimony.”

The ethics

To be sure, the Ravi Karunanayake allegations aren’t  judicially examined yet and on that score one cannot assign guilt to him with regard to any possible involvement in influencing the infamous bond deal. But the following basic facts thus far reported appears to tell us something substantial that Foreign Minster and Minister of Lotteries Mr Ravi Karunanayake, should answer before the people, Parliament, and media. A prima facie case of serious inappropriate behaviour is what appears to emerge from the following facts as reported in the press. The yahapalanaya government faces a crisis of credibility as never before, from which it must come out if it is to go forward.

Let’s leave the matter of judicial determination to the Commission and the courts. I am in the area of public ethics. The incident occurred in 2016 when Ravi was Minister of Finance. The fact that Ravi’s wife, Mela, did the transaction is immaterial. Any rational being will construct  the following narrative: First, Mela was acting as proxy of her husband. She eyes a penthouse belonging to Ms Wijesuriya and then approaches Perpetual Capital Holdings belonging to Aloysius to pay the money.  Aloysius is a principal player in the capital market and the main party in the controversial Bond deal that was being examined. It was, therefore, in the interests of Aloysius to  privilege Mela with a special offer. The lease rental was paid for by Aloysius through another company owned by him. Being a luxury penthouse, the lease rental was enormous. The payment had been made partly in cash, thereby undervaluing the amount stated in the lease agreement.Subsequently, a company belonging to Mela and Ravi’s daughter purchases the property for a huge sum of Rs 165 million. Furthermore, Ravi had been pressurising the owner of the property to tear up  the lease having realised the CID was investigating.

Our reasonable man will perceive a clear case of conflict of interest, bribery, and undue influence. Second, he would  infer that Ravi was attempting to stave off the judicial proceedings by trying to get the documents destroyed. Third, The reasonable man cannot also be blamed for believing that the subsequent purchase was also done probably with Aloysius’s money. Fourth, while all this went on Ravi stuck to his influencing position as Minister of Finance after the deal. Sixth, our reasonable man would perceive that there had been an ongoing  dialogue between the Minister and Aloysius while the bond case was on. By doing this, the Minister opens himself to charges of cover-up for favours granted.

Other Aspects

There is another aspect to this. How did Ravi get the money to pay for the penthouse? The Inland Revenue Department, comes under the Minister of Finance. Why did this department not question Ravi ‘ wife, Mela, how he got the money. Isn’t there another big conflict of interest here to continue to be in charge of that department? We also know that Ravi Karunanayake made a fuss about been suddenly transferred from that portfolio. Why did he want to cling on to that?

Again, from the point of view of public taste, the greed of the Karunanayakae family for luxury living becomes questionable in a country where over 75 per cent of the people are poor and struggling. Are these appropriate values to be displayed by public figures?

Conclusion

It is abundantly clear that the whole transaction opens the former Minister of Finance and present Minister of Foreign Affairs to very serious charges of  corruption. The Commission and courts will decide on that, but we can conclude  on ethical grounds that the Minister acted most inappropriately and has lost all credibility to remain a Minister of a yahapalanaya government. He cannot function even as Minister of Lotteries or Minister of Sugar. The yahapalanaya movement, for which I have written to public media so profusely, cannot agree to Ravi continuing as Minister. Keeping him in cabinet would seriously tarnish the public images of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in such a way that they will not be able to take the yahapalanaya program forward. 

It is another matter that the very fact that investigators now, unlike during Rajapaksa rule, invade the person of powerful political figures is a most refreshing outcome of yahapalanaya.

*The writer can be contacted at sjturaus@optusnet.com.au

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Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    I am sure if Ravi Karunanayake resigns, Mahinda Rajapakse and the joint opposition will welcome him into their fold. Birds of a feather flock together!

  • 2
    3

    Why that only one side of information is read in lanken media ?

    I believe, there is a biasednessin lanken media today.

    That is why we the people get to read only against the current govt.

    There are lot more groups that cover Rajapakshe and the high scandels.

    Even today, MIG DEAL man Udayanga Wijethunga and his whereabouts are not focused by INTERPOL why ?

  • 5
    2

    Why not your friend Ranil go with Ravi. He is fully involved with this mess appointing his friend to the CB.

    Were you born after 1989. Haven’t you heard about Batalanda killing field. I wish there were mobile phone and social media like today to show how dead bodies were found practically in every road, river and universities.

  • 3
    2

    Every one in there are involved in something. President’s have their families and children to look after too.So, Mahinda Rajapakse lived a King’s life and he allowed his children and his family, henche men their way. Do you think, other president’s would be different. All are in the same boat. So, it includes other politicians too. that is why every politician, as they are not intelligent or not capable, need their family involved in the parliament.

    • 4
      1

      Jimsofty the Dimwit

      “All are in the same boat.”

      All most all ministers, state functionaries, presidents, ………….. have been Sinhala/Buddhists. Are you confirming what we all knew, that because they were/are Sinhala/Buddhists they have always behaved like crooks, murderers, war criminals, …………….?

      • 0
        3

        Dumb Native Veddo: Earlier you were cheering Ranil. IT looks you di dnot get santhosam from him. Now who you are cheering to. make a list of christians, muslims and Tamils who did the same thing. As long as journalists are cheering to (you do for your own gains I suppose) politicians for personal gains, Sri lanka doe snot have any escape. They fatten their families and extended families at the expense of the country. They hide from everybody because, they don’t want to show that they can not. On the other hand, they don’t want to leave it too.

        • 2
          0

          Jimsofty the Dimwit Ex Beach Boy

          “Earlier you were cheering Ranil.”

          When, where, how, why, ……?

      • 0
        0

        Its true, Most of the good politcos was catolics. All high sinhalese positions has been catolics since 1500 up to Mahinda started to flush out catolics and replace with buddists.

  • 3
    3

    Former minister Late Lalith Athulathmudali was a good people’s friendly politician; but he too, like MR, had cronies around him. Ravi whose aim is money and only money was brought into politics by Athulathmudali, (and later by his wife late Srimanie Athulathmudali). Creeping through Srimanie’s ear, this man cleaned up late leader’s wealth slowly and surely. Today, nobody knows where the late Athulathmudalis’ daughter is. She had no place to live and left the country apparently.
    People in Ratmalana electorate are well aware of it. Now that both are dead, it looks like that it is Ranil’s turn. Ranil will be politically dead if he continues to protect this shameless man.
    Another point: there should be a reason why this cunning man wanted the Lottery board under his arm. Next inquiry should be on that! Some say this is the ideal place to ‘whiten’ the black money!
    Ranil and Ravi are major partners of the Royal Colombo circle: whenever there is no escape during arguments, they switch from Sinhalese to English! Just observe their speeches in Parliament!
    After grabbing power in Jan 2015, the first few months were spent to devise plans to loot the CB that has backfired now! Afterwards, Mr. Clean became Mr. Dirty and the entire UNP attempted to cover it. Yahapalanaya has no development plan whatsoever for the country and nation even today. The Royal Colombo circle had been planning their own development and the gullible president was too slow to understand what was going on. After Ven. Bellanwila thero lashed him at a meeting with his own whip, he expedited the Presidential Commission on Bond Scam.
    We need an honest leader who understands issues quickly and makes appropriate decisions after consulting professionals. There are no such leaders in SL today but one of the few who come close to, is obviously MR and his team that includes Gota and GL.
    There is no wonder, that when compared to this regime MR’s looks like a white lily to average Sri Lankans today, and I don’t blame them at all.

  • 3
    1

    Sri Lankans have extremely poor memory. Nothing will come out of this. Shameless they will be, because their parents never taught them what shame is! You will see husband and wife dining in five star luxury, gloating over the fact that they had 165 Million to pay for the penthouse. No need to bother about how they earned that money. Ironically, some of their friends will envy them and even congratulate them.

    MS despite his failures in leadership still possesses an iota of humanity and self-respect. RW does not. He thinks we are all idiots and cannot see through his various machinations. For him, politics is about survival. There is no child to leave a better country for…so as long as he can live for another day…he is good.

    Unfortunately for the rest of us, our priorities are vastly different from all of them.

  • 5
    0

    “Ravi Karunanayake Should Resign,”

    what!!! and live happily ever after with more than 165 million rupees of our money.Should be put into jail with aloysious ,mahendran and the other cronies in the UNP. resignation not enough for us,pal.

  • 0
    0

    This CT is now a regular blog for Tamil Tiger Lovers in the west and Lankan Sinhalese who also left. Only a few seem to be left in SL and they are genuine. But then they are attacked by people. Take for example Emil Van DerPooten. Lives in Sri Lanka and writes about the malaise in Sri Lanka, corruption, arrogant people and the expat Sinhalayas attack him. A Tamil living in SL writes and Tigers in OZ, Canada, US attack him. It is fast becoming a farce.

    • 2
      1

      KnobLicker

      Attack is the best form of defence if citizens want to protect democratic arrangements, institutions and the country from/against bigots, thieves, racists, crooks, war criminals, 10%, 20%, 30%…. commissioners, fascists, white van owning murderers, saffronistas, ….. … Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa the country’s foremost intellectual, …. theocracy, ……….

  • 4
    0

    Mr. Shyamon J,
    Why only Ravi K? What about the man who appointed Arjun Mahendran to the top post of CB amid a lot of negative criticisms? Don’t try to white wash your boss and sacrifice only one criminal when the robbery was planned and executed by a gang of criminals.
    Then there is the UNP caucus that was hell-bent to destroy the COPE report in and out of Parliament. They added footnotes; one young minister even wrote a book and all UNP cabinet ministers got together to castigate Auditor General for revealing the truth. Thus, the entire UNP hierarchy tried to dilute the gravity of this shameful criminal act. When media revealed this information with a timeline you, as a CT writer, tried your best to cover it. Didn’t you? As CT readers we are well aware of your allegiances and now your plan is to send just one of the criminals to the guillotine in order to save the lives of your boss and others. Let me tell you sir, this is the 21st century and JR, MR, or RW with MS won’t be able to hide the truth from the public!

  • 1
    0

    The entire set of mercenary rogues of yamapalana junta should go………………

    • 1
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      Hela

      “The entire set of mercenary rogues of yamapalana junta should go………………”

      Where to?

      Hela province of Papua New Guinea, Singahapura, Helsinki, Erivirapattinam, South India, …… ?

      When they go you should also go taking your descendants of Kallathonies, 70 years of misrule ended up with 99% state and rulers of thieves, crooks, rapists, racists, bigots, drug smugglers, ……………… and their b***s carriers.

      • 0
        0

        Veddo,

        Don’t insult people of Papua New Guinea. of course yamapalana mercenary junta can go to Sinhapura with their buddy Arjun.

  • 2
    0

    “Gam Udawa,” Uthuru Wasanthaya,” or “Mathata Thithak”-these slogans have not meant anything real in the life of our people. They are meant to deceive by myth-building.

    “Dharmishta samajaya”, “Yhapalanaya” were also meant to deceive by myth building by RW, CBK, Mangi, Sirisena crooks and their buddies like you.

  • 0
    0

    “To be sure, the Ravi Karunanayake allegations aren’t judicially examined yet and on that score one cannot assign guilt to him with regard to any possible involvement in influencing the infamous bond deal. “

    Shyamon, but you could not wait till all judicial examinations and related conditions have been fulfilled before you hanged Rajapakses…………………

    Cannot expect anything else from a one who lost his under wear……….

  • 0
    0

    “The yahapalanaya movement, for which I have written to public media so profusely, cannot agree to Ravi continuing as Minister. Keeping him in cabinet would seriously tarnish the public images of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in such a way that they will not be able to take the yahapalanaya program forward. “

    Shyamon, What yahapalana movement? Is there any good public image left of this mercenary, rogue junta? They lost it long time ago babe…..They lost it when parliament was dissolved to prevent COPE report on the bond scam being tabled. They lost it when Ranil kept Arjun as CB governor after the revelations……..It is not only Ravi K, all of these buggers got together in robbing the country via the bond scams. So don’t try to act like a baby and try to find a scapegoat in Ravi K. Don’t think you can continue to deceive readers.

  • 0
    0

    Why should Ravi resign ? Ask Sampanthan to resign first. Because Ravi, sr Lanka was able climb from third world country to first world Buddhist country

  • 0
    0

    can they look into how the penthouse was acquired.Did he buy it through a bank loan or did he pay for it.If he paid for it ask him from where he got the money and trace it to aloysius.check aloysius bank accounts to see whether any withdrawal made at that time and for what.The nine million lease is peanuts compared to the purchasing of the 164 million pent house.Also heard he is building a mansion in kotte.Do the same procedure for that too.Check whether bank loans or his ‘own ‘ money involved.

  • 0
    0

    Ravi is a crook who really belongs to the Rajapakse clan. Let him go back. Sirisena should sack him if Ranil would not

  • 0
    0

    Enjoy Australia. With one election we in the USA have turned this into a bloody comedy. The President wants the Dept of Justice and FBI director and Attorney General to be subservient to him. He goes on twittering rants and he shouts and insults people. The thin skin bully then claims “people are rude they are insulting me”. He made his whole persona as being “tough” as a TV reality star after his Real Estate Empire successes. Employees are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements that will prevent them from even reporting wrong doings with lifetime threats of legal action. He still profits from his Empire of real estate and hospitality industry investments. He does not care. His family sells his Presidency for Profit. Did you say Dudley Sirisena and Daham?

    You want to talk about Sri Lankan leaders or Ravi K? how is that different? Ethics Chief quit in disgust here in the US; Trump does not hold himself to high ethical standards. All his visits on holidays as President at Tax Payer expense is to HIS resorts! So the govt pays HIS resorts for HIS travels. But half the country does not care. So do not blame Rajapakses. Half of the USA still back Trump despite daily absurdities and his blatant use of nepotism. He still has direct control of reports of his empire after promising to divest because one of his two dumb fucking ugly faced sons the second one Eric reports once a week to him on his profits. Hmm? Did you notice how the US Ambassador and his Deputy Hilton did not have Ramadan at the Embassy this year? Also totally ignored Gay Pride month? New direction man new direction

    Daughter and Son in Law in top positions with zero skills in governance; Did you say Sirisena’s daughter?. You say Rajapakse? Most number of WallStreet insider multi-millionaires in Cabinet. You say Arjun Mahendran and Eran W? Lies everyday. You say who?

  • 0
    0

    To Karu Gomage,
    Yes, Ravi belongs to the Rajapaksa clan! Of course, let him switch sides and we’ll see how he spills the beans. Please remember you all who supported Yahapalanaya have been taken for a ride by the UNP. The capitalist policy is when you need someone he is a beloved son of the Royal circle, and when he is caught red-handed, he is ‘son of a bitch’.
    Ravi K is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more things coming along the way of Yahapalanaya.
    Let’s see!

  • 0
    0

    Shyamon, thanks for the well written unbiased article about the issue.

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