By Laksiri Fernando –
There is no point in waiting for the Presidential Commission to conclude or the No Confidence Motion to take place. There can be a Parliamentary debate on the Penthouse Issue or Public Corruption in general for the members to express their views and show their determination, if anything remaining, against corrupt practices. The President must remove Ravi Karunanayake, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the Cabinet forthwith.
The Members of Parliament can ask Ravi Karunanayake to completely resign from Parliament. If not, or even otherwise, it is left for the UNP to remove him from the party membership and inform the Elections Commission accordingly, for the world to see where he would remain thereafter.
There is enough evidence to politically determine that there had been a shady deal between Ravi Karunanayake and the businessman Arjuna Aloysius, who is being primarily investigated by the Presidential Commission on the controversial Treasury Bond issue. As far as I am aware, contrary to what a Minister has told the Colombo Telegraph, there is no prohibition whatsoever for the President to act against a Minister when there is a No Confidence Motion scheduled in Parliament. It can even be in the form of a Cabinet reshuffle.
If the President delays action against Ravi Karunanayake, serious doubts will be cast against him as well. If Ravi Karunanayake’s removal as the Finance Minister was warranted for some reason, there is now more reasons to remove him as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. His remaining days as the Foreign Minister would be a total disgrace for the country as whole within the UN, among the Commonwealth countries and in the whole world, East and West.
According to all reports available, Mr Karunanayake has not denied that he was living in the said Penthouse and its rent was paid by Arjuna Aloysius for nine months. What he has childishly denied is his knowledge about the deal. According to him, it was done by his wife and daughter! Even the daughter, in her posting, has not denied the accusations but ask “Why only one man’s name comes up all the time in such a huge government?” There is all indication, in that questioning that directly or indirectly, there are other people in the government who are involved in the bond scam, if not the Penthouse issue.
This was the suspicion of many who observed and criticised the unprecedented auctions of bonds, beginning February 2015. I had occasion to analyse the bond issue of February 2015 which was announced for 1 billion first and then issued for 10 billion through direct intervention of Arjuna Mahendran, the then Governor of the Central Bank (“Awoth Atha Thamai: Cabral is No Excuse for Mahendran,” Colombo Telegraph, 23 May 2015). The person benefitted was Arjuna Aloysius, his son in law.
The immediate reason for my article was Ranil Wickremesinghe’s disgraceful defence of Arjuna Mahendran in Parliament on 21 May (also thereafter) even distorting the findings of the Committee appointed by him to ‘cover up’ what appeared to be controversial bond sales, at that time. It was quite puzzling why Mr Wickremesinghe opted to defend Mahendran so vehemently.
Of course, Mahendran was Wickremesinghe’s appointee and college friend, from Royal. There also could have been some ideological reasons like both believing strongly in ‘neo-liberalism’ where profit making is freely allowed for entrepreneur classes at the expense of the ordinary masses.
I also suspected another reason although somewhat hesitant to articulate directly without much evidence before. That was about the UNP’s party coffers. It was almost by accident that Ranil Wickremesinghe became the Prime Minister in January 2015. By that time the UNP was in a bad shape both organizationally and financially. It is quite possible that Wickremesighe allowed Arjuna Aloysius to make money on the understanding that he funds the UNP particularly at the general elections.
This is of course not an established fact but a reasonable doubt or accusation. This is how the capitalist political parties work. The SLFP also cannot be innocent on these grounds, but the issue at present particularly before the Presidential Commission is who benefitted from the bond scams at the expense of the people of this country. This is also the issue before the country and the people.
Even otherwise, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s possible complicity in the bond scams cannot be ruled out. He, Ravi Karunanayake and Malik Samarawickrama are a very close group within the party and in the government. Even on the Penthouse issue, it is quite unlikely that the other two were not aware of what was going on. Therefore, there is all reason to investigate Ranil Wickremesinghe after removing Ravi Karunanayake from the Cabinet and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs immediately. If Mr Wickremesinghe is clean, he himself should come before the Commission and should give evidence.
Jagath Fernando / August 5, 2017
One of the biggest culprits in the shady deal was Bank of Ceylon who gave a blank cheque to Perpetual to buy bonds worth billions of Rupees.
How come the board and management of BoC are not called to give evidence? Perpetual would not have been able to bid for the bonds without the financial backing of BoC.
We are now aware of Pan ASIA Bank involvement but look at the other banks as well.
Rarityminds / August 5, 2017
I think one hand it is fair this case to move this way, since the resistence Rajaakshe men not to have been investigated for alleged high crimes can get speeded up if current parties would prove that the law is also equal to the men currently in power.
I dont think that the articulating article of good Prof Fernando is necessary, in the days to come, Prez has to take acation against Ravi K asking him his resignation.
Ravi K made a big mistake for the entire party.
I dont think PM would be knowing all these issues that went through in the BOND SCAM that may be the reason him NOT to have stood against the continuation of former CBG AM.
All in all, the entire folks would see it, RAVI K has to be punished if all would come to surface, so should be the case against Rajaakshe men and thei rgoons too.
Bubble is blown – nothing can be hidden anymore.
Amarasiri / August 5, 2017
Dr. Laksiri Fernando,
RE: Remove Ravi Karunanayake & Investigate Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Involvement
If they remove Rani Krunanayaka, then they have to remove almost all the 224 from Parliament staring from Maa MaRa Chatu MaRa. Removing Ravi is selective removal….. So what are the options? Selective justice, complete justice or no justice?
By the way Amarasiri too, needs a nice penthouse. Whom should Amarasiri contact? Ravi, Alosius, Mahendran or MaRa and MaRa cronies. The consideration is that Amarasiri will not criticize them for one-month. Will it work?
Ashi / August 5, 2017
Very Nice Article!
Words / August 5, 2017
There is nothing puzzling about Mr. Cleans defence of Arjun..he was an accomplice in all of this. To think otherwise is just plain stupid
And for all those who praise Mr. Cleans shrewdness..do you really think he was unaware of RK’s involvement in this and the sordid affair of the penthouse etc etc
Rajiv / August 5, 2017
I believe RW was the mastermind of the project. RW has such a tight grip of the party, no one will tie their shoe laces without him knowing. I believe Mahendran did what he was told to do by RW.
After all, to contest a presidential election with 2 months notice is a monumental task. Where was all the money for the campaigning and ads? Yes, India, US and Europe kicked in some but I am pretty sure they borrowed a lot too. Perhaps, the stealing was to pay off these loans and have more for the general election that followed.
“Mr. Clean” may not have kids but just like his uncle, the Government has been a “friends and family program” like 2001. By controlling the UNP, he controls the party coffers. So, the “Mr. Clean” claims are totally disingenuous. RW’s cut of stolen money goes into the party for his use. Pretty nice scam to claim he is not a thief.
MS is equally culpable here. He gave RW and RK a lifeline in 2015 when he dismissed parliament. MS is as crooked as the rest of them. Funny thing is, in good old Sri Lanka, none of these guys would be punished for this.
Native Vedda / August 5, 2017
“do you really think he was unaware of RK’s involvement in this and the sordid affair of the penthouse etc etc”
Come on, why haven’t the police arrested RK? Ranil is supposed to protect all these and crooks from the previous parliament. Why doesn’t the government write it off as being commission payable for financial services rendered? How did MR, GR, BR, NR and their fellow crooks balance the books?
Are you planning to replace Dr Ranil with Dr Gota?
billy / August 6, 2017
haha colombian vedda got pissed off …how dare anyone accuse our hamu of any fraud …LOL
Its all rajapakses faults by the way….lol ..this guy is a classic hamu slave, probably a fake of vander putin, shyaman or kumar david ..lol
K A Sumanasekera / August 6, 2017
Billy….Billy……Please go easy on my mate NV……..Yahapalana Laundry is getting as big as Meethotamulla……….So native has his work cut out……….Aloysious must pay for a few Industrial Model Dry Cleaners, before Native breaks his back……….And go on Compo………
Native Vedda / August 6, 2017
“Yahapalana Laundry is getting as big as Meethotamulla”
Don’t you know Ravi and his daughter have been washing their dirty linen in public all these days and I don’t think they are going to ask for your help?
By the way I don’t mind starving if I don’t get meal at home.
Native Vedda / August 6, 2017
“Its all rajapakses faults by the way”
No its Ponnambalam Ramanathan’s fault.
Matilda Ellepola / August 5, 2017
another point to note about RW…. he did appoint 3 of Sirikotha low level lawyers in a committee to find any wrongdoings in the bond issue and not surprisingly they came clean saying there was no conflicts in the bond auctions and can someone please name those shameless lawyers here?
Also RW was sarcastically asking what folks know of Bonds except for James Bond, this man is a shame for the word of Yahapalanaya.
Sri-Krish / August 5, 2017
I am disappointed with your article and I think it is premature on your part to suggest the stipulated courses of action.
The Presidential Commission was appointed to inquire into the bonds issue. Why not allow them to continue with their good work.
The penthouse was not an issue, it has arisen in the course of bonds inquiry.
It is really about conflict of interest and there is a reasonable suspicion about insider trading.
However the Central Bank is not under the Minister of Finance. It is under the Prime Minister.
Shall we wait for the Commission to take their own decisions?
In the meantime the no confidence motion is a political process and the President and thee Prime Minister should take the correct political decision in the interest of their own political future.
The Public, Yes the public and the civil society has the right and duty to expect the removal of all suspicious characters from the political scene and he law to take its due process in the interest of good governance and morality in politics.
Laksiri Fernando / August 6, 2017
I don’t think you are correct. No need to wait for the conclusion of the Commission to remove him from the Cabinet. It is a political decision based on transparency and accountability. The President is responsible to the people to ensure a corrupt free and an accountable cabinet. The Ministers should not obtain financial benefits from businessmen. It is an apparent bribe. However, you may be partially correct to say that one must wait for the conclusion of the Commission to take legal action, if any. However, even here, there can be a separate bribery case separate from the bond issue. It is up to the lawyers and the Bribery and Corruption Commission to decide. My point is political.
I wonder whether you have seen my article on ‘A Bottle of Wine Throws a Premier Out!’ (Colombo Telegraph, 17 April 2014). That is about a NSW (Australia) Premier taking a bottle of wine as a gift without declaring it. A small gift could be declared. But not a Penthouse! It is not a gift but an obvious bribe, for what we still don’t know. The NSW Premier was forced to resign, but he did without delay. On his part, it could have been an oversight or negligence, but he graciously resigned, taking the responsibility. He didn’t say it was taken by his wife or daughter, although it was delivered to his home. This is not about a person, but a principle. The following was my initial paragraph.
“This is a case of ‘accountability and responsibility’ that all Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers, Ministers and all Members of Parliament or members of any such representative institution in a functioning democracy should abide by.”
Good luck for your dissent, unfortunately on the side of apparent corruption this time!
Mallaiyuran / August 6, 2017
When Laksiri Fernando was the Chairman of SEC, he had the internal information- that time he should have asked the then Finance minister to resign; but he conferred a PhD to the Finance Minister and he resigned from the Colombo Stock Exchange. Then CSE got into all kind of gillmarts. They were extra to Ajit Nivad’s circuses at CB. Where was Laksiri Fernando, when he had the internal information, to ask the Old King to resign for the reason of mismanaging the CSE? Isn’t Ranil covered all of those frauds saved the crocodiles too.
Isn’t all communists have double standards like, Tissa Witharana, DEW, Vasu, NM….
Jim softy / August 5, 2017
MY3 and Ranil are not still firing even when this con-man is caught red handed probably because of the crappy legislation that protect corrupt parliamentarians. Besides, it is published information that constitution and ethinic integration ministry is what the west wants. NGos are another useless lot who ride the wave created by the public opinion when thgat is not the west want, . If not they are silent just like ETI KEHEL KAAPU UGUDUWAs. Any rule book should be changed to make the MPs more accountable and to, at least, ask them to step down when they are accused of corruption. RK’s case is not just accustion. His case is proven by he himself that he is a public thief. Only thing it needs is further evidence to prove the case beyond doubt. Another thing is law enforcement and Justice can not work intependant because most of the politicians will be in jail, if that happens.
Ataka Nataka / August 5, 2017
Avant Garde whats happenning mr laksiri. Can you comment on dealdasa
Jim softy / August 5, 2017
Laksiri Fernando: I suppose you live in australia. How is the system there. Would the Ranil wickeramsinghe as the minister responsible for the Central Bank, resign as as soon as the scame was revealed. Should Ranil Wickramasinghe have asked RK to step down until the investigation is over. How would that happen in austrlia ?. Now, what about if RK use his powers to hide some documents. don.t you think it is all; melodrama. See how MY3 is showing his leadership. He is simply deaf and blind.
Hon So & So / August 6, 2017
Can anyone name a Sri Lankan leader who hasn’t accused of any kind of white collar or blue collar criminal activities? I use the word accused because I don’t think SL has a history of prosecuting any white collar criminals. Correct me if my statement is wrong.
I don’t understand why media calls an elected Member of Parliament or Provincial Council as “Hon So & So”. Respect is something a person should earn it based on his or her performance. Until then all forms of media should refrain from calling a politician “Hon So & So”.
I best one I still remember was the following incident. A powerful foreign embassy donated a building in Trinco. That time, a thug Pillian was the CM of Eastern Provincial Council another thug Karuna was a Parliament Member and a minister of whatever. It was humiliating when we heard the foreign delegate called both thugs with “Hon So &So”. In a serious note, I don’t think those 2 thugs were outliers in the political spectrum of SL.
It’s unbelievable how race or religious cards are being used to cover up blue collar criminals and social/economic status to cover up white collar criminals.
SL will be in sorry state forever unless a people movement to start to public shaming and reject the criminals from both end of criminal spectrum.
Don’t let any criminals to fool us with a public profile carefully tag with race/religion/social/economic status.
soma / August 6, 2017
He is being asked to resign for what? If the answer is reason X then this X is only mildly unethical or highly illegal?
If it is the former just let it pass. If it is the latter arrest him. ——-
We all must thank him for giving us an opportunity to see the true color of Ranil Wickramasinghe and Maitripala Sirisena.
Native Vedda / August 6, 2017
“He is being asked to resign for what?”
The country should not set new precedents. It would be shocking to our people. He should be transferred sideways to Finance.
Words / August 7, 2017
To finance??? What are you smoking??? Lol!!!
shankar / August 6, 2017
What onella is meaning here is why are you not taking Mr.clean to the cleaners instead of my dad.
In the mobile records of aloysius ranil’s name is equally mentioned as ravi’s.The correct thing for ranil to do now is to resign and allow karu to take over as the interim prime minister until proper internal UNP elections are held sometime next year to decide the new leader.Otherwise we say goodbye to UNP.It will have its usual base of 20- 25% of course but the extra 10% i got last time will vanish.
Mallaiyuran / August 6, 2017
Official opposition is very quiet on this. I do not mean here the Joint comedies, as they would not really like Ravi being punished because that will leave them defenseless and may give momentum to UNP rankers to force Ranil to prosecute Old Royals too. But I mean Sampanthar party, the Yahapalanaya justifiers.
If a cyclone breaks out of here and it split the Yahapalanaya before the two years term, then they will have nothing to tell in North until the next election comes. As soon as the Yahapalanaya go split, Tamils will not buy Sampanthar’s secret solution story. so, Sampanthar and Sumanthiran might have bought already a million coconuts to break as offering to Konamamaliyan to save Ravi from this nightmare.
ThinkingSrilankan / August 6, 2017
If the country is going to get back to its development that was the envy of the world, with vision to execution at a bliatering pace, this incompetent robbing nincompoops have to be aent home. They can’t even deliver basic servicea and everyone is striking. If there is anything to be proved against MR prove it. You have had 2.5 years. If there was proof surely that spineless puppet Sirisena would have brought it by now? As it has been proved against Ranil’s lying thieving bungling two bit crook friend Karunanayake?
Hiddleston / August 6, 2017
167 million is a small amount. It is really approx 1.12 million dollars. What is the big deal? So his friends paid for his apartment or his wife who collects bribes and doles out favors like a malay Dole got it. He is too busy. He trusts his wife and daughters to run the house, manage the cooks, and chauffeurs and staff. He relies on them. Give me a break. NOT ONE OF YOU had the balls to shout when MR was ruling. Colombo Telegraph was blocked in Ceylon. So what is all this bullshit about Ranil’s loyal fellow Royalist Minister? Royalists are the greatest thing to happen to Ceylon. Ranil and his special beau Sagala, Malick who was more famous for other stuff but is a billionaire, Eran the money supplier good honest Assembly of God , and the vociferous and rare honest Harsha PhD etc are going to save mother Ceylon from the disaster the singalam foolish kala veddahs from Medamulane created. Why were you mute back then? Ravi K just deserves a great lifestyle also like the fellow dress designer Royalist too Mangala S. They are ministers; how do you expect them to live in a hovel or a ghetto or a shanty man? What will foreign visitors think?
Hela / August 6, 2017
Though we could never pardon Sarath De Alwises, Laksiri Fernandos for their moral support given to a bunch of treacherous crooks to grab power under a flowery term, it is good to see at least one by one they are trying to disassociate themselves from this stinking garbage called “yahapalanaya”. It shows at least some morals are left in them that their conscience demand it from them.
Yet we still have Shyamons, Emils, Thisaranees, Jehans et al drinking piss from that cess pit.
Native Vedda / August 6, 2017
“Though we could never pardon Sarath De Alwises, Laksiri Fernandos for their moral support given to a bunch of treacherous crooks to grab power under a flowery term,”
Whether flowery or fiery term, crooks, racists, bigots …………. have been running/ruining this island since 1956 the year which saw the racists taking the country under their imaginary Pancha Maha Balavegaya. In the last few years the same traditional crooks are trying to hide behind various nationalistic symbols and forms.
The loudest crooks/racists get to kill more people and rob in billions. What is the difference among red, blue, green, …………….. crooks and racists? Does colour matter?
Sri-Krish / August 6, 2017
Thanks for your response. Unfortunately You have not read my comment.
What I said was Ravi could be removed without expecting him to resign.
The President should have the backbone to act.
It is nothing but cowardice to expect Ravi to resign and allow the President from taking difficult decisions and putting him into an embarrassing situation.
Decision making is the hallmark of a leader. postponing taking a decision is not the characteristic of a leader.
words words, we don’t want mere words, we want action!.
Sinhala_Man / August 7, 2017
Absolutely right, dear Sri-Krish.
We have vested certain people with powers to act! Delay is bound to make matters worse!
Punchi Appuhamy / August 6, 2017
There is tug war between MS and UNP-Ranil.Wicks in coming 2020 Presidential elections. It is well known fact MS and his allies are surround by SLFP and UNP supports want to be that Sirisena will be next President of SL?
Political moves by MS is looking for get limited accesses to Ranil Wicks next chance or last chance for Presidency ?
Ongoing Bond scam is another barriers for Ranil Wicks? Developing of political and corruption involvement of crimes by UNP Ranil … conditions will not permitted him to be President of SL?
MS is more ambitions for next term of Presidency .He do NOT want revival candidature from within UNP-Rank?
Mano Ratwatte / August 6, 2017
Corrupt Sri Lankan politicians looking to launder their ill gotten gains can “invest” $500,000 in Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner’s “real estate development projects” in NJ and get a Greencard. Simple.
K.Pillai / August 6, 2017
Laksiri has slipped a notch from his high-value opinions. If as he puts it “……….There is enough evidence to politically determine that there had been a shady deal between Ravi Karunanayake and the businessman Arjuna Aloysius……”, the judicial process must decide as to whether the “evidence” is valid or not.
The President must remove Ravi Karunanayake, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the Cabinet forthwith.
“The Members of Parliament can ask Ravi Karunanayake to completely resign from Parliament. If not, or even otherwise, it is left for the UNP to remove him from the party membership and inform the Elections Commission accordingly…….” Both these actions may be illegal.
The President can request RK to step aside and express express express fast tract the investigation. This, to the chagrin of JO, will set a precedent and send shivers up the spine of quite a few. There will be an immediate Lemon Puff fast unto death.
“……….There can be a Parliamentary debate on the Penthouse Issue or Public Corruption in general for the members to express their views and show their determination, if anything remaining, against corrupt practices………….”
Sorry Laksiri, parliamentary decisions are often “deals”.
Raj / August 6, 2017
RK was caught with his pants down. Period.
His feeble excuses are a joke. He should step down now &, at least, salvage a little of his honor before he is forced out, most likely, kicking & screaming. Whether he is guilty of corruption is up to the commission to prove but his ethics are certainly at question by the exposure of his conflict of interest as the Minister of Finance who benefited from a principal person of a scandal involving his Ministry. He is a disgrace to SL & should not continue as Foreign Minister any longer. How can this crook look foreign dignitaries in the eye, knowing very well that his sordid political career is now in public domain?
The credibility of SL is at stake when the current Foreign Minister is investigated for corruption. Of course, SL is not the first country with corrupt politicians & there are some countries happy to aid & abet corruption in third world countries to suit their own agenda but when SL needs foreign investment & assistance from developed countries, it sends out a wrong message.
Jema / August 7, 2017
Extreme greed is the this fools downfall. He should’ve quit while he was ahead from Athulathmudali’s money. Now he come back for seconds. Billions not enough, Ravi wants Trillions
Gamini / August 7, 2017
I believe the writer is expressing his views, in part, based on his exposure to what would happen in Western Counties (e.g Australia) in such situations. But what we must try to understand is that Standards/Values in those countries and those of the third world (including Sri Lanka) are quite different. What third world countries must try to do is to adopt such good and commendable laws/principles/values in their own countries so corruption etc are mitigated. It cannot be wiped out altogether as long as human beings are involved as they are mostly “corrupt, greedy ans self-serving” by their very nature. The Leaders of the previous regime did not set a good example and most followed their example!!
As Sri Lankans, we must atleast be thankful that issues such as these are getting exposed without too much pressure to wipe them under the carpet and also it can be highlighted in Parliament /
media without too much hindrance/fear. This was not the case under the previous regime where anyone speaking out against the regime would have been whitevanned/threatened/assaulted and there was no opportunity for it to be debated in Parliament! What I cannot understand is why there are so many (some intellectuals as well!) who would want such a regime back in power? Do they like repression / corruption / bribery to prevail without hindrance or are are they just Nationalist minded who think just because MR was in power when the LTTE was defeated, he has the right to do whatever he wishes? Churchill, the wartime PM was defeated at the polls as the polity thought although he was a good war time PM, it would not be the same in peace time. The same goes for MR (the villain). MR should retire honourably and let those who were duly elected as Leaders to govern.
We are able to share our views now using these forums isn’t it? There was a time this website could not be accessed by Sri Lankans, isn’t it. It appears Sri Lankans have a short memory and wish to have everything on a platter at no cost!