13 December, 2017

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Weliamuna Appeared For Lasantha’s Murder Suspect Under Rajapaksas’ Watch: TI Director Now Evades Questions

The high profile murder of Sunday Leader Founder Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, has taken a new twist with the Colombo Telegraph reliably learning that another Army Intelligence Officer who was also allegedly involved in the murder of the well-known journalist was exonerated by Court in 2012.

JC Weliamuna

JC Weliamuna

The Colombo Telegraph is in possession of information that confirms that Kandegedara Piyawansa, an Army Intelligence Officer who had been involved in obtaining five SIM cards in the murder operation of Wickrematunge, was acquitted by the Mount Lavinia Court, which not only ordered for his release from remand, but also exonerated him from all charges and the TID which was investigating the case at that time had not objected to the move.

Piyawansa was accused of purchasing five SIM cards which were used in the murder operation of Wickrematunge. Piyawansa is alleged to have purchased the SIMs under the name of Pitchai Jesudasan whose ID card was stolen by Piyawansa. Jesudasan reportedly died in remand custody under natural causes during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency. TID was also investigating the case on grounds that Jesudasan had terrorist links.

According to highly placed sources, Piyawansa had served in the contingent of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, and when Piyawansa had been brought before court he had been heard making a loud remark at the Court to the effect that certain officers of the Army and CID had not fulfilled the promises made to him provided he named Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka in the case.

Soon after Piyawansa’s outburst, the Army had pushed for his release. Piyawansa subsequently made a statement before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate who ordered the then IGP to follow up the matter, which however was never followed up. Incidentally, the lawyer who appeared for Piyawansa was reportedly Good Governance activist and Director of both Transparency International and its Sri Lanka chapter J. C. Weliamuna. He is also a advisor to the President Maithripala Sirisena.

Continuous attempts by the Colombo Telegraph news desk to contact Weliamuna failed. When a journalist from Colombo Telegraph spoke to him on August 4, 2016 at around 1.21 p.m. he informed the journalist that he was at a meeting and to call after 6.00 p.m., when the journalist called him back at 6.09 p.m. on the same day, another person who picked up Weliamuna’s mobile said that he was still busy and to call him later that night. However, despite numerous attempts by the journalist to contact him, all calls signaled as ‘line busy.’ The Colombo Telegraph then emailed Weliamuna several questions, and also sent two text messages to him, to which he chose not to respond, although both the emails and the text messaged were delivered.

The questions sent to Weliamuna by Colombo Telegraph via email are given below:

“1) Records show that you appeared as Counsel for Kandegedara Piyawansa, in the High Court of Mount Lavinia, who was an accused held in remand at an earlier occasion in connection with the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge. Is this correct?

2) Were you successful in obtaining bail for Kandegedara Piyawansa in this instance?

3) Did the Army pay to retain you?

4) Did you appear for Kandegedara Piyawansa, when he was exonerated and
all charges dismissed in connection with the murder case?

5) Were you aware that Kandegedara Piyawansa was in the Army Intelligence contingent of General (at the time) Sarath Fonseka at the time you appeared for him in connection with this case?

6) Have you appeared for any other Army Officer in court at any time after the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge?

7) If so, whom?

8) Did the Army pay for such appearance/s?

9) Do you currently function as an Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka? If yes, in what area do you provide advice on.”

Highly placed sources within the security establishment say that several DIGs of the CID and even the TID are well aware as to who was behind Wickrematunge’s assassination in January 2009. According to them, the arrest of the other Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama in connection to Wickrematunge’s murder is a step in the right direction.

Udalagama who was arrested in July this year over Wickrematunge’s murder is also facing charges in the attack on former Editor of Rivira Newspaper Upali Tennakoon. The attackers followed a similar assault style on Tennakoon, although they ensured that the level of force used on Tennakoon was only meant as an injury and not to kill, unlike in Wickrematunge’s case where he was also shot.

Incidentally, at the time of Tennakoon’s attack, the Rivira Newspaper was a pro Rajapaksa paper after the change of management which was originally owned by the Richard Pieris Group. In 2008, a close ally of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Nilanka Rajapaksha, bought majority shares (51%) of the company (and Mahiada Rajapaksa’s nephew Prasanna Wickramasoorya bought 49%) which subsequently also affected the independence of the newspapers published by the group.

Tennakoon was attacked just days after Wickrematunge’s assassination in January 2009, and according to defence sources it was an attempt by the government to show they had nothing to do with Wickrematunge’s murder. “They tried to portray that even a newspaper editor in support of the government was being attacked, in their effort to distance themselves from the killing of Wickrematunge,” sources said. Wickrematunge was a strong critic of the then Rajapaksa government and various groups have accused several high profile officials of the then government including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and ex-Army Commander Sarath Fonseka as the main strategists behind the assassination.

Meanwhile, defence sources have also highlighted the need to exhume the body of Jesudasan, to verify if he actually died from natural causes while in remand custody. Relatives of Jesudasan had said that soon after his death, a person saying he was from the President’s Office had visited Jesudasan’s home in Nuwara Eliya and had promised a sum of Rs. 500,000 to his family, which has increased suspicion as to who is actually involved in Wickrematunge’s murder.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    11

    I thought the dealing between Legal Counsel and their clients are strictly confidential..

    I am no fan of Walli muna,who is part and parcel of the UNP, Diaspora , and the NOG corporation of mother Lanka.

    It is getting harder and harder to nail Appattchi on this…

    • 21
      1

      Our main man Baya Gota is off the hook on this and all the podi sallies are caught.

      Is Baya Gota a big and difficult fish to catch and thread through the podi sallies reach him finally?

      • 7
        0

        Yes, catching big fish needs a net that cannot be broken. Here is an
        example of a black coat defending some culprit skilfully. The P.M.
        had this to say about investigations;
        , “Let us allow them (FCID) to do their duty. This is not a game of hide and seek. Obtaining evidence should be done skilfully. Lawyers for the defendants are waiting for an opportunity for a loophole. This is like striking with a two-edged sword. If the target is missed, the striker too, will be cut.”Supporting the PM’s views, a renowned criminal lawyer told us, “Rajitha, Champika, Arjuna and Fonseka do not have any knowledge of the law. What they want is to have media hypes saying Namal is caught, Gota is caught, Basil is caught. Then, the people will not question them about the increase in VAT and the cost of living. Especially, evidence in financial crime should be built very skilfully, like bringing out a valuable artifact hidden by the sand sheet of time. In a crime, the case should be built upon circumstantial evidence if there is no eyewitness account. So, if the CID goes to act according to the haste of politicians, such cases can be brought down easily.” As webed on 18-5-2016

    • 5
      0

      K A Sumanasekara , OOJJ, ED? , Prof of GG Basher ( Official Opposition Joint Joker, Educated ? , Prof . Of Good Governance Basher)

      (Full honorary Qualification of KAS)

      Which Appattchi of yours are you referring to here??
      Thank you for your absurdity.

    • 11
      1

      To me it doesn’t look as if anyone is serious about bringing to book either Thajudeen’s or Lasantha’s killers. Just dragging the case as long as possible and hope that the public will lose interest.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Soul of Sunday Leader Founder Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge,

      “Soon after Piyawansa’s outburst, the Army had pushed for his release. Piyawansa subsequently made a statement before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate who ordered the then IGP to follow up the matter, which however was never followed up. Incidentally, the lawyer who appeared for Piyawansa was reportedly Good Governance activist and Director of both Transparency International and its Sri Lanka chapter J. C. Weliamuna. He is also a advisor to the President Maithripala Sirisena.”

      Crooks Galore.The past crooks are with the present crooks, as they were crooks together.

      Will there be justice? What justice can be expected from the crook, past, present and into the future?

      • 0
        0

        Following 9 years of wrong doings and the most heinous of crimes, we have only arrested the distant minions. I have no doubt the top echelons of that most corrupt of regimes in that period are involved up to their necks. Why don’t we grant immunities to these minions so that they will name the real bigwigs involved. It would be small price to pay.

    • 8
      0

      Wali-Moona or who ever it is He is another con-man. He blackmailed the yahapalana govt to find foreign accounts of Mahinda Rajapskse but he could not find anything. But, he charged a few millions.

      Just feed the family with blood money.

  • 23
    1

    Prior to his decision to contest the 2010 Presidential Election General Fonseka was a much loved, much praised and much decorated national hero. His decision to challenge MR at a democratic election made him the target of MR’s fury, and we all know full well what kind of strategy and tactics Rajapakshas and their cronies used to denigrate the General. The major thrust was to make him the target of national hatred, the complete opposite of the status as the national hero that was bestowed to him by Rajapakshas publicly only a few months prior to the 2010 election.

    Trying to hang the blame for Lasantha’s death on the General was one important tactic of that Rajapaksha strategy; they also thought they could kill two birds with one stone: eliminate their journalist enemy and at the same time use the event to transfer the blame to the General and so make him a target of national hatred. What a smart move by these vile politcians.

    SF’s just earned titles and national recognition were usurped by Gotta and his big brother, and not satisfied with imprisoning him, between them they continued to denigrate the General. This case that has been concerted in the court enacted in 2012 was nothing but part of that play that Rajapakshas had been publicly performing as part of their strategy. This article, even if it tries to stick a label on the General as complicit to Lasantha’s death, has no credibility what so ever, because we the public know very well what gestapo tactics were used by Rajapakshas during their rule 2010-2015 to make Jet Black looks White. If anything, the article reflects very badly on the rulers circa 2012 when they were able to concoct any damning evidence against anyone whom they thought were their adversaries.

    Rajapakshas, misled by their own ego, vanity and crooked astrologers, firmly believed that they could get away with these damning activities, believing that their would be dynasty would be able rewrite history according to their will. They even tried to cheat the Deities, Gods and Lord Buddha pretending that they were above them, but at the end, it was the Gods that had the last laugh, watching the Devil tumbling down into the eternal damnation.

  • 24
    1

    MR had corrupted the judiciary to an extent that it will take another decade to clean it up even with all the effort.

    As to military intelligence, military and police its no secret how Gota used them.

    To yahapalanaya’s credit there was a four day march against the govt and no one was shot, there were no white van kidnapping and simply no one has disappeared.

  • 16
    2

    Hopefully more pressure will be applied to Weliamuna from ‘other quarters’ as well, to come clean about his association with Piyawansa.

    If the President could ‘advise’ his ‘advisor’ to be as ‘transparent’ as he is meant to be as Director of Transparency International’s Sri Lanka Chapter, it may bode well for Yahapalanaya.

    But going by how Yahapalanaya is going, we shall not hold our breath for fear of suffocation!

  • 9
    0

    Until now, NO post-mortem/autopsy report on the body of slain Lasantha Wickrematunge has surfaced in the media.

    Was one held, and by whom? This is not discussed/revealed.
    A post-mortem reveals the cause, time and manner of death.

    Lawyers appear in all cases provided fees are paid.
    No lawyer has ever refused to appear for the defence of any accused in murder cases.
    Lawyers are also not obliged to state their reasons for appearing for any client, or, whether they did appear for any client.

  • 8
    0

    “custody under natural causes”

    hahahahhahahhahhahaha was it gotatitis?

  • 11
    0

    “Meanwhile, defence sources have also highlighted the need to exhume the body of Jesudasan”

    another thajudeen.

  • 11
    0

    So many hands in the pie. Obviously those hands are going to block a successful outcome of the investigation, court case and punishment. God help the people of Sri Lanka!

  • 4
    3

    Lawyers communication with clients is privileged.Lawyers need not disclose their dealings with clients.Also this was the time that anyone going against the Army or defence establishment faced high risk.Therefore it is not surprising that a public spirited lawyer such as Weliamuna appeared for Piyawanse who went against the Army although he himself was an army personnel.Based on the maxim ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’, Weli cannot be faulted in this instance. I think Colombo Telegraph should stop this witch hunt against J.C.Weliamuna who faced enormous threats at the hands of the Rajapaksas. Now every one can afford to sit back and pontificate on the nitty gritty of each act but please just don’t forget the white vans,hand grenades thrown at houses,midnight night visits by strangers,threats over the phone etc.

    • 1
      0

      Why can’t he just reply saying that, then, without needing you to be his public spokesperson? Avoiding the phone and not responding just sends several wrong signals, doesnt it?

  • 8
    0

    PL CHECK JOH CONFERENCE MINUTES SIGNED BY DIRECTOR OPERATIONS.

  • 8
    0

    LASANTHA’S MURDER WAS INFORMED TO JOH BY THEN OVERALL OPERATIONS COMMANDER COLOMBO EVEN BEFORE BREAKING NEWS IN SIRASA.

  • 3
    4

    Why has CT started this story in a way to discredit Mr Weliamuna.
    As a lawyer he can appear for any client. However I see that there is a move to discredit Weliamuna with a bigger motive. Time will tell what this is all about.
    Maybe that JC well is standing in the way of few corrupt people.

    • 3
      0

      SDS – there won’t be any need to “discredit Mr Weliamuna” if he would just answer the questions put to him by CT.

      Let’s have that “bigger motive” that you see, so that we will be as enlightened as you claim to be.

      Isn’t “transparency” supposed to be his prime directive as Director of Transparency International’s Sri Lanka Chapter???

      The way it looks at present seems to be that your “JC is standing in the way of” transparency and that he appears to be shielding those “corrupt people” from the justice that they deserve!

  • 3
    0

    ‘… Lawyers communication with clients is privileged. Lawyers need not disclose their dealings with clients’. Therefore it is not surprising that a public spirited lawyer such as Weliamuna appeared for Piyawanse…’

    This is rubbish, probably written by Weliamuna’s junior on the ‘instruction’ of his boss.

    Weliamuna’s double standard and deceptive character should be exposed and there is no question about that. Not just Weliamuna, there are many more similar lawyers who conveniently play double game and avoid being caught. However, CT should careful to support its case only with plausible evidence.

    No lawyer who claimed to be a person with honestly and credibility would ever undertake any dodgy case that would tarnish his own name. There is no professional privilege in matters where a lawyer himself compromise his professional integrity to deceive the court; as officers of the Court, lawyer’s role is to assist the Court to dispense justice, and not to cover-up crimes and protect criminals.

    CT must find out who paid Weliamuma’s fees. If it had been foolishly paid by Army or any other government source that would entrap him further. Apparently, it seems that in few days time more evidence will come to light, and if evidence reveals perverting the course of justice, that would result not just removal from the role but a jail term.

  • 5
    0

    “Piyawansa was accused of purchasing five SIM cards which were used in the murder operation of Wickrematunge. Piyawansa is alleged to have purchased the SIMs under the name of Pitchai Jesudasan whose ID card was stolen by Piyawansa. Jesudasan reportedly died in remand custody under natural causes during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.”

    Piyawamsa conspired to blame dispensable Jesudasan. Is it because of his ethnicity?. Even if he is from the insignificant community his death that was claimed by the previous regime as “under natural causes” must also be investigated. Many innocent people were gunned down and abducted in broad day light must be accounted for.

  • 3
    1

    1.This is late news. Lankaenews came out with is report several weeks ago.
    2. We also kow CT is no fan of Fonny!! CT has always targeted him!!.
    3. If Fonny was marginally involved, GR would have used it to hang him! We also know GR did his very best to link the murder on Fonny!! This failed! GR is a guy who will never give up unless impossible!
    4. A lawyer has the right to appear for anyone! All the questions you have asked is confidential which the lawyer has no right to divulge!!-

  • 4
    2

    Latest breakthrough..

    Whisky Madam told the SLFP supporters, that she has the transcript of Appachchi’s call to Lassantha, threatening to murder him..

    I mean that itself must be a crime for conviction, when feeding elephants is instant remand even for Buddhist Monks..

    What is Poojithya waiting for?….

    • 1
      0

      Ado Sumaney:
      Is this a “breakthrough” or just another of your (mental) breakdowns?

      • 3
        3

        Never thought Poorty adores Whisky Madam more than her cousin Batalanada Ranil.

        Poor Shiranthi is well past her menopause. But Whisky Madam blames Shiranthi for Lasantha’s demise.

        According to the Madam, Lasantha wrote that the Poosriyas were pissed off because Shiranthi visited their Holy Shrine which is totally out of bounds to women.And cleaned it for 7 days..

        I thought this Poorty who seems to be a member of the UNP LGBT Faction would have asked whether this sort of discrimination is tolerable in the 21 Century.

        And questioned whether the Yahapalana in particular condone this behaviour in light of soon to be enacted GIE ETCA…

        And written a kick as essay to educate the Yahapalana suckers.

        Instead, all he had in his so called posh English vocabulary was “Ado”..

        How sad.

        Poorty must be a cross between a Madagaskar labourer and a Kochin house maid, brought by the old Poms to look after their Bungalows in the Tea Country.

  • 2
    0

    Here we go again!
    The governing party is saturated with the worst elements of the previous regime.
    We have Athula Kahandaliyanage elevated not only to a MULTIBILLION RUPEES A MONTH SALARY by Fonterra but put in charge of Jayewardenepura Hospital by the Ohey Palayang government now headed by a Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, under whom this very man found difficulty in serving in the MR Regime.We have a Minister of Health running off to Singapore for treatment while his own health system is in totally disgraceful collapse, yapping about the need to reform Sri Lanka’s PRIVATE medical system which, incidentally, appears to be serving those who PAY IT quite well while the public system is in total collapse.

    WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? ISN’T THERE ONE SINGLE INDIVIDUAL OF HONESTY OR INTEGRITY IN THIS ENTIRE BRIGADE?

    YAPPING ABOUT LASANTHA AND THAJUDEEN ARE SIMPLY SMOKESCREENS FOR THESE UNMENTIONABLES – FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM – TO PAY OFF DEBTS FROM A PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXISTENCE. NOTHING LESS.

    ALL OF THIS APPEARS TO PROVIDE JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RETURN OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AGAINST THOSE GUILTY OF CRIMES AGAINST THE POPULATION. MIGHT I SUGGEST THE “CEAUCESCU MODEL” THAT SAW COURTS BASED ON THE FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN MARSUPIAL FOLLOWED BY APPROPRIATE “TERMINATIONS WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE?” NO EXCEPTIONS!!

  • 4
    3

    high profile murder of Sunday Leader Founder Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge

    Funny.

    He was arrogant, a traitor responsible for treason. He should had been deported to middle east.

  • 1
    0

    Weliamuna is famous for giving a public face as being a hero, while in private being vindictive and cutthroat, especially to those who are smarter than him and are of the ‘Colombo’ stock (he is from outside, and unfortunately wears it as a large chip on his shoulder). Some of his favourite tactics are smear campaigns via e-mail etc. against those he doesn’t like. Attorney-client priviledge is no reason to not respond to a simple text and at least say he cannot comment on such a thing. Pity the fools who fall for this guy’s crap.

    Looks like the hunter has now become the hunted.

  • 0
    0

    mr.weliamuna appeared in his fundamental rights case.not in a criminal case.

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