17 October, 2019

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Weliamuna Inquiry Costs Three Supreme Court Judges’ Combined Annual Salaries

“The money spent for Sri Lankan airlines is very large. If we are looking at it comparatively, it will come to more than the salaries of three Supreme Court Judges for an entire year.” a judge told Colombo Telegraph.

The first government-commissioned inquiry into the previous government’s corruption and malpractices, the Weliamuna inquiry has cost taxpayers Rs 3.5 million.

Weliamuna

Weliamuna

“What is the exact use for which this amount of money was spent? It is just a report as a propaganda exercise. From what I can see after reading this so called committee report or Weliamuna report, it merely repeats a lot of what had already been said. Nothing flows in law from it. To do anything from the legal viewpoint which will pass the test of the law, criminal investigations need to done all over again, using state funds again. The government must stop engaging in these trivial and political exercises. This is quite apart from Weliamuna or whoever who had agreed to engage in these inquiries. This sum of money is very large. If we are looking at it comparatively, it will come to more than the combined salaries of three Supreme Court judges for an entire year. What is the character of the work done by them and what is the kind of work done here? Also I do not agree about this talk that, as a professional, it is justified that he is paid such a big sum of money. He is supposed to be a human rights lawyer, right? Then he must be known as just another lawyer doing work for big bucks, like these commercial lawyers” said the Judge, who requested anonymity.

The judge also said “a SC judge’s monthly salary is Rs. 130,000 and this so called investigation costs 3 SC judges annual salaries.”

As reported, Weliamuna speaking to Colombo Telegraph confirmed that he along with his team comprising three other members U.H. Palihakkara, B.A.W. Abeywardane and M.K. Bandara were paid Rs 3.5 million. At that time Colombo Telegraph did request for a breakdown from the chairman of Transparency International Sri Lanka, Weliamuna but he was not in a position to do so. A subsequent email was sent to him seeking this information. Weliamuna has not responded to that question as yet. We asked Weliamuna once again and requested him to furnish at least the amount he did receive as his fee but he is yet to respond to that question as well.

A rural human rights activist, Gunasena Lukuge said; “As a leftist activist who has been voluntarily participating in street protests against the Rajapaksa government to bring that corruption to an end, I am shocked at this disclosure. It was only through Colombo Telegraph that I realized that J.C. Weliamuna and the others with him had been paid such a sum of money. Why is CT being blamed for this. It is a matter of public interest as public funds are spent. Who are these others? He should give the breakdown as he is the Chairman of Transparency International Sri Lanka. If they preach transparency, then, they must also practice it. Any simple person should understand that. The government must also, reveal all these details. They cannot simply talk of the corruption of the previous government and leave it that. It is this lack of responsibility that we saw in the Central Bank bond issue also. If this government is fighting corruption as they say, they must be transparent about the way they do it. Otherwise, we do not believe them.”

“I’ve read Chandra Jayaratne‘s and Professor Rohan Samarajiva‘s responses to this Weliamuna controversy. Both Jayaratne and Samarajiva are corporate types who would probably be appalled at doing anything for free! But civil society does not – or SHOULD NOT – operate like that. I’m sorry but I feel very strongly about this.” Lokuge further said.

When contacted the secretary to the ministry of Aviation L. P. Jayampathy said he was not working their now, and we should contact the new secretary Swaranapala. Colombo Telegraph has been unable to reach the new secretary for a comment.

Meanwhile yesterday, the Asian Human Right Commission said; “People have a right to expect that the government will be accountable and transparent and that such committees and commissions will act within a framework of law. All expenditures into such activities should be made available to the people through lawful channels. It is the right of the citizens as well as the media to expect such transparency. Dealing with corruption in the Sri Lankan context is a colossal task. Such task also requires to be carried out with absolute transparency.”

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Latest comments

  • 6
    5

    Apart from the cost controversy of the Weliamuna Report on the Lanka Airlines, what is the action being taken on the financial improprieties
    uncovered?
    The airline goes on wasting taxpayers’ funds in the millions daily.
    Do we need such a white elephant when citizens are living below the poverty line, and the poorest of the poor village women are flying to the middle east to work for cruel inhuman employers?
    What is the so-called “prestige” in running this airline?
    Why not sell all the assets on international tenders and keep two planes for occasional use by the president, cabinet ministers and top public servants for official trips?

    • 0
      0

      Why do these nariyas need owned planes? Why can’t they fly economy like the rest of us?

  • 3
    10

    First,a Finance Ministry official and now a Judge.They too request anonymity! Not transparent though!

    This continuous,relentless attack on JCW is much more than meets the eye.
    Perhaps,the next on line to request anonymity will be the Pontiff!

  • 9
    2

    Transparency International officials wants transparency, honesty and integrity from others and not from them.

    they look like dishonest and greedy lawyers.

    Another one like CPA.

  • 4
    7

    I wrongly assumed that the curtain may have fallen on the subject. Sadly it is very much alive and kicking and it appears that CT likes to drag this subject
    unnecessarily for reason only they know.

    Meanwhile, those implicated in the report continue to have fun making a mocekery of the report and I believe some are trying to leave the country as well while we continue this debate without any purpose because currently the Wiliamuna Report is the flagship report for CT.

    I earnestly request CT to please discontinue reporting this subject any further as enough has already been said. While the debate goes on action is being delayed and justice delayed is justice denied.

    • 0
      1

      But political will translated into political decisions cannot be justified along with partisan politicking. Politicking rubs the whole issue the wrong side up and devalues the political will and its action. Most investigations taking place don’t seem to prove such political will is being turned into impartial inquiry. Weliamuna investigation is one such bad instance. Apart from transparency and accountability issues raised by Colombo Telegraph (CT) and Amrit Muttukumaru, the very appointment of J. C. Weliamuna for investigations on SriLankan airlines smacked of “green” politics. For over three years, Weliamuna was a prominent campaigner against the Rajapaksa regime on “Platform for Freedom” with then Leader of Opposition and UNP leader Wickremesinghe and other UNP stalwarts. He was also a very conspicuous presence in most other UNP led protests. He is quite openly, “UNP in politics”. And from what Chandra Jayaratne had responded to CT on Weliamuna investigations the implied truth is, that investigation lacked expertise to handle the responsibility given. Therefore he volunteered with his expertise. It’s another aberration, for these high profile investigations are not mandated to have volunteers in the panel of investigators. If Weliamuna investigation lacked expertise, Jayaratne’s volunteerism should have been made public. Political colour and incompetency together with undisclosed volunteer investigators violates social trust, a supreme necessity in today’s political context of many uncertainties.

      Kusal Perera

      read more;
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/political-necessity-used-for-politicking-negates-independent-commissions/

  • 9
    1

    Its a shame that so called human rights lawyers who speak about transparency conduct themselves in such a disgraceful and sordid manner.

    • 0
      0

      Any ideas on the people who managed and ran SLA, and the absolute corruption highlighted with facts ?

  • 5
    1

    Attention Mr. Arjuna, the minister of Civil Aviation, you claimed to be honest man appointed Weliamuna to find out the corruption of the Sri Lankan air line. You have spent so much money for this inquiry,the money from the Sri Lankan poor just to find what we already knew. Would you please tell us what we are going to get out from the inquiry? Well, this is misappropriation of public funds. I think this is also out right corruption? The so called ministers from the previous regime getting jailed for crimes similar to this one. Does anybody see a difference between this situation against the charges that are being INVESTIGATED investigAATED AGINST THE MEMBERS OF THE PREVIOUS REGIME.

  • 3
    1

    Some one needs to audit Weliamuna.

    • 1
      0

      [Some one needs to audit Weliamuna ]

      Arajuna Mahendran & ex CB governor Cabral will be the most qualified to do the job. Two peas in a pod.

    • 0
      0

      suggest very senior management at SLA

  • 1
    2

    By now this can clearly be seen as persecution of Mr Weliamuna. 3.5 million has to be seen relative to what Rajapaksa paid offered people like Sir Desmond de Silva.

    Two more points: First: This was a one off payment; there’s been nothing to say that the Weliamuna team were given laptop computers to take home. Second, the judge is not only in a possession of a “government job”, but also he’s qualifying for a pension.

    I’d like to see Weliamuna many more investigations.

    • 2
      1

      A one off payment to Wellimuni — indeed, and now he can take a vacation for three years spending the whole annual salary of a supreme court judge in one year – what a boondoggle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      These NGO laweyrs make money from every source plus undisclosed sources. That is WHY THEY ARE IN IT.

      Why is “human rights” such good business?
      Only those who can PAY these NOGs have any “human rights”.

      The poor low caste Jaffna man, the oppressed Muslim women where the Saudis are funding the oppression, the black-skins in the USA, the red-skins in the USA,
      do they have Human Rights Lobby Lawyers? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      When Sakharov was imprisoned by the Soviets, Amnesty International made a big noise. But what about the detainees of the US govt ? They are hounding Snowdon and other whistle blowers.

      Even the Tigers have such NGOs because the Tiger diaspora is rich enough to pay even Amnesty International. The Hong-Kong based Human Rights commission executives hob-nob with the Tamil Diaspora and their Catholic fathers.

      Now, if the Tigers did NOT have any money to pay these vultures, they too will be ignored by the Transparency International CPA, Amnesty, Human Rights watch etc

      Human Rights = Big Money

  • 2
    2

    What is all this fuss about payment made to Weliammune and his compatriots . I know of senior lawyers demanding 5 to 8 lakhs for taking up an appeal in the Court of Appeal or in the S.C. After all the four lawyers worked for 1 1/2 months and had uneathed lot of malpractises and they deserve more. Is the 25 million being used to wilfy these lawyers

  • 2
    1

    Wlimuna’s LKR 3.3 Mil is peanuts in comparison to LKR 150 Million Mr Mahendran sign off every month to his SIL’s Family Trust.

    That is based just on the extra 3 % which Ranil and buddy Galleon Ravi signed off.

    This must be the Mother of all commissions iany part of the World.

    Poor Welimuna at least will spend that one off in Colombo Cafes and perhaps a Spa for the Missus and an Ayrvedic Massage for himself in one of those posh joints in Marine Drive..

    But Mahendras travel to singapore and beyond to get massages.

    Now Ranil is busy re negotiating the contracts for the Northern Express Way after signing off on the restart of the Southern extension and the outer Kaduwela loop.

    Perhaps the contractors agreed to divert the commissions to Sirikotha , Sorry UNP London branch where no body can ever find it.

    Ranil now says NE way must be a new contract,

    Because the Commission are too high with the people who have already signed for the work.

    But Ranil has to get Funds from the ADB.

    How cool.

    ADB must be all UNP type non corrupt squeaky clean dudes like Ranil, himself and his main buddy Ravi Galleon Karu..

    BTW, Ranil’s new Buddy Rajitha Foul Mouth Senarathna says somebody offered him LKR 20 Mil a month, every month for him to keep to keep mum on Avate Garde Deal.

    But he knocked it back.

    But wouldn’t divulge the details of the person who offered the Bribe..

    Isn’t Bribe Offering is as serious as Bribe Taking and punishable under the Crimes Act?.

    May be it is not in Yahapalaya… Right.

    May be our Transparency Boss Welimuna should do a Pro Bono Commission on Foul Mouth Rajitha, who swindles and tell bullsit to both Dalits and the Elite.

  • 0
    0

    3.5M is peanuts compared to the colosal losses incurred by the Sri Lankan Airlines during the past years which is in billions.

  • 0
    0

    But political will translated into political decisions cannot be justified along with partisan politicking. Politicking rubs the whole issue the wrong side up and devalues the political will and its action. Most investigations taking place don’t seem to prove such political will is being turned into impartial inquiry. Weliamuna investigation is one such bad instance. Apart from transparency and accountability issues raised by Colombo Telegraph (CT) and Amrit Muttukumaru, the very appointment of J. C. Weliamuna for investigations on SriLankan airlines smacked of “green” politics. For over three years, Weliamuna was a prominent campaigner against the Rajapaksa regime on “Platform for Freedom” with then Leader of Opposition and UNP leader Wickremesinghe and other UNP stalwarts. He was also a very conspicuous presence in most other UNP led protests. He is quite openly, “UNP in politics”. And from what Chandra Jayaratne had responded to CT on Weliamuna investigations the implied truth is, that investigation lacked expertise to handle the responsibility given. Therefore he volunteered with his expertise. It’s another aberration, for these high profile investigations are not mandated to have volunteers in the panel of investigators. If Weliamuna investigation lacked expertise, Jayaratne’s volunteerism should have been made public. Political colour and incompetency together with undisclosed volunteer investigators violates social trust, a supreme necessity in today’s political context of many uncertainties.

    Kusal Perera

    read more;
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/political-necessity-used-for-politicking-negates-independent-commissions/

  • 0
    0

    Dont blame Weli [Edited out].

    [Edited out] works for people who pay him. The Govt engaged him not to investigate, gather and present evidence, if there is any, to enable prosecution. The instructions to him were to provide political ammunition; Weli Amude did that and he has earned the fee.

    Amude is the wrong person to have been employed. A firm of forensic accountants should have been employed – perhaps directed by an experienced judicial officer known for his erudition and impartiality.

    CT please note if you must blame someone for wasting public funds blame [Edited out] Sira and [Edited out] Ranil.

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