19 September, 2018

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Wijeyadasa Lies, AG Wanted Criminal Prosecution Of Avant Garde

Self proclaimed ‘clean man’ Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has continuously lied on the Avant Garde scandal to the public, previously revealed documents by the Colombo Telegraph shows.

Rajapakshe who has maintained that he has had no ties with the company implicated in large scale corruption amounting to billions of rupees, said that he is only basing his opinion on the advice of the Attorney General.

Wijeyadasa

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

Rajapakshe said in several interviews that the Attorney General had consistently maintained that there was no criminal case against the Company.

However, contrary to Rajapakshe’s recent claims the Colombo Telegraph is in possession of a memo sent by an Additional Solicitor General to the Attorney General on the above matter.

The Attorney General department works on a case by case basis, with the Attorney General himself usually playing no part in the proceedings.

A case is usually handed over to a senior officer such as a Additional Solicitor General or a Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) who is completely in charge of the case.

The scandal was under the purview of ASG Wasantha Nawarathne Bandara who specifically called for the prosecution of the Company and officials including its Chairman Nissanka Senadipathi, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa among others to be arrested.

However, the arrest was prevented. It is learnt that both Rajapakshe and Tilak Marapana were completely behind the move to stall the case.

A senior member of the Attorney Generals Department confirmed the influence of the duo

“We were supposed to work independently and there was enough evidence to prosecute them. What could have been done was at least to arrest and if not arrest impound their passports but the Justice Minister and then Advisor to the Prime Minister, Marapana said no” he said.

Senadipathi whose passport was impounded earlier this year, thereafter traveled to countries including Nigeria.

“Obviously the purpose of the travel was to cover the tracks. Why else would anyone specifically want to go to Nigeria. It was done under the patronage of these two and everyone in the Department knows that as a matter of fact” he said.

Under Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s watch former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weerathunga and Anusha Palpita were presented before the High Court instead of the Magistrates Court in September this year and were granted bail.

The offences under which the duo were granted bail, come within the purview of a Magistrate, and are non-bailable offences.

Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris thereafter berated the Police for producing the two suspects before the High Court instead of the Magistrate Court.

The offences they were charged with include misappropriation of millions of rupees from Sri Lanka Telecom.

We reproduce the memo sent by ASG Wasantha Nawarathne Bandara to the AG in full below.

CR1/58/2015

Hon. Attorney General

Case against Avant Garde Maritime Services and others pertaining to the – Floating Armory

Offences committed –

1.Unauthorized Importation of Fire Arms to Sri Lanka ( Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Fire Arms Ordinance)

2 Possession of Fire Arms and ammunition without valid licenses. (Under the Fire Arms Ordinance and Explosives Act)

3. Conspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit the above offences.

Suspects –

(1) Nissanka Senadhipathy – Chairman Avant Guarde Maritime Services

(2) Manjulakumara Yapa – Director Avant Guarde Maritime Services,

(3) Gotabhaya Rajapakse – Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(4) Mrs . D.M.S. Jayaratne Addl. Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(5) Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd.) – Director Chairman Raknalanka Military Liaisons Officer

An investigation by the CID is ongoing in relation to the authority given to the Rakna Lanka Company and Avant Guarde Maritime Services to supply weapons and other related services to the merchant ships and fishing trawlers using weapons belonging to the state and others.

This report pertains to the case of the Floating Armory run by the and Avant Guarde Maritime Services.

A consignment of military weapons and ammunitions was found without lawful authority in the possession of Avant Garde Mritime Services in a ship by the name of ‘Mahanuwara’ docked at Galle harbor. At the time of the commencement of the investigations ship had contained more than 3000 guns (including AK 47 rifles and other military weapons) and ammunition amounting to more than 7 hundred thousand rounds. The ship is leased out to Avant Guarde Meritime services by its lawful owners ‘Lanka Shipping’ and the said firearms and ammunitions were found in the exclusive possession, custody and control of the Avant Garde Mritime Services. At the moment, on our instructions the CID and the Government Analyst’s department are in the process of taking a stock and carrying out necessary tests of the said firearms.

A summary of a proposal (dated 18th August) submitted by the chairman of the Avant Guarde Maritime Services, to position a Floating Armory in OPL Galle had been submitted by Ms Jayaratne for the authorization to the then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapakse . Secretary has authorized the said proposal by placing his signature on the same, which is annexed herewith marked X1.

By her letter dated 18th September 2012 Ms. Jayaratne Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence had granted approval for M/S Avant Garde Mritime Services to deploy a Floating Armory off Sri Lanka in the International Waters. (Annexure X2). This happens to be the only authority that has been granted to Avant Guarde Maritime Services to hold the possession of the said numbers of weapons and ammunitions.

However contrary to the authority given by X1, Ms Jayaratne herself had subsequently issued a further letter to the Commander of Navy directing him to grant permission to the vessel Mahanuwara belonging to Avant Guarde Maritime Services to exit / enter the port of Galle with weapons on board whenever such requirements are requested. (Annexure X2)

CID investigations have revealed that the ship (or the vessel) in question had been doing all her operations completely being docked at the Galle harbour and had never carried out any of its business transactions being deployed in the international waters, as per the authority granted.

They had supplied arms and ammunition to the merchant ships to get protection against sea pirates, a transaction previously handled by the Sri Lankan navy. The whole process seems to have been done with the ulterior motive of handing over a massively profitable business previously done by the Sri Lankan Navy to the private company by the name of Avant Garde Mritime Servises without, adhering to any transparent tender or other procedures. The CID investigations have revealed that the Avant Garde Maritime Services earns a daily income of nearly Rs.15 million from this business transaction.

Investigations have further revealed that in the process of the above operation following Offenses have been committed –

1. Unauthorized Importation of Fire Arms to Sri Lanka
2. Possession of Fire Arms and ammunition without valid licenses.
3. Conspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit the above offences.

Unlawful importation of firearms into Sri Lanka under the Firearms Ordinance.

According to Sec 3 of the Firearms Ordinance the importation and possession of guns in Sri Lanka “shall take place only in accordance with licenses and permits provided for by the Fire Arms Ordinance.

According to Sec 9 thereof,the importation of guns into Sri Lanka is prohibited except (a) through any approved port of entry in Sri Lanka or by passengers arriving at any approved port of entry.

In terms of Sec. 9(2) any person importing a gun into Sri Lanka otherwise than in accordance with this section shall be guilty of an offence.

No license or a permit has been issued to the Avant Guarde Maritime Services under the Firearms Ordinance to import gums. When the service was handed over to the Avant Guarde Maritime Services from the Sri Lanka navy only 800 odd guns had been handed over. Presently there are more than 3000 military fire arms in their possession.

A prima facie case is established under the above provisions of the firearms ordinance against,

(1) Nissanka Senadhipathy – Chairman Avant Guarde Maritime Services and

(2) Manjulakumara Yapa – Director Avant Guarde Maritime Services,

for importation of firearms without a licence to Sri Lanka and a prima facie case is established against

(1) Gotabhaya Rajapakse – Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(2) Mrs . D.M.S. Jayaratne Addl. Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(3) Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd.) – Director Chairman Raknalanka Military Liaisons Officer,

for conspiracy and aiding abetting the above mention accused to commit the said offence.

Offence of importation of firearms under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

Moreover, the preamble to the Prevention of Terrorism Act states, that it is also an “act to make the prevention of unlawful activities of any individual group of individuals within Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka”.

According to Section (1) E, of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, “Any person who without lawful authority imports any firearms or ammunition shall be guilty of an offence”.

According to Section 3 (b) thereof any person who abets, conspires, attempts, the commission of an offence; liable to imprisonment for a period not less than five years not exceeding 20 years.

The offence of unlawful importation of Fire Arms by the Avant Guarde Maritime Services, falls into the ambit of the said offence of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Possession of unlicensed weapons in violation of the Firearms Ordinance

According to Section 22 (1) of the Firearms Ordinance, “No person shall have in his custody, or possess or use, any gun, unless he shall hold a licence therefor in accordance with this Ordinance”.

Section 23(1) thereof states that “Every person desiring to obtain a gun licence shall, within ten days of his having obtained possession of the gun in respect of which the licence is desired, make application, either personally or in writing, in the form L in Schedule A, to the licensing authority, specifying-

(a) his name and address ;

(b) The number and description of the gun for which the licence is desired ; and shall, if required, produce such gun before the licensing authority for inspection”.

The Avant Guarde Maritime Services had not complied with the above provision.

No license or permit has been issued to the Avant Guarde Maritime Services under the Firearms Ordinance to possess guns that was found in their custody. Accordingly a prima facie case is established under the above provisions against,

(1) Nissanka Senadhipathy – Chairman Avant Guarde Maritime Services and

(2) Manjulakumara Yapa – Director Avant Guarde Maritime Services,

for possession of firearms without a licence and a prima facie case is established against

(1) Gotabhaya Rajapakse – Secretary, Ministry of Defence

(2) Mrs . D.M.S. Jayaratne Addl. Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(3) Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd.) – Director Chairman Raknalanka Military Liaisons Officer

For conspiracy and aiding abetting the above mention accused to commit the said offence.

Importation and Possession of unlicensed ammunition, violating the Explosives Ordinance

According to Section 8(1) of the Explosive Ordinance

No person, other than a licensee or permittee who is authorized by his licence or permit to do so, shall import any explosive.

In terms of section 9(2) No person shall except under the authority of licence import, possess or use any explosives for any purpose….

No license or permit has been issued to the Avant Guarde Maritime Services under the Explosives Ordinance to possess ammuntion that was found in their possession . Accordingly a prima facie case is established under the above offeces against,

(1) Nissanka Senadhipathy – Chairman Avant Guarde Maritime Services and

(2) Manjulakumara Yapa – Director Avant Guarde Maritime Services,

for exportation and possession of explosives without a licence to and a prima facie case is established against

(1) Gotabhaya Rajapakse – Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(2) Mrs . D.M.S. Jayaratne Addl. Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(3) Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd.) – Director Chairman Raknalanka Military Liaisons Officer

for conspiracy and aiding abetting the above mention accused to commit the said offence.

It is further recommended to launch an investigation into the assets of the above mentioned suspects under the ‘Money Laundering Act’

Section 3. (1) of the ‘Money Laundering Act’ is to the effect that any person, who (a) engages directly or indirectly in any transaction in relation to any property which is derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from any unlawful activity, shall be guilty of the offence of money laundering.

The act defines “unlawful activity” as meaning any act which constitutes an offence under — (b) any law or regulation for the time being in force relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorism; (d) the Firearms Ordinance (Chapter 182), the Explosives or the Offensive Weapons Act, No. 18 of 1966.

Recommendations

I am of the view that a strong prima facie case has been established against the said five suspects, and that they should be indicted under the above discussed provisions of law.

If you agree with my recommendation, as the first step I recommend, that the CID be directed to arrest and produce before the magistrate the five suspects namely,

(1) Nissanka Senadhipathy – Chairman Avant Guarde Maritime Services and

(2) Manjulakumara Yapa – Director Avant Guarde Maritime Services,

(3) Gotabhaya Rajapakse – Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(4) Mrs . D.M.S. Jayaratne Addl. Secretary , Ministry of Defence

(5) Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd.) – Director Chairman Raknalanka Military Liaisons Officer’

for the committing the offences of ,

1.Unauthorized Importation of Fire Arms to Sri Lanka 9( Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Fire Arms Ordinance)

2 Possession of Fire Arms and ammunition without valid licenses. (Under the Fire Arms Ordinance and Explosives Ordinance)

3. Conspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit the above offences.

It is further recommended to seek an order to cease all the illegal business operations of the Avant Guarde Maritime Services relating to the floating armory forthwith, and hand over the weapons and ammunitions stored therein, and in their possession to the Sri Lankan navy directing them to continue with the business of supplying arms and ammunitions to the merchant vessels.

Wasantha Navaratne Bandara
ASG

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    There appears to be no mention of the illegal firearms – those with identification marks erased, found on board the ship – Avant Garde.
    No law abiding nation, firm or supplier of firearms, possesses such weapons.

    Such firearms are used only for criminal purposes by terrorists and criminal groups in some countries.

    Why this important omission, by the ASG to the AG ?
    The ASG could not be a nincompoop – he attained his office by suitability in all respects of the law.

    This fact alone, would have been sufficient to take into custody, all those involved.

    • 2
      8

      This is such poor legal advise. Any 1st year law student knows when a company commits a criminal offence or is alleged to have done so a different set of rules apply. In this case you cant tie the chair and director of the company directly. The “person” in possession, was Avant Guard, the company. So if AG wants, he can prosecute the company but heck, you cant arrest the directors. U must arrest the people with immediate ppssession, which is the crime. CT would do well to get a lawyer to assess this cra– before banging on about it

      • 3
        0

        Ever heard of lifting the corporate veil?

    • 10
      0

      I agree with many that want this Goda Perakadoruwa to leave Minister of Justice post.
      Reasons

      1. What has he been doing in terms of accelations of all the allegations made by varied bodies against MR et al yet
      2. He has to reveal how he has earned billions during the last few years – during the days of Maharaja – why the bugger never vehemently added critics against Maharaja ?

      3. Avan Garde and other high profile frauds should be made clear to the nation instead of trying not to call spade a spade.

      4. SF should be first to know what was wrong with Army and their deserters, if fucking Gota et al hired those deserters to Avan garde is problem related to national serurity

      5. All in all, minister of justice like baka pandithaya has alwways been explaining a lot but doing nothing.

      • 0
        0

        Ministry of justice should be given to young blood – Sujeewa, Dr. Harsha Silva, Eranga Wickramarate the like personalities. Or even Ranajan Ramanayake. Or any goodies of JVP. Then, they can turn this nation into a cilized folks. Those goda perakadoruwas of the kind Rajapakshe can talk a lot but would bring nothing towards TANGIBLE changes of the nation.

    • 0
      0

      This goda perakadoruwa could earn his sums while fishing on muddy waters during the reign of Mafia King – that is answer I can give to SF how the PARTICULAR Rajapakshe became a multi Millionr to this date. For him no matter, the previous regime went all high wrong, he could become rich. Today, he is given the minister of Justice, i had some respect to him until lately, now many would not feel the bugger should be a fair person. He could speak all blabla but remining only in his way, I beleve, Sujjeewa to take over the minister could do better to the naation. Young blood could show him way how he has to react. Besides, Sujeewa has proved thathe has been very very fair by every cases sofar.

  • 22
    1

    Wijedasa is the other gutless wonder in this drama where no one seems to be held accountable for all the excrement that was the Rajapakshe era. His so called credentials and education are all subordinate to money it seems. Old Mahinda knows how to hook people like this and then use them to thwart and undo all the good work done by the investigating officials in all the pending cases. This is a cancer in the justice department just like the time when Rauf Hakeem occupied the ministry and warmed his chair like a puppet uttering not a word about all that went on. Why is it that this key ministry always ends up in the hands of a useless back boneless moron only interested in propagating himself at the expense of the country and the government he serves. He has no right to decide on whom to arrest and whom not to arrest. He has no right to decide on whom to prosecute. His claims of the AG backing him up are a load of crap. The AG has also no right to make such an assesment when the officials in charge of the case have ruled otherwise. This is the highest order of interference in the law and it is a punishable offense. At the very least Wijedasa should be removed from his position of justice minister and another given the post with stern warnings no to interfere. Whether such a person exists who can resist the temptation and do his or her job honourably among the political class of today’s Sri Lanka is doubtful.

  • 13
    5

    Although no legal eagle I can see that this is a one sided opinion. What did the suspects say ? What about the cabinet decisions re this matter ? What is the legal situation of all this. What this chap Bandara is saying is that we found some weapons and therefore all these people must be charged.

    To be fair by the readers CT should also publish the opinions of the other ASGs who did not agree with this ASG Bandra . Maybe there is more to this than an ASG who leaked his own opinion to score points with certain people.

    • 1
      0

      Not ASG but SG. That is ASG’s boss.

  • 5
    0

    NEW DELHI: (2015-02-05 – NDTV) India’s home secretary Anil Goswami was asked to go on Wednesday night for interfering in CBI investigations against a politician. LC Goyal, former rural development ministry secretary, has replaced him and is likely to take over soon.

    The government asked Mr Goswami to resign after he admitted to making a telephone call to the CBI on behalf of Congress leader Matang Sinh, who was arrested last week in the Saradha chit fund case.

    Mr Goswami was left with no choice, sources said, as he confronted an extremely unhappy Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the possibility of an unceremonious sacking before his two-year tenure was to end in July.

  • 8
    0

    Did this guy Wijedasa not resign from the post of President of BASL prior to his term during the tenure of the former regime? Did he not complain then to the police that his safety and security was at risk then?

  • 3
    7

    it is the spirit of the law that the jury of the people will judge. The rajapakse received a madate despite exagerated claims by the opposition. Party funds of all have not being divulged. Mr President divulge all funds you received for the election. Stop this witch hunt.

  • 4
    6

    This whole sordid affair stinks. UNP, SLFP are not able to bring Yahapalanaya. RW, Wijedasa and the whole stinking lot must resign and let the country free.

  • 5
    0

    “The whole process seems to have been done with the ulterior motive of handing over a massively profitable business previously done by the Sri Lankan Navy “

    Could anyone enlighten me about the legal validity of this statement. Can navy engage in such commercial ventures ? provide weapons to vessels that sail outside waters where sl have no jurisdiction ?

  • 3
    2

    Interfering in the Law and Order is one of many main faults in the previous regime; that is what we were told by Ranil and Maithri platform to platform during the elections and the gang that went on brisk campaigning naming it as “YAHAPALANAYA” and chanting it as a Mantra of Magic to install them the power.
    The Magic Mantra “YAHAPALANAYA” worked very well for the both, they are ruling the rooster now and have become the Samaritans of 5800000 votes accumulated dethroned yakkahs. The Magic Mantra is still chanted now for different reasons schemed by Ranil and Maithri, cooked up a plan to fortify some crooked minsters for their siphoning fraudulent without damaging good meaning of the Magic Mantra. Thus nothing can be expected of them as of Good Governance.
    My 3 Sira is on a mission of winning by Majority Sinhala Vote as well, because he feels shamed of the last victory!

  • 11
    0

    It’s time to arrest the double-crosser Wijedasa Rajapakse. Period.

  • 3
    0

    As long as the political interference continues there is no hope for our country. Hybrid courts or worse are coming. If nothing else helps the IMF and World Bank will be used to persuade our bankrupt government to accept foreign demands.

    In the end of this article there is an expectation that our president will solve the problem by taking over the investigations. What on earth does the president have to do with a criminal investigation?

    Please clean up your house Mr President. Get rid of Justice Minister Rajapakshe and leave the AG and the various investigators in peace.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/151115/columns/marapana-falls-on-sword-but-others-cling-on-171566.html

    “On the other hand Justice Minister Rajapakshe seems to have no qualms over the very credible charge of interference in the judicial process. He has stated that he saved Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that he instructed the Attorney General of Sri Lanka not to arrest his near name sake.
    As pointed out above Rajapakshe – Wijeyadasa not Gotabhaya – had been elevated to status of a president’s counsel, by whom I know not. So one presumes he knows more about the law than some of us laymen do. Could he then tell us under what power or powers vested in the Minister of Justice did he instruct/order the AG not to arrest Gotabhaya? Could he please cite under which article/provision in the powers vested in him he did so?
    Would he also say that instructing the AG not to arrest the former defence secretary, which he admits he did, is not an instance of political interference in the judicial process. Where is the Justice Minister empowered to issue such instructions to the AG who is a quasi-judicial officer? If he has no such power then he has over reached himself and used his ministerial position to overawe the AG’s department.
    One reason why the Zeid al-Hussein investigation on Sri Lanka calls for foreign participation at various levels in any inquiry into war crimes and violations of international law is because it claims that Sri Lanka’s judicial mechanism has been politicized and corrupted.
    Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe by admitting that he instructed not to arrest Gotabhaya when he does not appear to have any legitimate power to do so, has only added proof to charges made in the report on Sri Lanka. And this under the Yahapalanaya government which claimed it will exorcise this country of such malfeasance.

    
    If the Justice Minister says he said not to arrest Gotabhaya in connection with Avant Garde it surely means that the AG had intended to order his arrest or was building a case which could have led to it. Otherwise one cannot understand why the minister should instruct the AG not to order the arrest. And if there was no evidence to justify an arrest why go to the extent of instructing the AG?
    That is clearly political interference in the judicial process and it is the minister who said he had so instructed. The question is why. If Rajakapashe thought there was no prima facie evidence against Rajapaksa, that is his view and it is by no means infallible like legal opinions often are. It is not for him to make that judgment and then interfere.
    Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has much to answer for. Why did he interfere in the AG’s department? Under what authority did he do so? What was the reason behind his overstepping his ministerial duties? These are some of the questions that the public would want the Justice Minister to answer now that he refuses to do what Marapana did.
    The public would hope that the yahapalanaya government will unearth the truth behind this Avant Garde stink now that President Sirisena has taken control of an investigation which one hopes will be an in-depth scrutiny.”

  • 4
    0

    Wijedasa took money from Nissanka Senadhipathi to cover up Avante Guard. Please take him to CID, question and file case

  • 4
    0

    The current government is playing all kinds of games to fool the people that it is governing the country better than the previous government.

  • 1
    0

    One can see the enormity of corruption that has engulfed Sri Lankans.
    What a joke this country is which most of its inhabitants call is ‘Buddhist’. ‘Attachment’ is what drives the people in opposition to the professed Buddhist principle of ‘Detachment’ from all things earthly.

    Everyone is a hora. Some are hora thakkadiyas. Some are hora thakkadi minee maruwas. Thrice blessed country – my foot.

  • 3
    0

    If Minister & AG are accusing each other of lying, then they should both stand down or asked to be stand down till the inquiries are over. Over to you MY3 & RW.

  • 0
    0

    either manipulating or arranging the facts to suite the argument, it all ends up in a disgusting shameful episode. Most of these alleged fraud and corruption issues are embroiled in intrigue with the trail been cleverly covered to prevent ditection. There are professionals in these criminals rackets to show the way, and many are educated people. There seems not to be, anymore, ethical practice in most professions.

  • 1
    0

    Yahapalana or not the same form prevails. Are Wijedasa Rajapakse and Thilak Marapana are the end of the chain? Are they the king pins that stopped the initiative of the ASG Wasantha Navaratne Bandara? If we think so we are naive.

  • 2
    0

    Justice Minister who admitted that he instructed Hon AG not to arrest Gotabhaya against whom a prima facie case has been established,has done a blunder. What right he has to interfere in this case? Now it is crystal clear that the Minister’s hands are not clean. He should resign like Mr.Marapona before the situ get worse.His reputation is gone!!!

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