Former Finance Minister and current Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake, testifying before the Commission of Inquiry probing the Central Bank bond scams of 2015 and 2016, said he was totally ignorant of the transaction to lease out an apartment for his family from Arjun Aloysius who is implicated in the scam.
Mr. Karunanayake was questioned about the relationship with the Aloysius family, his foreign visits coinciding with Mr. Aloysius’s travel, the purchase of the Monarch apartment in Kollupitiya and as to how the money was raised for the purchase. Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera alleged that Mr. Karunanayake was lying under oath, but the minister denied the charge.
The Commission comprises Supreme Court judges K.T. Chithrasiri, Prasanna Jayawardena and retired Deputy Auditor General K. Velupillai.
Here are some of the questions and answers.
Dappula de Livera (DL): What kind of relationship did you have with Arjun Aloysius?
Minister Karunanayake (RK): Just a normal relationship. If anybody calls or if we associate as friends, we maintain that friendship. Just because we assume duties as a minister, we don’t forsake friends.
DL:What was the business of the company in which your wife and daughter became Directors soon after you assumed duties as a minister?
RK: International logistics. It was specially set up by Marks and Spencer to develop its global network.
Sri Lanka was chosen as the first.
DL: Is Lakshmi Kanthan a foreigner?
RK: He is an Indian, permanently living in Britain.
Justice Jayawardena: He was born in India?
DL: Is this Lashmi Kanthan related to the famous Emil Kanthan?
Justice Jayawardena: No, no this is not necessary.
RK: Who is Emil Kanthan?
DL: (interrupting) He was a wanted terrorist.
RK: That’s news to me.
Justice Jayawardena: You don’t read news? I don’t know how you can function as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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