After three years of investigations and mounting accusations about delayed justice in corruption cases, former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, arguably the most powerful member of the previous administration, will be indicted tomorrow (10), on charges of misappropriating tens of millions in public funds while his brother was President, to build a memorial for their parents in the Hambantota district.
The second case to be filed at the Permanent High Court at Bar will be taken up tomorrow, September 10, to serve indictments on the former Secretary of Defence and six others on allegations of misappropriation of State funds amounting to approximately Rs. 40 million through the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LLRDC).
After concluding investigations by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) the Attorney General’s Department filed the case at the special High Court with the sanction of the Chief Justice.
The other suspects are the former Chairman of the LLRDC, Prasad Harshan de Silva, former General Manager, Badhra Udulawathi Kamaladasa, Susammika Keyminda Attygala, Saman Kumara Abraham Galapaththi, Mahinda Saliya and Mallika Kumari Senadheera, who were also members of the LLRDC Director Board.
Accordingly, the first offence drawn against the defendants include misappropriation of State funds during the period September 2013 to February 2015 where LLRDC funds amounting to Rs. 33.9 million was used to construct the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial and Museum in Medamulana, Weeraketiya; for committing the offence or aiding and abetting to commit the offence of misappropriation and criminal breach of trust under the penal code.
The second offence relates to misappropriation of funds amounting to Rs 5.98 million of LLRDC funds between the period November 2014 and February 2015 to construct the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial and Museum.
A case was filed before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court where the FCID periodically reported its findings based on investigations. During the tenure of the Rajapaksa regime, LLRDC Chairman Harshan Silva reportedly wrote to the Navy in September 2013 on the construction of the said memorial. Funds were then released by the LLRDC on the request of the Navy. However, board approval for the release of the funds was only obtained at a later stage.
The Memorial which cost a thumping Rs. 81.3 million was opened on November 5, 2014. The Museum, among other things, showcases wax figures of the late D. A. Rajapaksa and his wife.
Rajapaksa was a SLFP politician and father of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the former Defence Secretary and current presidential aspirant, who will be indicted in the Special High Court on Corruption tomorrow.
Subsequent to investigations being initiated into the matter by the FCID, the Rajapaksa Foundation wrote to the LLRDC seeking the outstanding amount in order to settle it. On August 31, the Foundation had deposited Rs. 25 million to the LLRDC account until a final estimate was reached on the amount spent to construct the memorial.
On August 28, 2015, the General Manager of the LRDC sent a final bill to the Rajapaksa Foundation for the design and construction of the D. A. Rajapaksa Memorial and Museum at Medamulana. The total amount including VAT in the final bill was Rs. 81.33 million.
The former Defence Secretary is also facing charges in several other major corruption cases, including the controversial purchase of the MiG-27 aircraft from a Ukrainian company in 2006, with payments made to a ‘ghost’ company registered in the UK, which was contracted as a third party, charges under the Bribery Act over the decision to allow a dubious security firm run by ex-military men to run private floating armouries using Sri Lanka Government issued weapons and remains a person of interest in the investigation into the abduction and attack on journalist Keith Noyahr.