Officials of the Financial Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) dropped another bombshell last week, when they filed a B report in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, in a first step to filing legal action against former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, for allegedly making false statements under oath before the Presidential Commission investigating the 2015 Treasury Bond issue that completed investigations late last year.
Filing the B report before Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dassanayake, CID officials requested court to issue several orders to facilitate further investigations.
After considering facts presented to him by Senior State Counsel Lakmini Girihagama with State Counsel Nadee Suwandurugoda, the Chief Magistrate issued a series of orders directing telecom providers to issue call records, SMS records and their contents, the time of these calls and messages all pertaining to several suspects including UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake.
The Chief Magistrate ordered that the information obtained would be kept under safe custody of the court until necessary.
Based on the CID and Attorney General’s (AGs) Department requests, Court also issued an order on Global Transportation & Logistics (Pvt) Ltd, a company in which Karunanayake holds directorship, to hand over its cash books, vouchers, bank statements, for the period January 1, 2015 to August 2, 2017.
The Magistrate also directed the Registrar of Companies to release details of directors of Global Transportation & Logistics (Pvt) Ltd during the same period.
The Magistrate also directed the Chief Financial Officer and the Auditor of Global Transportation & Logistics (Pvt) Ltd to issue statements indicating whether there had been any financial transactions or transactions in which financial value could be attributed, between Walt & Row – the subsidiary of Perpetual Treasuries owned by Bond scam suspect Arjun Aloysius – and MP Karunanayake, his family members or Global Transportation & Logistics (Pvt) Ltd.
In its final report, the Presidential Commission to investigate the controversial February 2015 Treasury Bond transaction, the three-man Commission comprising two judges of the Supreme Court – one retired and another serving and a retired Deputy AG , recommended that
“The AG and other appropriate authorities consider whether some of the evidence given by Ravi Karunanayake, MP before us is shown to have been incorrect and, if that is the case,whether Karunanayake should be prosecuted under section 179 and/or section 188 of the penal code or other relevant provision of the law, read with Section 9 of the Commission of Inquiry Act no 17 of 194.” This was the 25th recommendation by the Presidential Commission.
In a letter dated January 22, 2018, the AGs Department instructed the CID to determine if there were any potential offences committed secondary to the offences relating to the Bond issue at the centre of the controversy, based on the Commission’s findings.
In a letter dated January 24, 2018, the AG further directed the CID to initiate investigations whether perjury had been committed before the Commission by Perpetual Treasuries CEO Kasun Palisena, Steve Samuel – Aloysius’ Personal Assistant, Ravi Karunanayake and B. J .R Sinnaiah. The letter directed the CID to arrest and produce the suspects before the Magistrate, after recording their statements and reporting them to court, if they were liable.
After obtaining statements from about 30 persons the CID concluded that sufficient evidence to say MP Ravi Karunanayake has intentionally given false evidence to the Commission an offence framed under Section 188 read together with Section 190 of the Penal Code. Preliminary investigations have revealed that at least five statements made by MP Karunanayake before the Commission could be considered as giving false evidence.
During the Commission hearings, Karunanayake who has since stepped down from his ministerial portfolios, denied he had maintained a relationship with Perpetual Treasuries Director Arjun Aloysius, personally, professionally or officially.
The MP also claimed during his testimony under oath, that he did not know Aloysius’ personal assistant Neil de Silva, and that he was not aware of the contents of the short messages that were sent to him by Neil de Silva.
He further informed the Commission that de Silva was not an acquaintance. However, subsequent investigations by the CID have revealed that Karunanayake and de Silva had been closely acquainted.
The MP also denied before the Commission that he had made inquiries from Vijitha Wijesuriya, the brother of Anika Wijesuriya, who owned the Monarch apartment in which the MP and his family were living, about renting a suitable residence. However inquiries by the CID have revealed otherwise.
In his fourth, allegedly false or misleading assertion under oath, Karunanayake claimed that neither he nor any member of his family were aware that the rent for the apartment they were living in at the Monarch
Tower was being paid by Perpetual Holdings Director, Arjun Aloysius, through Walt and Row.
However this assertion does not bear out in subsequent investigations by the CID.
In his fifth and final allegedly false statement before the Commission, Karunanayake claimed that the rent of Rs 12.5 million had been reimbursed in full to Walt and Row by his family owned business at a later stage. However according to investigations, the amount had not been paid back to the company connected to the Aloysius family.
On the basis of all this, the CID in its B report has called for judicial proceedings to be initiated against the Colombo District MP, on the basis that he had intentionally lied to the commission.
“Travesty of justice” Says Ravi Karunanayake
Speaking to Sunday Observer on the charges MP Ravi Karunanayake said that it was strange that fresh investigations began after 13 long months after his Bond Commission testimony.
“In the process how is it that I who went as a state witness am implicated with some commercial transaction that has no relevance to me and brought into the case. The noise that was made of a 11 billion scam has suddenly gone underground. For whose protection am I being made a sacrificial lamb? Enough is enough. This is a travesty of justice. A government that came to discharge justice is now running after the very people who brought it in, in order to protect the mighty,” he said.
He went on to state that he was questioned for over three hours while the Minister in charge of banks was interviewed for only seven minutes and another, who was not a minister then, was interviewed for three minutes only.
“Now it’s time that the world knows the real things that are going on.There are people who have benefited from the process. This is a time when the president and prime minister were settling into ensure the injustice that had been meted out to me was being rectified with an appointment to be made soon. Suddenly this is brought in,” he said
“I am sure the president and the PM will look into this injustice and that truth will prevail, although it may take time,” he said.