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Is GL or Sajin the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka?

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Sajin Vass Gunawardena

By Our Diplomatic Editor

The names of Sajin Vass Gunawardena and G.L. Peiris were to cause some confusion at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, South Africa last Wednesday.

A Protocol Officer of President Jacob Zuma was running helter skelter trying to find out who was the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka.

It appeared that the confusion was whether it was Peiris or Gunawardena?

G. L. Peiris

It was at the state funeral of Radakrishnan (Roy) Padayatchie, Minister of Public Administration. A South African Tamil, he died whilst on an official visit to Ethiopia. The “director” at the funeral was Trevor Manuel, the longest serving Finance Minister of South Africa and now Minister in charge of the Planning Commission.

He required the name since the Sri Lanka External Affairs Ministry had sent two condolence messages — one from Minister Peiris and another from Mr. Gunawardena. When the Protocol Officer could not come up with the answer, Minister Manuel read out both messages during the funeral which was televised nationally.

Also read out was a condolence message from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Other than South African dignitaries including President Zuma and a Minister from Kenya, the only other person to pay tribute to Mr. Padayatchie “on behalf of the Tamils of Sri Lanka” was Suren Surendran. He is the spokesperson of the British-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF).

Minister Manuel was to say he “worked closely” with the late Minister “on Tamil issues in Sri Lanka.” Later, President Zuma was to hug the GTF spokesperson as TV cameras focused on him.

It is not clear how the confusion over the designations of both Dr. Peiris and Mr. Gunawardena occurred. However, what is clear is that the External Affairs Ministry is unable to speak in one voice when it comes to even an official funeral abroad. Not surprising when Sri Lanka’s envoys abroad have now developed another fine art of conducting business with the Ministry of External Affairs through the public domain. Their so-called woes have become stories for websites long before mandarins in the EAM receive their written missives.

The External Affairs Ministry is riddled with in-fighting among officials split into two camps, one heavily backed by Mr. Gunawardena.

Recently, Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s envoy to Paris, was summoned to Colombo for consultation after he had written a column to local dailies critical of some senior officials of the Ministry. Government MP Rajiva Wijesinha had also written a column naming those officials who were creating rifts in the ministry.

Ambassador Jayatilleka, however, has denied that the President asked him not to write to newspapers during a luncheon meeting he had with him and Minister Peiris. courtesy: The Sunday Times

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  1. It seems that Mahinda has no confidience in GLP so he has sent his expert adviser and confidante Sajin to shadow GLP and extend a helping hand if he stumbles. GLP being and elderly guy has taken Sajin under his wing and is giving him fatherly advise how to manage the Foreign Policy. Sajin is due to be the future FM of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
    Similiarly the shadow defence minister has been sent to Singapore on state expense to get his brain into tip top condition just in case Elaam IV erupts.

  2. Pathetic situation.DrJayantha Dhanapala rightly analysed the lack of proffessionalism in handling foreign affairs in the country.Its a joke that V.G the so called adviser on foreign affairs is tryning to imitate the interlectual prudence of person of the calibre of Proff.pieris. Wise men should ignore the writings of such jokers.Division and dessension in a very vital Ministry can lead to disastrous consequences.

  3. Pathetic situation.Dr.Jayantha Dhanapala has quite rightly analysed the lack of proffessionalism in handling foreign affairs.Division & dissension in the foreign Ministry can lead to disastrous consequences. Wise Srilankans should ignore the comments and condolence messages sent by passenger jokers. They are only trying to ridicule the foreign affairs in the eyes of the public.There are only three proffesionals who could handle the Ministry.They are Prof Pieris.Dr Dayan Jayathilleke and the third person is Prof.Rajiv Wijesinghe.High time for H.E to decide.

  4. Hey dayan, When am I going to read your next article?

    I hope you are not seen to be surrendering to the Chokka’s of Lanka?

    Dushy just wait for 24 hours please…..DBSJ

  5. Well sajin vaas a clerk in trico dubai now a multi billionaire is an adviser to the President to show how to rob the wealth of the country. He messed up Sri Lankan,Mihin and etc. The President will lose because of sajin vaas. Mahinda Samarasinghe is fit to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs.Premadasa even not educated he had the best of Advisors but poor Mahinda got a buck of fool as advisers. God bless president ,Who ever robbed the country was not alive to enjoy it.

  6. SAFA IS SPOT ON! GL is old news, besides he is educated and articulate, both traits do not conform to the image projected by this administration. Shadow ministers are indeed the real power brokers in a government that operates mostly in the shadows. It is very surprising that intellectuals who are in the government or support it from the outside have not clued in, that they are there just for garnishing. They are not there to make decisions based on their understanding of issues. They are there to do as they are told by the powers that be. It is funny when (Dr so and so and Prof so and so, who are part of the government) make statements or write pieces stating the best course for the country to take and are often distraught when the government does something else. The best course for the government to take is at variance with what the special interest groups within the government want. So guess who wins?? also don’t be confused over the confusion. The confusion is designed in such a way that there no doubt who is in charge. ‘The game is rigged, but you cannot lose if you do not play’ Marla Daniels.

  7. Dear Mr.Jeyeraj

    Can you write an article on the meteoric rise of Mr. Sajin Vaas Gunawardane from a cargo handling representative to become one of the most powerful people in Sri Lanka? It will be very interesting reading. Rags to Riches..Jeffrey Archer style.


    Jeffrey Archer is one of my favourite authors.Yes he had his failings and was punished but dont insult him please by comparing ” monitor” lizards to him.Jeffrey does not deserve this

  8. Who is this Sajin De Vaas Gunawardena?


    6.30PM) Sajin was working at various places after his O/L s and in end 90 s he got hold of a foreigner and convinced him to start a small business to manufacture gum tapes. Ultimately, the foreigner had set up the business and handed over Sajin to run it. He has just busted up the business and the foreigner was running behind him to recover his money. In order to escape from him, he joined Ranil’s election campaign in 2001 and he was travelling in Ranil’s famous bus. After got elected Ranil did not give him any job knowing his capacity and integrity.

    Then he went to Dubai and got a Job at Trico Dubai helmed by Gamini Kannangara. In 2002 Gamini invited Mahinda Rajapaksa then chief Opp whip for his New Year celebrations as the Chief guest. While he was there, Sajin has got hold of him and looked after him well. As a result Mahinda has requested him to come to Sri Lanka and support him.

    In return flight he came to Sri Lanka and started work at Mahinda’s office even without any proper appointment. By that time he has refreshed his contacts with UNP and got their support to Mahinda.

    In 2003 he bought a old Volvo as his first car for Rs. 400,000 by giving some cheques to the owner. When the cheques got returned the owner has threatened Sajin and he got escaped after intervention of Mr. Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.

    Once Mahinda Rajapaksa became Prime Minister in 2004, he appointed Sajin as GM of Maga Neguma. By that time he had married for 3 times and divorced.

    Since he wanted to get married for 4th time he wanted to own a house. He has got to know Mr. Daya Gamage through a friend and given a road to construct through Maga Neguma. In return Daya bought him a house in Malabe. In addition he has taken more than Rs 30 Mil from Daya in order to spend for various things of the then Prime Minister. But finally Daya has got to know that he used this money for his personal benefits. Other than this he has done various under hand dealings in importing construction machines etc and earned lots of money.

    Once Mahinda Rajapaksa became President Sajin first became the Co ordinating Secretary and got hold of Indian Investor who came here to start Air Tel. Chairman of Air Tel who has later told that he gave Sajin USD 4 Million for this deal. With that he bought a massive house in Singapore.

    Later he also became CEO of Famous Mihin Lanka. Within his time Mihin lost more than USD 30 mil and with that he became the proud owner of 2 Air planes and a Helicopter under COSMOS Airlines. He has supposed to leased these out to Sri Lankan Air Lines. It’s also known that COSMOS is putting up a 250 room hotel in Hambantota.
    In 2010 he was given the chance to contest in elections and became a MP. Today, he is the unofficial foreign Minister. It’s very pathetic to see that these type of people becoming politicians to rule our country. Today, he is in all intellectual delegations with all foreign leaders.

    We should as Sri Lankans ashamed of our Leaders for making these people our rulers. He is suppose to be the highest earned man under this Government but until today he has no investigation on Bribery
    or corruption.

    Where are we heading SRI LANKA?

  9. .
    Is GL or Sajin the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka?

    If you cannot answer, here is the hint…….

    Who is the ‘real’ President of Sri Lanka? MaRa or Gota?


  10. Who is this man, what does he do?

    Sajin de Vass Gunawardena comes with a dubious track record dotted with remand time, fraud bureau investigations, unpaid loans and unfulfilled promises.

    President Rajapakse’s style of choosing his advisors and close allies become even more pertinent given that Sajin de Vass Gunawardena was refused a place by Ranil Wickremesinghe when the then prime minister was told that Sajin had a criminal track record. Wickremesinghe was to advice the young man to clear his name first.

    It was after this that Sajin went off to Dubai to work with Trico and even there allegedly fell out with the management. However by a happy coincidence he was to meet the then Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapakse who was in Dubai on a visit and young Sajin showed him around.

    Rajapakse comfortable in the vernacular and a more simple way of life was rather enamoured of the well spoken young man who was both good in his English and rather spiffy on the computer. To Rajapakse this made Sajin seem like an excellent catch. “Why don’t you come and work for me,” the Opposition Leader invited. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena didn’t have to think twice. All his life he had wanted to get into politics. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.

    So much so Sajin was very involved in the lucrative Maga Neguma projects of Rajapakse in 2005 and was even appointed the Consultant to oversee the Palaly runway rehabilitation project, the KKS breakwater project and even provided with executive authority in the decision making procedure and implementation thereof.

    Maga Neguma

    While this was a project under the Maga Neguma Road Construction Equipment Ltd. he would in any event sit in by invitation at all the board of directors’ meetings held at the prime minister’s office on Flower Road, Colombo 7.

    Sajin is the son of A. De Vass Gunawardena who was for a space after Chandrika Kumaratunga’s regime took over government in 1994, the Director General of the Board of Investment. It was during his father’s time at the BOI in 1995 that he got involved with the Grayline Group which at the time was considered controversial in their business dealings.

    At Grayline owned by Lal Wijeratne, as the new project development manager Sajin proved a useful tool able to have easy access to the much sought after BOI due to his father’s position.

    Sajin was still a young buck of 22 and was described by those who knew him then as an enthusiastic gung ho chap with a silver tongue and a smooth and slick manner. This always fooled the gullible person into helping him with money matters.

    And Sajin had one flaw. He couldn’t stop borrowing money and not paying back, until the police came knocking on his door. Before long, due to various issues he parted company with Grayline.


    Sajin then decided in 1994 to launch into business at the Biyagama Free Trade Zone. He set up a company called Tapes International Pvt. Ltd.

    Incorporated on October 11, 1994 in order to start the company at the time he was to obtain a loan of Rs. 2.5 million from a couple, Wimalasiri and Shirani Fernando of 14, Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7. A cheque was accordingly made out and one of the witnesses to the transaction was his father A. D. de Vass Gunawardena.

    After a couple of months however Sajin began to default on his interest payments and the Fernandos filed action for Rs. 3.5 million inclusive of interest in the District Court of Colombo.

    That apart, the subscribers to this company were of course Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, his brother Rohan de Vass Gunawardena and Charini Vilakshana de Silva of 117/18, Jaya Mw; Temple Road, Kalubowila who was his first wife.

    The smooth talking Sajin is currently in his third marriage and the relevance of that is only to focus on a financial issue involving the second wife.

    As at the annual return date of 14/01/1997, Sajin held the majority shares in the company while CF Venture Fund Ltd. was the only other major shareholder.

    CF Venture Fund Ltd. was the finance management company that Sajin approached to finance his FTZ venture. One Hiniduma Liyanage Lakpriya Manoharan Nanayakkara who was on the board of CFVF backed his venture for approximately Rs. 2-3 million.

    At the time 40% of the funding was provided by CFVF. Approximately 20% by the NDB through equity injection and the rest of the funds was provided by Sajin himself.

    Siphoning funds

    It was not soon after that it was discovered that he was siphoning funds from Tapes International Company account to a private bank account. He was in fact drawing out money and issuing certificates on board resolutions even though the board had never met or resolved any such money transactions.

    On June 21, 1996 Sajin was to bring in his father Abeydeera De Vass Gunawardena as a director. Be that as it may, it was now discovered by the board that Sajin had allegedly claimed he had paid a sum of approximately Rs. 5 million to a construction contractor, Sarath De Costa.

    By this time one of Sajin’s close friends, Manoharan Nanayakkara had taken majority control of the company. But Sajin and Manoharan were to fall out. Manoharan Nanayakkara was to resign as a director of Tapes on October 29, 1996.

    In January 1997 Manoharan more famously known as Mano Nanayakkara was to sell his shares in the company to a Korean company called Young An Lanka Pvt. Ltd. of Export Processing Zone Malwana, Biyagama. Thus on February 5, 1997 Choon Jo Kim, Sang Heon Lee and Hyn Jun Lee of this company were appointed as directors of Tapes.

    It was on the very same day that Charini Vilakshini De Silva, daughter of former SSP Carlyle Silva resigned. Charini was of course Sajin’s first wife.

    Subsequently the Korean company was also to become suspicious about the financial activities of Sajin de Vass Gunawardena. They immediately prepared to bring in lawyers from the United States and to retain other legal luminaries from Sri Lanka to look after their interests at Tapes.

    It was at this time that one Sharma of Indian origin was brought in to pump money to the ailing Tapes International Pvt. Ltd. Somewhere in 1999/2000 relations began to sour between Sharma and Sajin.

    On a complaint made by Sharma the Fraud Bureau filed a case against Sajin in the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court. Sajin was then remanded for a period of 10 days in the Mahara remand prison.

    However his father again had to rescue the young alleged habitual fraudster and pull some strings in order to place him at the Mahara prison hospital instead.

    The debt recovery action filed against Gunawardena by HNB over Tapes International was won by HNB.

    It was not long after the Sharma affair that Sajin left for Dubai to work with Trico.

    If this were all it would yet be sufficient. The list goes on. Please refer The Sunday Leader of July 2 for further details of President Rajapakse’s blue eyed boy and coordinating secretary often entrusted with public funds, and as a delegate at the ongoing peace talks also with the future of this country.

  11. Dear Mr.Jeyeraj,

    What I meant by Archer is that Sajin’s story is something similar to a character in one of his books. It would be an utter shame to compare this urchin to Lord Archer.
    Please write a comprehensive piece on his when time permits.


    I am sorry I misunderstood you. Could you please e-mail me about the book and character you are referring to?


    Thank You

  12. I understand that MR is not a fool but is in a roundabout way being held ransom. Sajin provides MR with —–; this sajin is an expert in hence his multiple divorces due to cheating.

  13. This is beyond belief. People of Sajin’s nature are actually entrusted with Sri Lanka’s destiny.

    Sajin’s manipulations at MEA is a clear example of near complete collapse of almost all Institutions in Sri Lanka under Rajapakse rule. We are a nation essentially at the mercy of cronies and henchmen of the ruling clan.

    Prof. G.L. Peiris has a tough choice:
    1. Either place this s called “Monitor’s” “Behind” where it belongs.
    2. Resign from MEA with dignity.

    I am not sure what choice would better serve Sri Lanka’s vital national interests better at this critical juncture in our histroy.

    PS: Good news is that we did not send a 3rd condolence message from MEA of Sri Lanka to that infamous funeral in South Africa from Mahnida Samarasinghe as well.

  14. This is beyond belief. People of Sajin’s nature are actually entrusted with Sri Lanka’s destiny.

    Sajin’s manipulation of MEA is a clear example of near complete collapse of almost all Institutions in Sri Lanka under Rajapakse rule. We are a nation essentially at the mercy of cronies and henchmen of the ruling clan.

    Prof. G.L. Peiris has a tough choice:
    1. Place this so called “Monitor’s” “Behind” where it belongs.
    2. Resign from MEA with dignity.

    I am not sure what choice would better serve Sri Lanka’s vital national interests better at this critical juncture in our histroy.

    PS: Good news is that we did not send a 3rd condolence message from MEA of Sri Lanka to that infamous funeral in South Africa from Mahnida Samarasinghe as well.

  15. Reading Sajin’s background, if they were not reported out of jealousy, he looks a real deal to become next President of SL, and when he topples MR only, Narmal would wake up.

    Although Sajin had not gotten into his A/L or any other degrees, just imagine how many of them whom he met in these financial institutions could have held a degree or at least completed their A/L. The convincing had to be done to borrow into millions, says his talent. Now, it is time to test him on the international arena. Ja-wewa!

    What about the Tamara’s buddy, Shenu?.

  16. Sanjeewa says:

    Please don’t blame the arrows, blame the archers.

    The whole country is rot to the core. People should launch an operation crossbow, peacefully of course to arrest the rot and then build a nava rajaratta. If islanders don’t do it then outsiders will impose it for them. You know what would be the consequences of such imposition for the people.

    Not the nava rajaratta the politicians would like to have in this island.

  17. Dushy Ranetunge says:

    “I hope you are not seen to be surrendering to the Chokka’s of Lanka?”

    “Surrender Unto the Lord”, Saranaagathi is a necessary human condition if you want to be somebody in the island. Dare I say if you want to stay alive.

    You don’t expect Dayan to easily give up everything he yearned for.

    Come on Dushy you should know better.

  18. GLP if he has even a modicum of self respect should resign (or should have resigned long ago). One wonders why he spoils his name he earned once upon a time and why he continues in such mediocre company.

  19. @raymond I totally agree with your comment. Mr. Premadasa had mostly good advices apart from thugs. I dont know why Mr. President cant get good advisers.

  20. Sajin is the foreign affairs minister and G.L is the external affairs minister and kshenuka is the sandwich between the two.

    G.L deals in international relations of srilanka while sajin deals in anything that is not native to srilanka.

    G.L is the brains while sajin is the brawn.G.L is the poodle while sajin is the rabid srilankan street dog.This is done to confuse foreigners so that when they think they are dealing with a poodle they get a good bite in the bum from behind.

  21. Sajin is a crook…..Prof GLPIs an A grade Idiot…..both belong to the category of Donkeys…..but when the donkeys get mutated with the latter ….it produces a very dangerous species…what we witness in GLP is just that….He is a danegerous shit who sold his CONSCIENCE just to be in power…..if it was sold to someone of his equal it can be understood. But he sold it to all wield power…first CBK..then RW…now to MR. …to a man conscience is similar to the virginity to a woman…when a woman loses it and sleeps with each any every Man…she is called a Prostitute…Then the person who put his abilities to an unworthy cause FOR MONEY is also called a Prostitute…. He will also kills himself and all his clients with Veneral Disease…now a days HIV.. .a slow death…..does not GLP falls in to this category……see the 18th amendment and who orchestrated it…? The Country is dying of the HIV…Sajin is a dangerous yet transparent..but anyone can fathom the movements.

    Under such circumstances..even if either or both are Foreign Minister in the Country what relevance does it have to you and I….when the country is ruled by the Regime of that category!!!!!!

  22. The governance of the country has never been so disgraceful.

    Number one crooks with no qualifications such as Sajin are given all power to plunder the nation.

    He certainly keeps big boss happy as he co-ordinate spending colossal Rs 1.4 billion for MRs UN trip booking limousines for Rajapaksa govt henchman and booking 4 floors of luxurious hotel more than 40 rooms and all on Sri Lanka taxpayers money where as Mr Obama , the President of the richest country in the world used only 10 rooms!

    Mismanagement, thuggary, criminality, corruption etc is rewarded by the Rajapaksa govt. today.

    What else can you expect from a govt. when the president appoints a rabid human who ties a man to a tree in front of the Media as the minister of public relations?

  23. Safa you beaut! Spot on!!

    Looking at the facial expression of GLP, I think Sachin at least looks more presentable (:-)

    Some of the comments make astonishing reading!

  24. If G.L. Peiris has any self respect left, he should resign and should not associate with criminals and idiots!! (unfortunately the majority of the people who are in power in this government are all in this category) Already GLP has lost his respect among the descent people at home and abroad.

  25. You can see from the photographs,which i’am sure DBSJ chooses with some purpose,and i interpret, as i’am somewhat of a expert on body language,sajin seems to be saying that he will cut the neck of GLP and GLP looks like a chameleon wondering whether this is the right time to change colours to green or to wait a bit more.He is finding it difficult to make up his mind,hence his puckered lizard like face.

  26. MR is correct.He has to have more such young, energetic, intelligent, modern assistants.That is one of the secrets of MR’s success. But these young specialists first of all has to be very diplomatic.

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