UNP leader and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has revealed that ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa gave Rs. 2,000 million to the LTTE through RADA. He leveled the allegation during addresses at public rallies in Dambadeniya and Mirigama on 08 August 2015. The Dinamina newspaper reported it on August 09. However, the PM did not utter a single word about it for the past six months. With the nearing of the general election, the PM started chattering about this in order to swindle the votes of the Sinhalese who are rallied round Rajapaksa, and not with the honest intention of exposing the RADA scam.
Given below are details of the RADA scam:
The government started a project to build 120 new houses for the people who had lost their homes due to the tsunami and the cruel war by the government forces against the Tamil people. It was called ‘Jaya Lanka’ housing project. Of the financial allocations made by the general treasury to the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), more than Rs. 800 million had been misused by ex-MP and CBE chairman Tiran Christopher Alles.
The national budget department, ministry of nation building and development, the disaster relief fund and the treasury had all given a total of Rs. 2,441,647,554 to RADA. Of that amount, Rs. 1,959,000,000 had been given by the treasury.
The RADA scam again came under scrutiny after Alles filed a fundamental rights petition at the supreme court, alleging there was information that the FCID was going to arrest him, which would be a violation of his fundamental rights.
As the first stage, the treasury credited Rs. 800 million to the accounts opened at the HNB, Wellawatte and Commercial Bank, Colombo 07 branches to the names of BK Holdings, Everest Civil Engineering Services and GS Builders and Consultants. That money had been withdrawn through cheques. But the TID investigation found not a single house had been built in the northern and eastern provinces.
Basil Rajapaksa-Emil Kanthan meeting
At the 2005 presidential election, the LTTE chose lesser of the two evils. The LTTE chose SLFP’s Mahinda Rajapaksa instead of the UNP’s Ranil Wickremesinghe. The LTTE frightened off at gunpoint the Tamils from their right to vote and acted to make Rajapaksa the king. The best example for that is its having cut off a hand of a northern Tamil who disregarded its orders not to vote.
Before the 2005 presidential election, minister Mangala Samaraweera and the late MP Sripathi Suriyarachchi held talks with the LTTE on behalf of the Rajapaksa. That discussion took place at the CBE premises owned by Alles at Rosmead Place, Colombo. Representing the LTTE at the talks was its finance chief Emil Kanthan alias Kumara. On several occasions later, former minister Basil Rajapaksa met Kanthan at Alles’ office, which was attended by Alles himself.
Rs. 200 m gratifications to the LTTE
If the northern and eastern people boycotted their votes, ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa can become president through the votes of the southern Sinhalese alone, Basil noted, requesting Emil Kanthan for help. Later, Basil gave a Rs. 200 million gratification to the LTTE for that contract. Alles revealed to a television channel that Basil brought several travelling bags containing the money to his CBE and handed them over to Emil Kanthan before him. Alles got Basil to meet Emil Kanthan on a request by the former president. Alles was introduced to Emil Kanthan by the late Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena of the UNP. Alles is one key member in the group that had done dealings with the LTTE for Rajapaksa’s victory. This is confirmed by the statement he gave to the TID on 06 September 2007.
“After Mahinda Rajapaksa won the 17 November 2005 presidential election, on the next day (18), when I went to Temple Trees, he was with ministers, the Army commander, the IGP and VIPs. Seeing me, he came to me and thanked me for the help I gave him. Those embraces were published in several newspapers at the time. There, he said, “Now, winning is not enough. We have a big duty to do. A new institute will have to be set up to work for the north and the east.”
Alles’ role in the presidential election is clearly evident with the fact that he was a very special person among those who had gone to Temple Trees to celebrate Rajapaksa’s victory, and that Rajapaksa’s statement that a new institute will have to be set up to work for the north and the east.
Establishment of RADA & LTTE’s double-standards
Alles’ statement to the TID also says that Rajapaksa has told him that their lives were in danger if the agreements with the LTTE to gain its support to win, were not fulfilled without delay. As promised to the LTTE, Rajapaksa established RADA on 30 November 2005 on the pretext of providing relief for the people of the north and the east. RADA was established not because Mangala, Sripathi Sooriyarachchi or Alles wanted it, but in order to reciprocate to the LTTE for its assistance to make Rajapaksa the king.
The LTTE told the Tamils that they should boycott the 2005 presidential election, as elections among the Sinhalese for the administration of the south were irrelevant to the north and the east. While showing a radical face to the Tamils, the LTTE worked to bring Sinhala Buddhist racist Rajapaksa to power, which goes onto demonstrate its double-standards.
The Temple Trees meeting to appoint directors to RADA were attended by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his secretary at the time Lalith Weeratunga, minister Mangala Samaraweera, former treasury secretary P.B. Jayasundara, former minister Basil Rajapaksa and Tiran Alles. In his statement to the TID, Alles said Basil, Lalith, PB, Emil Kanthan and himself were present at the discussion at the then port and aviation minister Samaraweera’s official residence.
Rajapaksa appointed Alles as chairman and executive director of RADA. Until the institution wrapped up its activities due to financial irregularities, on a letter by deputy secretary to the finance ministry Abeysinghe dated 27 January 2007, Alles held those positions. Later, RADA was brought under the nation building and estate infrastructure development and highways ministries.
On Rajapaksa’s instructions, Saliya Wickramasuriya, B. Abeygunawardena, Thilak Amunugama and Shanthi Fernando were appointed directors of RADA.
On his orders, the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority (REPPIA), Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) and Task Force for Relief (TAROR) were brought together to form RADA under the presidential secretariat.
Gajan Kumar, Shanthi Kumar and her brothers Kishore Kumar, Shanthi Kumar and Bharkavi Shanthi Kumar were appointed as directors of B.K. Holdings. Gajan Kumar is a resident of Dehiwela and she met Emil Kanthan in 2005 at the Ashram of her mother Anandi Shanthi Kumar.
Gajan Kumar signed several agreements with Alles and Saliya Wickramasuriya at the RADA office at CBE premises at Rosmead Place. Also, she entered into agreements with Kanthan’s friends and directors of Everest Civil Engineering Services company Kandasamy and Karupiah Shashi Kumar. Emil Kanthan handed over accounts work of the company to Gajan Kumar through an attorney’s licence. Also, Emil Kanthan told her that an account to her name was opened at the Wellawatte branch of the HNB.
How money went to Alles
Soon after money was deposited in the accounts of B.K. Holdings and Everest Civil Engineering Services, Gajan withdrew the money through cheque as the owner of the accounts and together with Kanthan, she went to meet Alles to hand over the money.
On 10 May 2006, Rs. 5.7 million was withdrawn from the B.K. Holdings account and the money handed over to CBE’s director Dushyantha Basnayake.
On 22 June 2006, Rs. 100 million was withdrawn from the B.K. Holdings account by Kanthan and Gajan and the money handed over to Alles at the RADA office.
On 20 April 2006, Gajan and Kanthan went and handed over to Alles Rs. 100 million withdrawn from the Commercial Bank account of Everest Engineering Services.
On 31 April 2006, Rs. 100 million and Rs. 2.5 million were withdrawn from the same account and the money was handed over to Alles at RADA in the presence of Kanthan. Gajan revealed the information in a sworn affidavit given from New Magazine prison on 09 May 2015.
Not a single house built in north or east
The sworn affidavit by Gajan goes onto say that information given by Everest Civil Engineering Services and B.K. Holdings were incorrect, and these two companies had not built a single house in the north or the east, and that the two companies were started to withdraw RADA money fraudulently, and that Kanthan was assisted in these activities as he had promised to marry her sister Bharkavi Shanthi Kumar.
More than Rs. 800 million had been fraudulently obtained on the pretext that RADA had built houses in the north and the east and the cheques in question had been signed by Alles and Saliya Wickramasuriya, director and executive officer.
After RADA was started, its chairman Alles, director Saliya, Emil Kanthan and LTTE intelligence leader Puvannan met in Kilinochchi on 30 December 2005. The district secretaries of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar were also in attendance.
During this period, government-contracted companies undertook construction work in the north and the east, and the work of the housing project that was to be started by RADA were handed over to three contractors by Alles on Puvannan’s advice.
Later, Alles registered G.S. Builders and Consultants, B.K. Holdings Pvt. Ltd. and Everest Civil Engineering Services, but these three companies were confined to letterheads only, and registered with false information, the TID has found out.
The Saliya-led tender committee on 26 January 2006 decided to handover the task of the housing project to the companies submitted by Alles.
Closure of RADA
After all the money credited to RADA was withdrawn, chairman alles closed the work saying contractors sent him a letter saying that they cannot do the construction work owing to the war situation.
The LTTE’s first request through Emil Kanthan to RADA was for the construction of 1,200 houses for the north and the east. Kanthan informed about it to Basil and Alles, who later told Rajapaksa about it. The statement given below by Alles to the TID says he was ordered by Rajapaksa to complete the housing project in the manner wanted by the LTTE.
“The first request received by RADA through Emil Kanthan was for the construction of 1,200 houses in the north and the east. Kanthan told me and Basil about it, and we informed the president about it. A few days later, the president ordered to start the project through RADA and obtain estimates from three contractors of the area as told by Kanthan and hand over the project to one of them. Then, I said tenders will have to be called as the expenditure is Rs. 800 million. But, the president said that this being their first request, doing it in their way will be a good foundation for friendship between the two sides. Also, he said he would order P.B. Jayasundara to release the money for the project. He also said cabinet approval would be obtained, although this was against the state procedures.”
Although Rajapaksa told Alles that cabinet approval would be sought for the establishment of RADA that was not done even until its activities were terminated due to financial irregularities.
In addition to the misuse of Rs. 800 million of RADA money, Alles had issued mobile phones to the LTTE in violation of the procedures in the issuance of mobile phones to the north and the east, the TID has revealed.
Rajapaksa-LTTE secret agreements
Rajapaksa had two key agreements with the LTTE. The first is a north and east boycott of the 2005 presidential election to make it advantageous for him, and the second was that Rajapaksa family members would not be harmed. Rajapaksa had given more than Rs. 2,000 million to the LTTE as gratifications. The Rajapaksa-LTTE honeymoon ended with the suicide bomb attack on his younger brother, the then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, at Pittala Junction in Colombo on 01 December 2006.
Fonseka murder attempt & Rajapaksa regime
The LTTE made an attempt on 25 April 2006 in front of the Army headquarters at Slave Island to murder former Army commander, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. A female suicide bomber was used for this. Fonseka suffered serious injuries in the blast. It was during the Rajapaksa-LTTE honeymoon that the Fonseka murder attempt was made.
The third Eelam war began on 21 July 2006 with the Malvilaru incident. Rajapaksa telephoned Alles and told him to tell Kanthan to mediate in settling the Mavilaru issue. The statement below given by Alles to the TID shows that Rajapaksa had links with the LTTE until Gotabhaya was targeted by a black tiger in a suicide attack.
“On the morning of 21 July 2006, the president telephoned me and said a reservoir had been closed at Mavilaru, and told me to send a message to the LTTE through Kanthan immediately and settle the matter.”
While Rajapaksa beheaded the Sinhala and Tamil labourers for the continuation of his regime by using patriotism as a front, Alles fished in the troubled waters and carried out his businesses.
(By a special correspondent for Lanka News Web)