As the trend of dismissing court cases of national importance involving the Attorney General’s Department in search of political advantage is on the rise these days, the Case of Malwana Mansion would be the next chapter of such a legal swing following the acquittal of former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando.
Commonly known as ‘Basil’s Case on Malwana Mansion,’ Court Case HC/27/17 the Democratic and Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka A. Basil Rohana Rajapaksa and Tirukumar Nadeshan under the Attorney General’s Number CR5/14/2016 is currently being heard in the Gampaha High Court, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of public funds by purchasing a 16 acre land at Mapitigama Gangabada Road, Malwana, Dodampe, building a large mansion and a swimming pool and running an animal farm, at the expense of about Rs. 100 million by Muditha Jayakody Associates.
The case was taken up on January 07, 2022 to refer Muditha Jayakody for further cross examination. Responding to the cross examination by Saliya Peiris PC appearing for Defendant Tirukumar Nadeshan, Jayakody raised amusement in the Chamber by making rather a funny disclosure.
A Letter of Amusement
The mansion in question believed to be owned by Basil Rajapaksa was built at a cost of about Rs. 100 million by Muditha Jayakody Associates. With no hesitation, he has transferred the funds in his bank account for the conduction of the project.
Jayakody had written to the Commission of Taxes stating that the money for the purchase and development of the aforementioned land had been given to him by ‘another party’ and that he ought to recover the Nation Building Income Tax paid on the purchase. The letter dated 25.07.2015 reveals he had forwarded a letter to the Inland Revenue Department under the heading ‘My Income after the Audit’ dated June 05, 2015, and produced a statement to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on 22.04.2016.
According to the letter, Jayakody has invested the following amounts of money in the construction of the Malwana Mansion in three consecutive years (2012 – 2015).
2012/2013 – Rs. 2,500,000/-
2013-2014 – Rs. 26,972,975/-
2014-2015 – Rs. 74,655,199/-
Jayakody, however, now goes on saying that these monies do not belong to him and the income tax paid for the purchase, therefore, must be recovered in his name.
“Accordingly, I declare that the aforementioned amount of money reserved for each assessment year does not belong to me or my company at all and that the money was handed over to me by the aforementioned outsider at his request, in order for me to make the payments to the relevant parties for the expenses incurred in the construction of a mansion on the said property,” Jayakody states in his letter.
Below is the first copy of the letter.
It is in this point has the notoriety of Jayakody made a public appearance through the letter’s description upon the questioning of Saliya Peiris PC in Court.
Jayakody has produced statements to the FCID on several occasions regarding the money and even signed on declaring them to be authentic. However, Jayakody told Court that he has produced ‘both truths and lies‘ to the FCID.
Jayakody shamelessly admits that he also lied to the Inland Revenue Department and produced counterfeit documents. Had he been given money for this project in question by another party, it should be disclosed before Court. However, Jayakody’s notoriety continued to play as he was being careful not to disclose any name at all times.
On the other hand, the letter forwarded to the Inland Revenue Department reveals that Jayakody himself has acknowledged that he was involved in money laundering.
The repetition of evidence suggests that the construction of the Malwana Mansion believed to be owned by Basil at a cost of about Rs. 100 million was a project of Muditha Jayakody Associates. But Jayakody is playing a rather dangerous game as the ‘star witness’ to this criminal conduct.
Jayakody’s claims are likely to be the biggest joke in Sri Lanka’s history of criminal cases, for he is clearly wasting valuable time in the honourable Court of Law, raising the uncertainty whether he would tell the truth in Court at all.
According to Jayakody, he has been a taxpayer of this country since 1989. At one point he says, “I’m not like others, your honour, I pay taxes on time.” Be it true, then Jayakody in a berserk claim goes on saying that he had paid taxes on income that was not his and demands the Inland Revenue Department for a refund.
If put correctly, the Inland Revenue Department should have sued this man for producing counterfeit information involving a matter of national importance.
Chances are high that all of us may soon see the end result of the attempt to try a case based on the testimony of an unreliable witness like Muditha Jayakody.