Floating Armoury report due this week
Gotabhaya, other military officers under
The Government will receive this week the Police Criminal
Investigations Department report on the probe into the arms deals and
high seas military venture scandal involving the secretive Avant Garde
Security Services and Rakna Arakshaka Lanka that may have cost the
government billion-rupee losses as well as risked breaches in the global
counter-terrorism effort. State Minister for Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene,
who disclosed this, told the Sunday Observer the CID investigation had
been “closely monitored” by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, given its potentially international
security ramifications. The State Minister for Defence did not disclose
any details of the operations being investigated such as the possibly
massive governmental financial losses due to the uncoordinated arms
transactions and the costly maintenance of floating armouries and
private military units.
A number of retired military officers and private sector business
people as well as former Defence Ministry Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse
are under investigation in connection with this probe.
Wijewardene said the government-run Lanka Logistics Ltd, which took
on the monopoly of military procurement for Sri Lanka’s high-cost war
against the separatist insurgency under the previous regime, would be
maintained under a new management to ensure that no third party
intermediaries get involved in arms procurements thereby avoiding both
security risks as well as any commission-based commercial cost overruns.
Wijewardene said the government would continue with Lanka Logistics
until an alternative military procurement structure had been devised
that would eliminate security loop holes and the possibility of
On January 18 this year, police detained a vessel carrying 12
container loads of weapons at the Galle Harbour.
The Sri Lanka-flagged vessel ˜MV Mahanuwara” was later revealed to be
the floating armoury operated by Avant Garde Maritime Services, a
subsidiary of private security firm Avant Garde Security Services (Pvt)
Ltd. Avant Garde is owned by retired military officer Nissanka
Senadhipathi, who is believed to be having close links with the former
Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd entered into a joint venture
with the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka in a government-owned business
undertaking to provide infrastructure facilities for international
maritime security services.
The Government is taking steps in order to avoid repeating military
procurement malpractices that occurred during the former Government,
according to Minister Wijewardane. “To streamline military procurements
we took a decision first to change the Board of Directors of the Lanka
Logistics and Technologies Ltd. - a fully government owned entity under
the purview of the Defence Ministry. A new board will be appointed
soon,” he added.
Going on record during a recent press conference, Inspector General
of police N.K. Illangakoon said that the floating armoury case is one of
11 major cases currently under CID investigation.