* A-G blocks Alles' arrest
* Super-rich young officer
* Smuggled Cabinet paper
President rebukes UPFA Secy Premajayantha
Controversial UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha's double
role as a proxy for sidelined former President Mahinda Rajapaksa came
into question last week with President Maithripala Sirisena firmly
stepping in to respond to Premajayantha's manoeuvres. Last week
Premajayantha remarked that the Police Financial Crimes Investigations
Division would be dissolved under a future UPFA government. This
statement gave rise to the impression that the UPFA was against the
investigations into bribery and corruption allegations levelled against
the top echelons of the previous government.
This statement was contradicted by President Sirisena when he met
news media heads for a breakfast meeting last week. The President, who
is also the Chairman of the UPFA, said the Police FCID would not be
disbanded under his government.
"I am in talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to change the
last paragraph of the gazette notification with regard to the Financial
Crimes Division. That was the same message I conveyed to the seniors of
the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. I never promised to disband the
FCID,"President Sirisena said during the meeting with media heads. The
President's remark came as an embarrassment for Premajayantha.
Ministry Secy removed for 'smuggling in' MR's cabinet paper
Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Highways and
Investment Promotions, was removed from his position last week by
Minister Kabir Hashim when it was revealed that the Secretary was
responsible for some serious blunders which, some suspect, may have been
It all began when Deputy Minister EranWickramaratne found that that
the Secretary had seemingly inserted a Cabinet paper in to Ministry
dossier to be presented at the weekly Cabinet meeting without the
knowledge of the Minister or the Deputy Minister. The mystery Cabinet
paper was about an elevated monorail project for the city of Colombo and
it was an "unsolicited" proposal. Interestingly, the Cabinet paper had
been prepared when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power.
While serving as President, Rajapaksa also held the post of Minister of
During a meeting of the Economic Affairs Committee at the Temple
Trees, Deputy Minister Wickramaratne noticed that there was a "strange"
Cabinet paper from his ministry. He immediately contacted his minister,
Kabir Hashim, over the phone to ascertain whether he was aware of the
Paper. Puzzled by his Deputy Minister's question, Hashim said he had no
knowledge of the document. Later they found out that the Secretary of
the Minister was responsible for this seeming 'blunder'.
In addition to that, there were several other allegations leveled
against the Ministry secretary. Ministry insiders claim that this
Ministry Secretary had disregarded instructions of the Minister and
Deputy Minister in relation to financial transactions. The Minister and
the Deputy Minister then had serious suspicions whether the official was
trying to 'undermine' the work of the Ministry which was previously held
by the former President.
Super-rich young military officer probed
A privileged member of the Security Forces is now under investigation
by anti-corruption bodies over shares purchases worth Rs. 50 million.
The young officer, who belongs to a high profile family, had allegedly
bought shares when his family was at the helm of the country's politics.
Investigators received information last week that the young officer had
surreptitiously transferred his shares after his family lost its
The question is: how did this young officer, whose annual salary
amounts to a fraction of that amount, manage to invest Rs. 50 million in
the Colombo Stock Exchange?
This comes against the backdrop in which the law enforcement bodies
are investigating the ownership of a certain TV channel which was set up
as a sports network. The actual ownership of the channel is yet to be
However, investigations are underway to find out whether a young
military officer who had immense political clout was also involved in
the ownership of the sports channel. Questions remain as to how the
young military officer had great avenues of income over the past five
AG's position on Tiran Alles' arrest stuns lawyers
Parliamentarian of the Democratic National Alliance Tiran Alles found
himself in hot waters last week in connection with investigations into
RADA, an institution he headed under the blessings of the previous
regime. It was in the grapevine that the Parliamentarian would be
arrested over charges that have been leveled against him. The
investigation was handled by the Police Special Investigation Unit and
it had already taken steps to arrest Saliya Wickramasuriya, who was the
Chief Operating Officer of RADA.
Ahead of a possible arrest, the Parliamentarian filed a Fundamental
Rights petition before the Supreme Court seeking to prevent his arrest
stating that the government was on a "witch-hunt" against its political
opponents. Interesting developments took place at the Police Department
and the Attorney General's Department after the Parliamentarian filed
his FR petition. In his petition, the Parliamentarian, who "officially"
represents the opposition, said there was a move to arrest him as he had
close relations with the former President.
After the FR petition was filed, the Police Special Investigations
Unit sought IGP N.K. Illangakoon's directions to arrest Tiran Alles as
part of the ongoing inquiry into the conduct of the Parliamentarian.
However, the IGP was in two minds about the arrest due to the FR
petition filed by the Parliament over the same matter. Therefore, the
IGP had said that he wanted a clarification from the Attorney General
with regard to the arrest the wake of the petition.
The Attorney General's Department prepared its opinion stating that
there was no legal impediment to arrest the DNA Parliamentarian despite
The Supreme Court which took up Alles' case had issued notice on all
the respondents, unlike in the matter relating to former Defence
Secretary GotabhayaRajapaksa where the court issued an ex parte interim
order preventing the arrest of Rajapaksa. The Supreme Court listed Alles'
case be heard during the course of next week.
As the Attorney General's Department prepared its opinion the Police
Department received notice from the Supreme Court with regard to the
Parliamentarian's FR petition.
At this point, the officers representing the Attorney General
withdrew their opinion and immediately instructed the Police not to
arrest Alles as the Supreme Court had issued notice.
The Attorney General's Department's instruction to the IGP raised the
eyebrows of lawyers who were working on the case and as the Attorney
General conceded that the 'notice' was powerful enough to prevent the
arrest of Tiran Alles.