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Avant Garde was no revenue spinner for Sri Lanka -Champika

Unless closely monitored, ongoing malpractices within the private maritime security providing companies can pose a serious threat to the very existence of the country, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

"We will not allow these malpractices to continue and promise to ensure that culprits are brought to book and dealt with according to the country's law. Otherwise, this problem will create serious threats to the very existence of the country," Minister Ranawaka remarked during an interview with the Sunday observer.

The general understanding of the Avant Garde Security Services Company, depicting that it is a highly profitable, foreign currency magnet, is a total lie, he said.

Ranawaka said the company was still nit is formative years and with the passage of time, it would have been possible to make significant profits."The monopoly in the trade was established with the setting up of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL) by the previous government," he charged.

"Several American companies visited the country in 2009, to handle the emerging piracy problem, particularly the Somalian piracy issue affecting sea routes around Sri Lanka.

Their effort was to work in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy, specially for the protection of merchant vessels sailing close to India and the Maldives," he explained.

"Because of the flourishing nature of the business that it earned 80 - 200 million US$ per month in 2012, some people tried to exploit that situation. The first step was to introducing RALL, a company under the Ministry of Defence, to create a monopoly," he said. According to the minister, the first blunder, after appointing Avant Garde as the sole representative of RALL, was the issuing of over 3400 automatic weapons to RALL without proper permits.

"I challenge all these so called legal luminaries to produce the permits issued to Avant Garde according to the applicable laws.

They do not exist in reality. There was blanket approval,' he charged.

When queried about allegations made by Chairman, Avant Garde Security Services, Nissanka Senadhipathi, about alleged bribe taking attempts by Minister Ranawaka and Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Arjuna Ranatunga from Avant Garde, Ranawaka demanded that Senadhipathi disclose his purported evidence without taking cover under a purported 'medical emergency.'

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