Written by Tharushan Fernando
23 Sep, 2015 | 9:34 pm
The President has provided instructions to continue uninterrupted investigations into Avant Garde.
Co-Cabinet Spokesperson,Minister (Dr.) Rajitha Senaratne stated that at the meeting held with the heads of the Government , the President instructed to strictly implement the law and continue with the investigation uninterrupted.
An official attached to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority noted that the Mahanuwara vessel with a floating armoury anchored at the Galle harbour was released from its custody and added that the vessel is being dealt with as an ordinary vessel that reaches the harbour.
He also added that the operations of the vessel are continuing as before.
Spokesperson for the Sri Lanka Navy, stated that as legal proceedings are underway over the weapons aboard the Mahanuwara vessel, he cannot make any comment on the matter. Although it was only the Mahanuwara vessel with a floating armoury, anchored at Galle, came to the fore of discussion in society, Avant Garde Maritime Services operates other floating armouries.
According to the website of the Avant Garde Maritime Services , the two other floating armouries are placed in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman.The website further states that Avant Garde Maritime Services had entered into a joint venture with Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited to provide infrastructure facilities for international maritime security services.
Making a submission before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to look into large scale corruption and fraud, Damayanthi Jayaratne, a former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence had accepted that firearms to the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Company was provided in violation of the usual legal practice.
It was also revealed that 3473 weapons had been provided to Rakna Arakshaka Lanka and only 89 of them have licences.
According to the website of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka, it operates to floating armories and these vessel too are located in the same vicinity of the floating armories operated by Avant Garde Maritime Services.
When inquired the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka noted that weapons owned by Rakna Arakshaka Lanka were stored in the floating armouries operated by Avant Garde Martime Services in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman.
However, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka confirmed that the floating armoury in the Gulf of Oman has been withdrawn while the floating armoury in the Red Sea continues be operational.
When Avant Garde Maritime Services was initiated, Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake was serving as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and he later served as a consultant to the company and he pointed out that the Sri Lanka Navy earned a higher revenue on maritime security before that task was handed over to Avant Garde Maritime Services.
Dissanayake went on to state that as a result of the restriction for the Sri Lanka Navy on international waters, the Ministry of Defence had handed over that task to Avant Garde.
However, he added that the floating armoury in the Mahanuwara vessel did not hold any weapons from Rakna Arakshaka Lanka.
The Former Navy Commander also noted that under the agreement reached between Avant Garde and Rakna Arakshaka Lanka which functions under the Ministry of Defence, a sum of 1000 dollars was to be paid to the Sri Lanka Navy for each group and the Navy Commanders who were appointed later on had held discussions with Avant Garde and the profit percentage to be given to the Sri Lanka Navy had been reduced.
Leader of the National Unity Front, Azad Sally noted that the advice from the AG on Avant Garde are wrong. “I am making that clear and I don’t mind going to jail.”
He further added that the advice of the AG is wrong and if the Navy continued to operate the Naval Floating Armoury , Sri Lanka could have earned millions of dollars in revenue. He went on to question as to who directed the funds that were to be reached by the Navy, to Avant Garde and added that a new case needs to be filed to impose punishments and if we let go of their wrong-doings the people will think that we lied to them during the elections
Leader of the JVP, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said:
Yesterday I made a statement over the Avant Garde incident and I submitted that statement to the leader of the house on Friday and this incident had led to much controversy. I am aware that the speaker had also directed his attention to this and therefore the Government needs to make a statement on this matter. The delay proves that interruptions on the investigations is going to continue
Prime Minister,Ranil Wickremesinghe added that we will make a statement and he made a lengthy statement yesterday, and all facts will be looked i to and a statement will be made thereafter.
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