Written by Tharushan Fernando
21 Oct, 2015 | 8:45 pm
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responded to questions that were raised by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake several weeks ago, over the issues surrounding Avant Garde.
The Prime Minister stated that in the letter dated September 18, 2012, the then Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, D.M.D. Jayaratne informed the Chairman of Avant Garde that the Minister of Defence had permitted to operate the floating armoury in international waters. However, the Ministry of Defence is not in possession of the document that was given to anchor the floating armoury at the Galle Harbour.
He added that the only permit for the weapons were from the countries the weapons were issued from. And the accepting and issuing of those weapons are to be done under the supervision of the Sri Lanka Navy. The Ministry of Defence has not granted permission to issue any of the weapons from the floating armoury and in addition, the Ministry of Defence is not in the possession of the documents which detail the weapons nor the country of origin.
He went on to note that the Attorney General has not advised that the case be withdrawn nor to conclude the investigations. As clear instructions were provided to continue with the investigation, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption will continue with the investigations over bribery allegations while the police will continue with the investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act No. 5 of 2006 and therefore there is no requirement for another external investigation in this regard
Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated:
At a meeting chaired by you, Senior Solicitor General Wasantha Navaratne Bandara said that cases can be filed under the Firearms Ordinance, the Explosives Ordinance and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. ……. I recall Minister Mangala Samaraweera saying that a case has not been filed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and at the meeting chaired by you it was said that as they have political reasons, cases can be filed under the other two acts.
The Attorney-General says that there is no need to file criminal charges and that the investigations will be done by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption for money laundering and first, call for a full scale debate on this matter in Parliament and based on the revelations, I propose for the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee in this regard
The Prime Minister meanwhile staated that as the Solicitor General and the Deputy Solicitor General were of two different opinions “I requested the Attorney General to look in to the matter and provide advise. So, after taking into account the opinions, he made his final recommendation
Anura Kumara Dissanayake in retaliation to this statement added that Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath had asked the President if it is possible to arrest the former Secretary of Defense and during the meeting with the Prime Minister ,Deputy Solicitor General Wasantha Bandara had expressed a view different to what was mentioned by Suhada Gamlath
He went on to question:
At that time I asked him, how can he say that and do you know the response that he gave me? He said that the decision was made based on the investigations.
Prime Minister,Ranil Wickremesinghe in reply stated :
Honourable Speaker, there are no incidents related to the Galle District and this is about the government, Avant Garde and Nigeria. Though some incidents may have taken place in Galle or even Kegalle but that does not concern me and the Solicitor General and the Deputy Solicitor General expressed different opinions before me and the Attorney General provides advise to the government and that is why he was vested with that task …”
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