Written by Staff Writer
23 Aug, 2017 | 10:09 pm
Do you remember the discussions and reports that stated that Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa was linked to the Avant Garde deal?
Over the past two years, News1st have been exposing many details in this regard.
On January 20, 2015, the police discovered over 3,000 firearms on-board a floating armoury.
It was later revealed that the floating armoury belongs to Avant Garde and later a broad investigation was launched.
SSP Ajith Rohana (Police Media Spokesperson):
[quote]”According to the authorities on the ship, around 3,000 firearms of various makes and models are on board. It has been reported that there were automatic weapons such as T56 assault rifles and semi automatic firearms as well. We are conducting investigations. The authorities on the ship said it belongs to the private security firm known as Avant Garde.”[/quote]
An allegation was leveled that the government lost million of rupees as a result of the floating armoury and the On-board Security Team operations carried out by Avant Garde.
The allegations were leveled at Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadipathi and a group of people including former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
While the police was conducting investigations and reporting facts to court, then Minister of Law and Order, Thilak Marapana made a public statement that the police were carrying out this investigation in order to score points with the administration, and drew parallels with the Millenium City raid of an army inteligence safe house.
By Novermber 9, 2015, Thilak Marapana stepped down from his position due to this statement.
Even though Minister Thilak marapana stepped down, issues continued to crop up with regard to the investigation process.
Anura Kumara Dissanayake (Chief Opposition Whip):
[quote]”At a meeting chaired by you, Senior Solicitor General Wasantha Nawaratne Bandara said 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. 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.”[/quote]
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe (Former Minister of Justice):
[quote]”If legal action is being taken against Avant Garde, then a number of people including the current Secretary of Defence should be arrested because the navy continue to use the service of Avant Garde. There are over 500 navy weapons in the floating armoury in the red sea. The Minister of Defence should also be held accountable in that case. No one can point the finger at me in this regard.”[/quote]
However, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s allegation was rejected by the Navy Commander.
It has already been revealed that the government suffered a loss of over Rs. 11.4 billion due to the Avant Garde deal.
Just two months after the navy took back OBST operations from the Avant Garde, the Sri Lanka Navy earned a profit of over USD 3 million.
After depriving the country of millions in revenue, individuals involved in this fraud attempted to sweep it under the carpet stating that the serial number of the illegal firearms had worn off.
These same individuals later altered serious criminal charges into money laundering charges and once again attempted to sweep this scam under the carpet.
25 Jul, 2022 | 09:00 AM
20 Jul, 2022 | 04:20 PM
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