Feb 19, 2020

Udayanga’s case: issues over transferring of CID officers Featured

Questions were raised in parliament yesterday over the transfer of CID officers handling the case of the former Russian and Ukraine Ambassador Udayanga Weeratunge over the alleged fraud of USD 7.833 million during the MiG transaction and money laundering charges.

The reason being the situation that arose at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on February 17th based on the orders issued by the Acting IGP.

The Fort Magistrate ordered the IGP to report as to whether Chief Inspector Nihal Francis and SSP P. Dayaratne who had been handling this case over the past five years could be re-assigned to the case and if not, on what grounds they have been removed from this case.

JVP Parliamentarian Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa raising a supplementary question in parliament yesterday asked State Defence Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, “The officers handling this case over the past five years have been transferred and the newly appointed officer comes to court and says he knows nothing about the case. In fact, he has asked court under Act charges should be filed against Udayanga Weeratunge. This new officer knows nothing about his file. So have the CID suddenly become babies or are you’ll trying to make them babies?”

In response, Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said he would study the matter and respond.

"I must study this matter before commenting on it. I have a fair knowledge of how charged are concocted and how they are written. I have good experience. Hence, just because a case is filed a person cannot be charged. For that an investigation needs to be conducted in a fair manner. There are so many complaints regarding the manner the CID investigated complaints. However, I will look into the matters that were said in court,” the State Defence Minister said.

Udayanga Mig 001

The Fort Magistrate had questioned why the CID officer who handled this case over the past five years was transferred and the response was that he had received a routine transfer.
However, the Colombo Fort Magistrate expressed dissatisfaction over the manner the CID is handling this case.

Who is Udayanga?

Udayanga Mig 002
Udayanga Weeratunga is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cousin. Their mothers are sisters. Born at Medamulana, he had received his education and Colombo Nalanda College.

Udayanga having completed his higher studies received a scholarship to study at an Engineering University in Kiev, Ukraine.

While pursuing his studies, he also engaged in business.

Having earned his BSC he remained in Ukraine and together with another Sri Lankan friend they opened up a Sri Lankan restaurant there.

After Mahinda Rajapaksa took oath as the president in 2005, Udayanga was appointed as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia in 2006 and served until around 2015.

While he served as the Ambassador Udayanga facilitated all Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Ukraine tours and even had Mahinda Rajapaksa awarded an honorary doctorate from the Patrice Lulumba University.

What are the charges against him?

The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) had filed charges against Udayanga Weeratunge on allegations of massive financial fraud during the purchase of MiG-27 aircrafts for the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The police are charging Udayanga for having misappropriated USD 7.833 million of public funds.