First and foremost I, Colombo District Member of Parliament, Ravi Karunanayake would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to present my statement regarding the breach of my parliamentary privileges before the house.
On January 8, 2015 2015 a dream resonated within our hearts. That is, the establishment of consensus and good governance while also establishing democracy, reconciliation that was once lost while bringing about economic and social development in the country. To achieve these targets on January 8, 2015 we were able to elect a new President and a government following which in the same year we established a consensus government.
However unfortunately in a matter of three years this dream appears to be slipping away from us due to misleading and narrow political objectives.
But today I am making this speech as a person who not only strongly believes in but also stands for consensus and good governance while hoping to fight till the very end to make this dream a reality.
My expectation is not to attack anyone
There is perhaps no other political figure whose character was more assassinated and insulted than me due to the controversial bond issue. Therefore I have a right to prove my innocence in this regard. But I have no intention of attacking anyone through this statement. Instead I take this opportunity to prove my truthfulness regarding the allegations leveled against me.
Despite the criticisms levelled against me, I have the strength to face them. It's the strength of the truth. The strength of fairness and justice.
Perhaps this is the first time in the history of parliament a complaint is being made such as this regarding a breach of privileges.
As a person who always stood for and fought for good governance, I have become a ghastly and planned political target of these chain of events.
At this time I recall a proverb in local folklore. "වැටත් නියරත් ගොයම් කානම් කාට පවසන් ඒ අමාරුව ? "
Was awaiting the report
From the time my name was dragged in to the activities of this commission, I have been impatiently awaiting the release of the report.
The Presidential commission to investigate in to the questionable issuance of treasury bonds was appointment by the his excellency the President on January 27, 2017. Following this appointment the investigations were conducted for around 10 months after which the compiled report was presented to the President on December 30, 2017.
The commission report which consisting of thousands of pages was then hurriedly summarised in a mere three days during the new year by a committee comprising of senior officers who in return handed this over to the President.
Based on this report summary on January 3, 2018 the President made a special statement through media outlets. My statement today is mainly focused and based on this statement made by him.
The statement made says the following :
"The report mentions the responsibility of Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake regarding the rent payments for a penthouse apartment by the Walt and Row company owned and controlled by the Aloysius family. The report states that a legal case should be filed against him under the Bribery Act as well as under the Penal Code for giving false statements to the Commission."
This says a case should be filed against me.
However in the report thereafter handed over to us only says that relevant authorities should look into if there is any wrongdoing and if such wrongdoing is discovered then appropriate action should be taken in this regard.
This is indeed a bizarre situation. It is as if during a game of cricket the batsman lets a wide delivery be, only to be declared as dismissed by the Umpire.
Please allow me to explain.
Going through this report it is clear that the media campaign launched against me by connecting me to the controversial bond issue is in fact a planned conspiracy.
Certain politicians and media outlets carried out major propaganda campaigns claiming that as the Former Minister of Finance, I advised state banks regarding treasury bond transactions thereby making the government incur serious losses in revenue.
The commision says a different story
However the commission says a completely different story.
I would like to bring your attention to Page 838 of the report. It says the following :
We have earlier, concluded that, in view of the undesirably high Yield Rates which then prevailed, it was reasonable and justifiable for Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance, to wish to bring these Yield Rates down at these Treasury Bond Auctions. We have also taken the view that, since successive Governments have been known to use the state-owned People’s Bank, National Savings Bank and Bank of Ceylon to implement some policy measures and it is not per se irregular for a Government to do so, we cannot find fault with Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance for convening these meetings and giving the aforesaid instructions to the three State Banks.
Through this the commission accepts that as Finance Minister it was just and legal of me to reduce these rates.
“It was reasonable and justifiable for Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, the then Minister of Finance, to wish to bring these Yield Rates down at these Treasury Bond Auctions”
The commission further accepts that the previous governments have also taken similar action according to their policies while confirming that I am not in the wrong in this regard.
“To implement some policy measures and it is not per se irregular for a Government to do so, we cannot find fault with Hon. Ravi Karunanayake”
Meanwhile an extensive propaganda was carried out claiming that I instructed the Central Bank. However the commission has now rejected all these statements.
I would like to once against bring page 838 of the report to your attention. It says :
“However, we have also earlier concluded that, there is no evidence before us which suggests that, Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP or the Ministry of Finance advised the CBSL that the aforesaid instruction had been given to the three State Banks”
According to the report the commission has accepted that there is no evidence to say my Ministry nor I had instructed the Central Bank in these transactions.
The commission in its report more importantly accepts that the Central Bank or the Treasury bond issue was not under my control or influence at the time.
My learned lawyers have informed me of the following conclusions they have arrived at after going through the commission report.
The commission has confirmed that I have no connection to Perpetual treasuries or another party receiving a profit from the purchase and sale of treasury bonds.
The commission does not report of evidence regarding any wrongdoing and/or illegal on my part with regards to the sale of bonds by the Central Bank and/or the purchase of these bonds by a primary dealer.
I will now focus on the recommendations in the commission report.
Chapter 33 of the report focuses on the recommendations. Pages 921 - 922 holds 30 recommendations. I have been mentioned in recommendations number 24 and 25 on page 920 and 921.
Please look at recommendations number 24 on pages 920 - 921 in the report before you.
“As stated earlier in Chapter 24, we recommend that, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption should consider whether Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, while he was Minister of Finance, derived a substantial benefit from the Lease Payments made by Walt and Row Associates (Pvt) Ltd [which is an Associate Company of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and which is owned and controlled by the same persons who own and control Perpetual Treasuries Ltd] for the lease of apartment occupied by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP and his family and, if so, determine whether appropriate action should be taken against Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, under the Bribery Act;
We recommend that you decide on the steps to be taken
Here it says “Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption should consider Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP, while he was Minister of Finance, derived a substantial benefit and if so, determine whether appropriate action should be taken”. It does not say to file a case against me.
Therefore this conspiracy is now clear to all of you. Where does it say that a case should be filed against me for bribery and fraud? These are planned political conspiracies. In fact they are reprehensible conspiracies. In fact it is an attempt to politically assisinate my character.
The next matter is even more dangerous
The next matter is in fact more serious and dangerous. I will now read out the recommendation number 25 on page 922. Please draw your attention to that page.
“As stated earlier in Chapter 24, we also recommend that, the Hon. Attorney General and other appropriate authorities consider whether some of the evidence given by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP before us is shown to have been incorrect and, if that is the case, whether Mr. Karunanayake should be prosecuted under Section 179 and/or Section 188 of the Penal Code or other relevant provision of the Law, read with Section 9 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act No. 17 of 1948”
Does not say to file for legal action
Here the commission has merely says “the Attorney General and other appropriate authorities consider whether some of the evidence given by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP before us is shown to have been incorrect and, if that is the case, whether Mr. Karunanayake should be prosecuted”.
It does not ask for a case to be filed. This is a conspiracy that goes even beyond.
In the statement written for he President it says legal action should be taken against me for giving false evidence to the commission. However the report does not say I have given flase evidence. It recommends that the Attorney General and other authorities should consider if the evidence given by me appears to be false and if so then it should be decided if legal action should be taken against me.
In the end the only relevant issue related to me is the Rs. 11 Million borrowed by my daughter in order to make a rental payment for her company which was later repaid.
I will now resolve this issue before the house as well.
I now bring page 827 of Chapter 24 in the report to your attention.
Page 827 says Mr. Karunanayake did not produce any evidence to show that any reimbursements had taken place by my family to Walt and Row Associates (Pvt) Ltd. That is repayment of the money cannot be proved.
Receipts showed were not looked at
However according to page 832 in my answer I have said “I got the receipt here that the reimbursement has taken place” as shown by the report.
While the presented the receipt on the day however no effort was taken to investigate further on it.
While I am unable to say who this was not checked however it is unfair to level allegations against me after failing to look in to the receipt even after it was presented to the commission.
I am not able to say what sort of Presidential Commission this is. But if this is how they operate I must say that I have been prejudiced against even after providing receipts for a a reimbursed payment done by my daughter.
Conspiracy to arrest me
A major mudslinging campaign is being carried out stating that I have false evidence before the commission while various news on websites say certain officers in the President’s office are adivincing that attempts should be made to arrest me.
If as claimed I provided false evidence then under Section 10 of the COMMISSION OF INQUIRIES ACT the commissioners could have acted against me immediately. If I infact lied then officers of the Attorney General’s department who questioned me had no reason to keep quiet regarding it. The commission could have punished and taken action against me.
I can recall that certain MP’s gave false evidence before the commission and later apologized for it. However how can it be understood as to why allegations against me are being allowed now after not taking any action in the past five months. Therefore I once again stress that this is nothing but a cheap political conspiracy. But for whose want is it being carried out is the question?
Where is Anika’s testimony?
I am sure you remember that the Attorney General’s department complained to the commission that a relation of mine made death threats to a lady who had levelled allegations against me. This is a complete falsehood. The individual is not a relation of mine. But the media gave prominence to this news. Believing these lies the public gave in to the misconceptions about me and my family. This made a serious negative impact on my political life.
But no mention of this major incident which was important to the Attorney General’s department as proved by the media circus following it has been included in the report. This is yet another side of this political conspiracy.
The statement made by the owner of the property which all the allegations against me was based on was given widespread media publicity. This greatly affected my good name and reputation.
Creating a major media hype this lady was given VIP protection of the government as a result. Similarly protection was also given to her brother. But no such protection has been given to me, a person who made great sacrifices for good governance and is now suffering as a result.
But what surprises me is that the statement taken from this lady after providing all this protection has not been included in the commission report.
I have a question to raise in this instance. Was all the media circus created and security provided to obtain a useless evidential testimony? Or was public money utilized to fund security for this person to obtain evidence to merely sling mud at me?
This is a complete contradiction. A distortion. A conspiracy. In fact it has misled the public and society. We must destroy this sleazy political culture.
In a country where good governance is in place how did such false and distorted information find its way to the President’s statement through the intervention of the first citizen’s office? We must look in to this?
Did it occur due to an error in translation? Or through negligence? No matter how it occured it is clear that this has caused great disgrace and dishonour to the President. Despite reluctance to admit it this is the bitter truth.
Purposeful distortion of facts
Accordingly my opinion is that those who studied the report on behalf of the President and those who prepared the special statement by the President has purposely and cleverly distorted these facts purposely.
I do not stress on this fact according to a whim or guesswork. I bring up this fact with good reason.
I would also like to mention that these mentioned facts are not related to the issued mandate for which the Presidential Commission was appointed. However I was called in by the commission for the related investigations and as beneficiaries of the Yahapalana and Consensus government We fully supported this endeavour.
I even resigned from the post so that investigations of the commission will not be affected and also in order to establish a new political culture in the country. However even after that media campaigns were launched by this conspiracy to sling mud against me and to mislead the public.
What are the falsehoods uttered by me?
However now I would like to know what these falsehoods that were allegedly uttered by me. It is my right to know this.
On the face of it there are serious contradictions between the commission report and the statement made by the President based on this. I have been made a politically targeted in some instances and it clearly appears to be schemic in character as well. Such commissions, through these actions, lose its credibility and dignity while also losing face before the general public.
How were past bond issues disregarded?
In fact first the bond issues between 2008 - 2015 should have been investigated. If so the current political situation would have become vastly different. But a political decision was made to first investigate the bond issue between 2015 - 2016.
We have done no wrong so we bravely faced the commission. But your focus should be brought to one particular fact. That is the fact that committees were also previously appointed to look in to this incident.
Firstly the Prime Minister appointed the Pitipana commission
Thereafter the COPE committee under D.E.W Gunasekara investigated the details regarding this.
Again this was examined by the Supreme Court.
Later it was also examined by the Bribery and Fraud Commission.
Thereafter, an inquiry was also held by COPE COMMITTEE led by Sunil Handunneththi regarding the bond issue.
I was dragged in to this
Honourable speaker, ගරු කථානායකතුමනි,
The above mentioned committees and organizations in many ways investigated in to this incident. However none of them made no mention of me. This is because the subject matter of the investigation was not under the control of my Ministry. This is a clear fact.
But the Presidential Commission dragged my name in to the bond issue deal.
Not only did they do that they even dragged the members of my family in to this issue. The officers of the Attorney General’s department even asked private questions which are not usually not asked in such an inquiry. These actions of the officers of the Attorney General’s department in turn became a media circus against me.
However what are the final recommendations made by the commission relating to me? If I am correct is only says to take necessary action after evaluating the information given by me. But in the statement written for the President it says legal action by way of a case should be taken against me.
I would like to ask if me, my family and the United National Party were presented as sinners and stoned to this end?
Was I painted as a sinner, made to bear a cross and taken to the Calvary mountain by a media circus to finally be told this?
But Honorable Speaker,
But what is happening now? Not only I, who had no connection to this incident was tied to it through this special statement I have once against been connected to this issue despite the confirmation that there was no wrong doing on my part.
In short I can only say that I have been delivered King Kekille’s type of a verdict as a result.
However one thing is clear. It shows that those who planned this conspiracy were not able to enter their wants and purposes to this report. In fact the plans and hopes of those attempting to attack the consensus good governance government are now in crisis due
While this is the case however the mudslinging continues due to these cheap political tactics.
The target of the conspiracy is not Ravi!
Once again I say, this conspiracy is not one aimed at Ravi Karunanayake.
There is more to this, this is why they took a huge risk by distorting the President’s statement to publicize their agenda. If not how did they have the courage to risk the reputation of the President.
This shows someones dire need to politically assassinate my character. It continues to happen today.
Meanwhile the parties have also mislead the public by spreading fallacies regarding the issue. These are all done for political gain and sling mud at me as proved before the commission.
The good governance government was formed against the mass scale corruption and frauds in the recent past. However no formal action has been taken following investigations in to these. Therefore in this situation I thoroughly condemn the selected attacks on those connected to the UNP being.
What is this anger against the UNP? This is where the conspiracy is. This is their intention. And they continue to struggle to achieve this.
I ask of you today, What can be said about Ravi Karunanayake today? The commission recommendations are crystal clear.
However how many investigations as promised prior to January 8, 2015 are yet to commence and continue to be unclear.
- The loss due to Sri Lanka due to the Hejin deal Rs. Million 96000
- Srilankan Airlines loss amounting to Rs. Million 146000
- Mihin Lanka loss amounting to Rs. Million 12300
- Greek Bond loss Rs. Million 3900
- Cost to construct Mattala Airport Rs. Million 46000
- Cost to construct the Nelum Kuluna Rs. Million 7600
- Cost to construct the Defence Headquarters Rs. Million 64000
- Cost to construct the Hambantota Port Rs. Million 130000
- The MIG deal Rs. Million 85000
- Pyramid transaction loss Rs. Million 11800
Commission reports gathering dust
Also it must be noted that there are 34 interim reports of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Serious Fraud Fraud. If not for political reasons then why are no steps being taken in this regard?
In the past Presidential election and the General election we made a promise to the people. We assured that we will investigate and punished those involved in corruption during the past government. We promised that we will not be corrupt if we come to power. We said we would bring in new and more stringent laws to stop corruption and fraud.
Our government has largely commenced in to looking in to corruption and frauds of the previous government while also appointing presidential commission to look in to alleged frauds taken place during the rule of our current government. If our government in fact wanted to steal then we would not have handed over the COPE committee presidency to the opposition. We are currently working towards formulating laws to stop any future corruption and frauds.
The politicians of this country has the bad habit of going after the President or the party leader when they are accused of any wrongdoing in a bid to save themselves. This happened during the Rajapaksa era as well.
Today how many politicians continue to hide behind his excellency the President and without having cases being filed despite charges of corruption levelled against them. How many in the SLFP have been left without any legal action being taken against them? How many in the Joint How many cases have disappeared due to the so called lack of evidence?
Therefore I have one message to those who are not doing what they promised but are attempting to better themselves by latching on to us. Ravi Karunananayke does not hide and attempt to save him self. I do not work according to that theory. We do not challenge the country’s courts and social justice through such cheap political moves. We will not do for in the future also as only those who have committed a wrong should hide.
Just look at most those who appear to take the moral high ground but are in fact compulsive liars and the speeches made by them prior to January 8, 2015 while on Rajapaksa’s campaign stage. Look at the statements being made by these same individuals today. These seemingly genuine characters are full of words but do not act accordingly.
How Chinchimanawikawa came with a tied bundle of wood
It is however not unsurprising that these should happen to a ordinary mortal such as myself. This is happened to the Lord Buddha as well. In the past a woman of ill repute such as the Chinchimanawikawas was sent with a tied bundle of wood before the Lord Buddha. But however God Sakra let the bundle loose to prove the Buddha’s innocence.
The story of the Bond Commission is therefore one of beauty. They are saying to check if this bundle of wood let loose, right before one's eyes is in fact a baby. And says if the bundle of wood is a baby then to hand it over to the father. Given the opportunity there are today's Chinchimanawika’s who are trying to continue their game in attempting to topple this government.
Sinners who threw stones at Sirikotha
Is this a joke? Many individuals and parties tried to destroy the UNP at various junctures. Attempts to destroy the party with guns, bombs and conspiracies were not successful. It will not be successful today or even tomorrow. We will not allow for this. Our supporters know we will not allow the sinners who divided the party while hurling stones at Sirikotha to destroy this party. If attempts are being made by these pawns to destroy this strong party the UNP knows how to respond to this. It appears that certain pawns have forgotten how the party strongly responded to those who attempted the same during the Rajapaksa era.
As politicians we should be prepared to face any condemnations and allegations thrown at us. We should be strong enough for this. But however malicious statements bringing pain to children, wives and family members who are not connected to politics are not acceptable by the civil society.
These mudslinging campaigns greatly shocked and upset my daughters. Who will pay for all the pain and tears of these children? However I must thank my wife and children for giving me the strength to stand tall even while suffering due to these insults.
I must also extend my gratitude to the leader of our party for his endless support, and to our supporters and colleagues in the parliament. I would also like to thank my well wishers who loves and wishes to protect this good governance government while also thanking them for the hundreds of calls to encourage me.
I would also like to thank those on social media and websites who eventually understood the truth regarding this.
Thank you : Let us see on the 10th!
Therefore Honorable Speaker,
With great respect I urge to you bring your kind attention to the fact raised by me and to protect by privileges accordingly.
The UNP has also been greatly affected due to this conspiracy being carried out during the election season by targeting me and the United National Party in general.
On February 10 I am sure that our supporters and well wishers along with the activists who worked to bring about a political change on January 8, 2015 will give these conspirators the correct response. The victory of the United National Party is assured.
Finally I would like to end this statement by thanking his excellency the President who appointed the Presidential commission to look in to the bond issue after the forming of the good governance government and for through its final report for absolving and releasing the UNP, the Prime Minister and especially myself from all allegations levelled against us.