News

Ranjan seeks to assist Pandora probe

  • Counsel for imprisoned former MP writes to CIABOC Chair

BY Pamodi Waravita

Former Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake’s legal counsel has written to the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) on Tuesday (12), stating that he is willing to provide a statement about the ongoing investigation into the revelations made in the Pandora Papers files leak about former Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband, Thirukumar Nadesan.

Ramanayake is presently serving a four-year prison sentence after being convicted of contempt of court early this year, and his lawyer Ashan Fernando has written to the CIABOC Chairperson President’s Counsel and Supreme Court Judge (Retd.) Justice Eva Wanasundera in this regard.

Nirupama Rajapaksa – cousin of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa – and Nadesan have been named in the recent International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) Pandora Papers file leak. The documents allege that the couple were involved in shell companies (inactive companies used as vehicles for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity) located in tax havens, which in turn obtained lucrative consulting contracts from foreign companies doing business with the Government of Sri Lanka.

President Rajapaksa, on 6 October, instructed the CIABOC to launch an immediate investigation into the allegations against Sri Lankans implicated in the Pandora Papers files leak in connection with the transactions, including the maintenance of large cash deposits. Presidential Secretariat Legal Affairs Director General and Attorney-at-Law Harigupta Rohanadheera, in his letter to the CIABOC, has requested a report regarding the matter within a month from 6 October. However, neither Nirupama Rajapaksa nor Nadesan have been named in the letter.

The CIABOC will be summoning Nadesan to record a second statement today (15). Nadesan previously made a statement before the Commission on 7 October.