Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to the Ukraine to be branded ‘fugitive’

China_catch_me_if_you_canSri Lanka’s former Ambassador to the Ukraine, Udayanga Weeratunga, is to be declared a fugitive shortly as his whereabouts remain unknown. Two countries, Sri Lanka and Ukraine, are trailing him for alleged arms deals and threatening national security by collaborating with rebel forces.

Mid week, a senior Foreign Ministry official, accompanied by a small police team is scheduled to visit Ukraine to hold discussions with Ukraine’s Public Prosecutor and others to study the possibility of apprehending Weeratunga, who has remained at large since the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government was defeated on January 9.

Assistance has already been sought from the International Police (Interpol) to ascertain the whereabouts of the fugitive former envoy, in a bid to commence a legal process against him.

Weeratunga is also wanted by the Ukrainian authorities for alleged collaborations with a pro-Russia rebel group operating in Ukraine and the supply of arms. The Ukrainian Government has made two complaints against the island’s former envoy, who has allegedly procured weapons on behalf of a Ukrainian separatist group.

His services were terminated by Colombo, upon receiving two complaints by the Ukrainian Government subsequent to which, the former Ambassador also went missing, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Ajith B. Perera, said.

Weeratunga’s name was strongly linked to the controversial MiG 27 fighter aircraft deal in 2006, sealed through a highly questionable process without calling for tenders and in volition of Air Force procurement procedures, by working through a dubious London-based company named, Bellimissa Holdings.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has received packages belonging to Weeratunga, without indicating any person having his power of attorney.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the Colombo- based media last week the Ministry has not released the packages, in the absence of an appointed authority. “He (Weeratunga) has appeared in Tehran out of all places with a request to have Colombo release his luggage,” Samaraweera said.

“The fact that he (Weeratunga) has gone missing and cannot be traced in any manner alone indicates that he is acting in bad faith. Former envoys who were political appointees have been recalled. After two complaints were received by the Sri Lanka Government, Sri Lanka wanted him to return, but there is no trace of him a sign of serious guilt,” Minister Perera added.