By Mohamed Haniff
Two journalists had been in the payroll of the controversial enterprise Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS), a vociferous award-winning actor, film director and politician disclosed to “The Island” yesterday.
“They had been paid rupees sixty thousand each, monthly,”
Ranjan Ramanayake, Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare said.
The Deputy Minister quoted Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe as having told him, in lighter vein ; “I’m surprised why they did the shopping for Nissanka Senadhipathy for such a measly sum.”
The fifty two – year-old Ramanayake said there was around 300 outsiders who allegedly received payments from Senadhipathy and the full list is with the Prime Minister and JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
Asked whether there were no threats to his life from the government, opposition or other interested parties following his exposures of corruption, Ramanayake , who was voted “Most Popular Actor” for fifteen years, said “no.” Even President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Wickramasinghe have never uttered a word discouraging him in his endeavours at crushing illegal acts, he said.
However, Ramanayake said there were Members of Parliament who praise him personally for the exposures, but avoided doing so in public. “They come to my official residence in Madiwela secretly and say “machang” you have done a great job, but avoid meeting me or speaking to me in public.”
“The Island” in it’s lead story yesterday stated that Ministers Rajitha Senarathne, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Arjuna Ranatunga had requested the IGP to conduct a probe into allegations that they had launched a campaign against AGMS because of it’s proprietor’s refusal to pay them.
The Minister said that the AGMS case is “not over,” but has “just started to surface.”
“I will fight until the real culprits of the AGMS case are brought before the law,” Ramanayake, referred to as Sri Lanka’s “Super Star” in the film industry, added.