It has been revealed that Shashi Weerawansa alias Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirsha Udayanthi had spent nearly Rs. 8.2 million to purchase four plots of land to her name from Alubogahawatte/ Delgahawatte. Some plots of land in the area is said to have been gifted by Shashi’s sister, Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Chamari Sulochana Ranasinghe.
The Weerawansas owned only a four-perch land at Mawaramandiya, Kadawata where they ran a communication center for their day-to-day expenses, prior to Wimal Weerawansa’s defection from the JVP to ‘strengthen’ the hands of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2008.
While being a member of the JVP, Weerawansa’s monthly remuneration had to be contributed to the party’s common fund and their sole income was what they earned from the communication center.
It was only after he joined the then government that he was able to save his MP’s salary and later in year 2000, after becoming a Minister, the ministerial salary.
“Even if he had saved his entire salary as an MP and later as a Minister without any personal expenses, he cannot acquire such a wealth to purchase lands and to get palatial residences built therein. When his wife was only a house wife, how did she get money to purchase lands? Did she get it from the husband or from some other ‘sources’ which she cannot disclose? ” a JVP Provincial Councilor questioned.
According to legal documents this newspaper is in possession, a 40-perch land from Alubogahawatte/ Delgahawatte, which was purchased on June 13, 2008 (Deed No: 15385) by Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Chamari Sulochana Ranasinghe (NIC 698550350 V) which is valued as Rs.3.5 million, has been gifted to her sister Shashi Weerawansa two months after the purchase.
“In order to avoid money laundering allegations, this is one of the tactics Weerawansas’ followed. As a lawyer and a person known to Weerawansa and his wife’s families over the past few decades, I am surprised as to how Chamari Ranasinghe got money to purchase a land for Rs.3.5 million from Hokandara and then to give it to her sister as a ‘gift’ within two months,” an Attorney-at-law, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Sunday Leader.
According to Deed No. 15578, from which Shashi Weerawansa got the gift, Lot ‘A’ (which is an amalgamation of lot numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4) of the Alubogahawatte/ Delgahawatte land, had been purchased by Chamari Sulochana Ranasinghe of 67/2 A, Morawatte Road, Nagoda, Kandana on June 13, 2008 and had gifted the same to her sister within two months – on August 14, 2008. Both deeds No: 15385 and 15578 had been made by Attorney at law Kaduruwana Gnanasiri of 834/3, Kaduwela Road, Malabe.
Later, Shashi Weerawansa on July 15, 2011 had purchased another two plots (lot numbers 6 and 8) from the same land for Rs.1 million. These two plots of land had been bought over from Kanankege Hemasiri Wickremaratne of 852/48, Susitha Road, Malabe under deed number 10738 made by Attorney at law Kaduruwana Gnanasiri. The extent of Lot number ‘6’ of this land is 9.15 perches and Lot number ‘8’ is 8.5 perches.
On August 10, 2012 Shashi Weerawansa had once again purchased Lot number ‘9’ which is an extent of 8.5 perches from Senarath Muhandiramlage Charitha Disala for Rs. 1.8 million and the same was sold on January 27, 2015 to Nandika Pathirage of Kospolawatte, Horana for Rs. 2 million soon after the fall of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.
It is alleged that Weerawansas’ had got two mansions built on these lands situated at Mangala Mawatha, Hokandara South which is worth more than 100 million and the constructions work had started in 2009.
Former Mayor of Kaduwela, G. H. Buddhadasa revealed to this newspaper on an earlier occasion that it was he who approved Weerawansa’s house plan in 2009, but added that Weerawansa bypassed the Municipal Council regulations and got the house plan changed to their requirements and constructed the house.
When asked under whose name the building plan was passed, Buddhadasa said that he cannot recall the details but added that he can remember the plan that was passed from the Kaduwela MC was not exceeding 5,000 square feet, but his officers who did periodical inspections have brought to his notice that the floor area of the house has exceeded more than 7,000 square feet.
According to him, the ground floor consisted of two bedrooms with attached toilets, three verandahs, a large hall, dining room, laundry and storeroom, a large garage, servant quarters, toilets and a pantry while the second floor consists of three bedrooms with attached toilets and large balconies, a large hall, pantry and a dining room.
Meanwhile Shashi Weerawansa has also been accused of using her husband’s political influence to purchase lands adjoining the 40-perch land she got as a ‘gift’ from her sister in August 2008.
“She has paid a pittance to purchase these plots of lands. According to the residents in the neighbourhood, she had obtained these plots of land forcibly using her husband’s ‘powers’ in the Rajapaksa administration,” a former UPFA member of the Kaduwela Municipal Council said.
The law enforcement authorities have been accused of failing to take action against the renegade Marxist politician and his wife.
“Despite having all documents to prove how much wealth the Weerawansas have accumulated within a short period since 2008, it is disheartening to note why they have so far not been charged under the Money Laundering Act. Both husband and wife, who have violated emigration and immigration laws, are under investigation but not on how they earned money to become a super rich family,” the JVP sources said.
Meanwhile, questions have also been raised as to how Shashi Weerawansa started her own garment factory – Randunu Fabrics (Pvt.) Ltd. in Malwana, Biyagama although she denied claims of its ownership. The Sunday Leader is in possession of the Registrar of Company document to prove her involvement in the garment business. It was last year that the Board of Investment (BOI) suspended the project operation license of Randunu Fabrics (Pvt.) Ltd. for violating the BOI agreement conditions.
Randunu Fabrics of No. 617, Walgama, Malwana, Biyagama on April 23, 2009 entered into an agreement with the BOI to set up a project under the export oriented category to export off cuts purchased from apparel industries.
The investigations revealed how the project, which was to export all the off cuts they purchase have not been exported and had violated the agreement by not operating the project at the approved location but in another location.
Although the approved location for the project was at No: 617, Walgama, Malwana the project had been operated at No: 519/ 7, Walgama Road, Malwana and another business – a travelling, clearing and forwarding company has been set up against the agreement.
“The application to set up aproject under the export oriented category to export waste fabric had been submitted to the BOI on February 18, 2009 and the approval had been granted the same day by the then Chairman Dhammika Perera although the BOI board approval has to be given only after an agreement is signed but never before. Although the approval was granted on February 18, 2009, the agreement had been signed on April 23, 2009 under Section 17 of the BOI Law No. 4 of 1978 subject to BOI terms and conditions. The project was to invest US$ 250,000 or its equivalent in Sri Lankan rupees, which was Rs. 28.5 million, within a period of two years from the date of the Agreement. But however as at March 31, 2011 Randunu Fabrics had invested only US$ 5,637 as at March 31, 2011,” sources claimed.
Sources further accused the then BOI management for giving BOI status for Randunu Fabrics that did not bring any expected foreign exchange to the country,
“According to records, this project had employed less than 40 employees. From purchasing the off cuts from apparel companies, what are the value additions they have done before exporting the cut pieces? The BOI has signed the agreement with this investor under Section 17 of the BOI Act. All agreements signed under this Section get duty free concessions. Compared to the agreements the BOI signs, this is a negligible investment with less than 40 employees and no value addition to the final product. If another party came to obtain the BOI status for a similar project, they would certainly have rejected the application but since the husband of the applicant was a close associate of the then President, without any hesitation the approval had been granted two months before the agreement was signed between the two parties,” sources alleged.
The Sunday Leader is in possession of the summary report of purchase and exports of Randunu Fabrics from July 1, 2009 to March 31, 2015 which shows how much waste fabric (off cuts) Weerawansas’ had purchased and how much they had exported.
According to the summary report, Randunu Fabrics had purchased 6.879 million kg. of off cuts during the said period from BOI enterprises while another 2.613 million kilos had been purchased from other places, amounting to 9.492 million kilos in total. According to Clause 7 (ii) of the agreement they entered into with the BOI, the enterprise shall export the entirety of what they purchase. However, the summary report data shows that from July 2009 to March 2015, Randunu Fabrics had exported only 8.636 million kilos. Questions remain on what happened to the remaining 700,386 kilos?
“This shows that Randunu Fabrics had sold the off cuts they had obtained to the local market defrauding Customs duty,” sources added.