Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, speaking yesterday at the 71st General Convention of the UNP at Campbell Park made startling revelations regarding the brutal assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge whose 9th death anniversary falls today.
Lasantha Wickrematunge, Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Leader, a correspondent for TIME Magazine and an outspoken critic of the government was ambushed and assassinated at the Attidiya junction on the morning of January 8th 2009, while driving himself to work.
“Lasantha was privy to confidential information emanating from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ukranian government,” Minister Senaratne stated. “Lasantha knew of the extent of corruption and went on to publish an article on it, but couldn’t prove his claims later at a court case.”
The Minister added that the then government engineered a scheme to enter into a second MoU. “By this time, Lasantha gathered much more information and intended to publish an article. The government got to know and felt it would be better if they got rid of him before tabling the second MoU.”
Minister Senaratne said that the investigations were ongoing and that that he was confident of the Police bringing the culprits to book. In 2016, a military intelligence officer was arrested for abducting Wickematunge’s driver and intimidating him against implicating former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the assassination. Wickrematunge’s body was exhumed in September 2016, and it was revealed in courts that Lasantha died from a blunt blow to the head, and that the cause of death certificate initially submitted to court by then Judicial Medical Officer Dr. K. Sunil Kumara contained false and misleading statements.