COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has ordered investigations into the shady deals of the Ministry of Defense under the stewardship of the former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, one of the brothers of defeated Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Stating this at a media briefing here on Wednesday, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that the discovery of huge caches of sophisticated arms and ammo from a vessel in Galle and at a conference center in Colombo, has revealed that the Ministry of Defense under Gotabaya Rajapaksa may have been involved in unlawful and questionable dealings with a political dimension.
The Military Spokesman said that the vessel and the arms belong to a Lankan Defense Ministry-owned sea security firm Rakna Lanka Ltf (RALL) involved in anti-piracy operations on the East African coast. The firm is not involved in any unlawful activity on land in Sri Lanka, he added. But the Maithripala Sirisena regime suspects that the weapons might have been used for rigging the hard-fought January 8 Presidential election.
Spokesman Senaratne pointed out that RALL had been subcontracting its job to smaller security companies in Sri Lanka, which it was not supposed to do.
Meanwhile, the Police spokesman, Ajith Rohana, said that the number of weapons actually found on the ship and at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo did not tally with the numbers stated in the books of the company. Officials of the company said that they had been issued out. Police are seeking details as to which other parties are involved and as to whether all the weapons are licensed.
TV programs showed foreign men moving about in Galle harbor with arms, when the law says that the arms given to the company cannot be brought to land without express permission.
Senaratne further said that the Defense Secretary should not have put the money his Ministry had earned from the sale of one its properties in Colombo, into a bank account operated by the Ministry. The money should have been credited to the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka and withdrawn as and when necessary. What had been done was an irregularity raising several questions, he said.