Finance minister Ravi Karunanayake and a group of UNP backbenchers have asked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately investigate as to whether money had been given to the LTTE to change the public opinion in the northern province at the 2005 presidential election, where Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe were involved in a tight contest.
At that election, Rajapaksa won with a majority of only 186,000 votes.
Nearly 300,000 voters in Jaffna, Wanni and the eastern province abstained as a result of the LTTE’s boycott call.
This has had a decisive impact on the election outcome, and had the voters been allowed to vote in freedom, the final result would have changed.
The late MP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi revealed in parliament on 21 July 2007 that the Rajapaksa side gave money to the LTTE in order to change the election result.
Sooriyarachchi said he, together with Basil Rajapaksa, met LTTE representatives before the election and Rs. 200 million was given and after the election, billions of rupees more was given through various means.
The RADA housing project too, was one of those means, he revealed (utube has the video of his statement – Sripathy reveals money transactions with LTTE –
Later, ‘Mawbima’ newspaper owner, ex-MP Tiran Alles, revealed this deal, with an exposure of the persons involved, at the media conference he held at his home soon after it was targeted in a bomb attack (utube has the video of the statement – Mahinda Rajapaksa gave money to LTTE – Tiran.
Representing the LTTE in this deal was its campaign chief Emil Kanthan, who had once been the business partner of Alles. It was the two of them who had expanded Dialog’s services to northern province in 2002.
The preliminary discussion on giving money to the LTTE took place at the Rosmead Place office of Alles. It was attended by Basil, Emil Kanthan, former secretary to the president Lalith Weeratunga and Alles.
After the discussions in November 2005, a sum of Rs. 180 million had been exchanged in order to build trust between the two parties. The money was brought in large travelling bags and Basil gave them to Emil Kanthan in front of him, said Alles.
Later, Wijedasa Rajapaksa revealed that Rs. 784 million had been given before the presidential election.
This money was given from the millions of dollars received through the Singapore embassy for Rajapaksa’s campaign after being changed into rupees. The money was brought by a powerful minister of the government at the time and the head of a business establishment.
No LTTE connection
However, LTTE diaspora representatives who met two leading ministers of the government in London recently said the LTTE did not get that money.
They had pointed out that the election boycott was due to a political decision taken in order to defeat Wickremesinghe, as he had been trying to break the LTTE into two at the time.
This revelation raises the question as to who had received the money then.
Therefore, Karunanayake has pointed out the need to find out exactly as to what had happened to the money, adding that he is in the possession of several evidence in that regard.
The business establishment head and Emil Kanthan, who is now in Dubai, are reportedly ready to reveal as to whom the money had gone if an investigation is conducted.
Also, one of the partners in this deal had received a big financial gratification from a foreign spy service, which had been invested in a media institution.
(Sathhanda – Subhash Jayawardena)