By Nirmala Kannangara.
CID files B report against Gamini Senarath at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court
Highly reliable sources at the CID who wished to remain anonymous told The Sunday Leader that the CID has filed a ‘B’ report in the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court against former president’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Senarath.
The Sunday Leader is in possession of the B report filed by the CID in courts under the Money Laundering Act No: 5 of 2006.
Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the former Chief of Staff has accumulated a vast amount of wealth within a short period of time!
Gamini Sedara Senarath is a Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) officer and has served as an Administrative Officer in many government departments prior to his appointment as Chairman in several government institutions including many state financial institutions during the Rajapaksa regime.
He was appointed former President’s Chief of Staff in 2009 and also worked as an additional Secretary to Rajapaksa before being appointed his Chief of Staff.
In the backdrop of his political affiliations with the former President, allegations have been levelled against Senarath of accumulating a vast sum of wealth during the Rajapaksa regime and a ‘B’ Report has now been filed (number B/25389/1/15/L/B) in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court against Senarath by the CID.
Being a public servant who has not inherited a considerable wealth, Senarath is now alleged to have wealth amounting to over Rs.700 million – movable and immovable properties owned by him and in his wife’s name Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Kumari Neetha Gunaratne and in his son’s name.
A legal luminary on conditions of anonymity told The Sunday Leader that Senarath has been accused of money laundering under Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act No: 5 of 2006. “According to the CID investigations, the huge amount of money that the Senarath family owns has now been revealed which is in their bank accounts and the value of the immovable properties belongs to them has also been revealed,” sources added.
Meanwhile, National Organizer of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe who lodged the complaint on March 26, 2015 to the CID against Senarath – the most trusted Chief of Staff of the former president – has also lodged a complaint against Senarath with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) seeking an investigation into alleged frauds committed by him.
He has also urged the IRD to probe whether Gamini Senerath was paying income tax.
“The reliable information I have received and the details that I have collected over time show very clearly that Senarath who was not born rich, has accrued a large amount of money and properties amounting to the tune of over seven hundred millions of rupees during a short period of time. I wanted the CID to investigate how Senarath, being a public servant, was able to buy properties in well residential areas in Colombo, its suburbs and in outstations from his monthly salary,” Warnasinghe said.
He further noted that when he lodged a complaint with the Inland Revenue Department, he wanted its Commissioner General Wasanthi Manchanayake to find out whether Senarath in fact was paying income tax or whether he has not declared his wealth and has defrauded the state whilst being the Chief of Staff of the former Executive President. Whilst thanking the Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Department for her quick action on his complaint, Warnasinghe said he was informed that Senarath had not declared his assets to the IRD and has not maintained a tax file. This means that the former Chief of Staff has not paid income tax and has deceived the Inland Revenue Department.
“This is yet another crime that Senarath has committed apart from money laundering. We then requested the IRD to look into how Senarath had earned money, whether it is by legal means adhering to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Inland Revenue Act No. 10 of 2006,” Warnasinghe claimed.
According to him, if the IRD finds out how Senarath has acquired the wealth it is their duty to impose taxes on him and fines for his failure to declare his assets to the state. “Had he accumulated this wealth through legal means, he would have certainly declared the assets to the IRD and paid the relevant income taxes. But his failure to do so is evident that he could not declare how he accumulated the wealth with his monthly income,” Warnasinghe alleged.
Meanwhile, Warnasinghe also accused Senarath of making money in large amounts from various groups and places including casino owners, Chinese nationals, the Temple Trees and from his involvement in a number of land and property scams. “The law enforcing authorities should now start investigations into how the high-ranking officials apart from the politicians made millions of rupees which belong to the tax payers. The government also should strengthen the relevant authorities by not interfering with actions they take against all culprits irrespective of their status or political affiliations. It should accelerate the action,” the JHU member added.
In his complaint, Wanasinghe has alleged that Senarath is having many properties in the highly residential areas in and out of Colombo.
“Now it is up to the CID and the Financial Crime Investigation Bureau (FCIB) to start investigating the details I have submitted. Between the period of September 25, 2013 and December 19, 2014 the money that has been earned in illegal means by Senarath has been transported in eleven vehicles according to the highly reliable information I have received. These vehicles are WP MI4680, 301-9651, WP KL1824, WP KP 5610, WP KH 3937, WP KU 4766, WP KM 1424, WP KY 1243, WP KU 5270, WP KN 9999 and WP KM 0522,” he said.
Warnasinghe further queried as to how Senarath was able to own nine properties which the CID has found out to be worth Rs. 352 million.
“According to the CID findings, the nine properties are worth Rs. 352 million. The CID has calculated this amount based on the values that the deed states. Generally, no one puts the exact value of the property in the deed as the buyer has to pay stamp duties to the value.
If the calculation has been done according to the values that the deeds mention, the exact value could be even more than that of the deeds,” the legal luminary told The Sunday Leader.
According to the sources, although the value of the properties is given as Rs. 352 million, the present value of these properties also has to be taken into consideration.
“Senarath may have purchased bare lands and later on developed them. So let the law enforcement authorities check the present value of the properties without confining to the value mentioned at the time of the properties were purchased,” he added. According to Warnasinghe, Senarath’s family also owns four companies – Print Excel (Pvt) Limited, Rathna Publishers and Printers, Rathna Publishers (Pvt) Limited and Rathna Metal Industries (Pvt) Limited.
Meanwhile, reliable sources at the CID on conditions of anonymity said the investigations team was able to find out details of the companies and said Print Excel (Pvt) Ltd has been registered with the Company Registrar under PV 65356, Rathna Publishers and Printers –PV1899, Rathna Publishers (Pvt) Ltd- PV76309 and Rathna Metal Industries (Pvt) Ltd – PVS 50272.
“According to the investigation findings, two of the companies are managed by Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Kumari Neetha Gunaratna – Gamini Senarath’s wife and another by his mother-in-law Malkanthi Gunaratne alias Kanthi Ranasinghe while another is operated by his wife, mother-in-law and the son. We have also found some of their bank accounts and the accounts of Senarath, his wife and son have Rs. 33.9 million,” sources confirmed.
They further said that when permission was sought by the CID from the Colombo Chief Magistrate to investigate the bank accounts, and details of the properties owned by the Senarath family by the CID, permissions were granted and now further investigations are in progress.
“The CID filed a ‘B’ Report in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court against Senarath under the Money Laundering Act No. 5 of 2006 and sought court permission to investigate bank accounts of the family members. On March 16 and 27, the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) questioned Senarath about the massive amounts of money misused at the People’s Leasing and Finance PLC that had taken place during Senerath’s tenure as the Chairman of the Peoples’ Bank and People’s Leasing and Finance PLC during the previous regime.
“On the request of the CID, Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya has granted permission to the CID on April 20 to investigate 81 bank accounts belong to Senerath and eight other relatives including his wife, mother-in-law and son. The Chief Magistrate also permitted the CID to investigate the bank accounts of Rathna Book Publishers (Pvt) Ltd., Rathna Publishers & Printers (Pvt) Ltd., Print Excel (Pvt) Ltd. and Rathna Metal Industries (Pvt) Ltd., which also belong to the Senarath family,” CID sources said.
“The CID is now checking all financial institutions in the country to find out the bank accounts of Senarath, his wife, son, mother-in-law and other relatives. We have now received the national identity card numbers of nine including Gamini Senarath’s which helps us track the accounts easily.
Gamini Senarath bears the NIC No 563552000V, his wife Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Kumari Neetha Gunaratne alias Kumari Neetha Senarath NIC 607593205V, Malkanthi Gunaratne alias Kanthi Ranasinghe NIC 377863887V, Shanil Surinda Sedara Senarath NIC 723273919V, Mahesh Mevul Sedara Senarath NIC920221084V, Damminda Sedara Senarath NIC512862780V, Sumana Sedara Senarath NIC590271608V, Sanjaya Sedara Senarath NIC 682190370V and Aruni Manjula Sedara Senarath NIC 686680860V. In addition we will be investigating whether they have obtained loans from banks and financial institutions in the country and planning to produce all the details to the court at the very earliest,” sources added.
It has further been revealed that Senarath owns nine properties at No:47/2, Gregory Road, Colombo 7; No:66, Badulla Road, Nuwara Eliya; No: 164/4, G.C. Perera Mawatha, Pore, Athurugiriya; No:962, Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla; No:30, Subadrarama Road, Nugegoda; No:462, Liyanwala, Padukka; No:125/4, Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla;No: 426, Athurugiriya Road, Hokandara North, Arangala and Bandagiri Village Holiday Resort. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr Harsha de Silva has lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption about the irregularities committed in the 43 storey five-star luxury hotel complex – the Hyatt Regency Hotel Project in Colombo which was also chaired by Senarath.
Meanwhile, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank have come under severe criticism for granting massive loans to politicians and their stooges without surety and channeling funds for political activities during the Rajapaksa regime. People’s Bank, which was once Chaired by Senarath, have now come under close scrutiny. All attempts to contact Gamini Senarath on his residential land line for a comment failed. Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara confirmed that the CID is continuing further investigations and added that the CID is to consult the Attorney General for his opinion before going to take legal action against Senarath.
“The CID is not willing to divulge the investigation details as it has become a yeoman task for them to obtain details on all bank accounts of the Senarath family. But it is confirmed that the investigation process is carrying out without any hindrance,” SP Gunasekara said.