Buddika Pathiran, MP.
“These misdeeds were probed before. But nothing has been done so far against the culprits. The Colonel who had been accused of soliciting and engaging in sexual abuses is about to be promoted to the rank of brigadier. When we exposed the misdeeds that had taken place with the Army food tender, we were accused of insulting the military. But, due to our efforts to expose these frauds and corruptions, the Army has saved a lot of money. The money so saved can be used for welfare activities of disabled soldiers and the families of war heroes. However, the alleged corrupt officers are still in active service. The officer who had allegedly solicited sexual bribes has also committed financial frauds. We hope that the present Head of the Military Police Brigadier Gamini Sirisena would hold an inquiry into this matter. We would like to know why no steps have been taken regarding the reports on these incidents that have already been submitted to the relevant superiors of the military police.
“All these misdeeds were done during the previous regime. When we talk about these allegations, we are sent before the CID. The Rajapaksa government had engaged in massive fraud and corruption according to their own whims and fancies. Today we have been accused of protecting these thieves. We have only exposed some of these wrongdoings and here we do not intend to insult anyone. We intend to send the Hansard report to the Defence Ministry and to request the Defence Secretary to appoint an independent committee to inquire into these allegations.”
The report submitted by the MP Biddika Pathirana:
During recent times, the Bribery Commission received a large number of files on allegations of frauds and corruptions from every corner of the country. In addition to them, the Sri Lanka Army is also carrying out an internal investigation into alleged incidents of sexual bribes and frauds within the Military Police Force. United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana recently had tabled the report on these allegations. Already, several allegedly ‘corrupt’ military officers have been revealed.
According to investigation reports, the Colonel who has been accused of sexual abuses serves at the 55th regiment. Reports show that in certain instances the husbands of the women subjected to sexual abuses knew what was going on. Furthermore, it is on the grapevine that several female officers had also been subjected to sexual abuse by this officer.
Investigations have further revealed that the officer on one occasion had summoned a female Lance Corporal attached to the dancing group of the military police and had allegedly made inappropriate sexual advances.
However, the incident was not recorded. The same female officer had been working at the
special investigations division, and once this officer had refused to grant her a short leave to attend to her mother who had been hospitalised at the time. Later on, when she was finally granted leave, the officer has recorded that she was absent without getting approval from her superiors.
This Colonel had also induced another wife of a fellow officer to engage in sexual activities with him and had allegedly recruited her as his office maid. In return, he had allegedly provided this female Lance Corporal with transport facilities even for her personal matters as well.
Investigations have further revealed that the Lance Corporal had been employed as an office assistant when the accused officer had been working as the commanding officer at the Giritale Army camp.
Once, interestingly enough, a separate Corporal had been appointed to take care of that particular female officer’s needs. According to inside sources, in many occasions, fuel had been obtained from the Army Supplies and used for this officer’s personal ‘voyages’ and recorded that the fuel was pumped to the vehicles that were deployed in capturing deserters. Apart from these allegations, the Colonel had also been accused of inducing the wife of an Army Major, who is a school teacher, to engage in adultery, allegedly after overly intoxicating her husband.
As things starts to unfold, it has been further revealed that the Colonel had also deposited Rs. 1.5 million at the Seylan Bank, Matara, in an account of the female Lance Corporal. The above incident had been proved with several photocopies of her account statements and her written submissions. It has also been revealed that during the interviews, this Colonel had allegedly given prominence to candidates who would submit to his needs not considering their academic and other qualifications. Investigations have uncovered that he had specifically focused on recruiting attractive female candidates from vulnerable backgrounds.
It is also alleged that the previous head of the Military Police had disciplinary charges filed against him as well. When he was serving at the Jaffna Defense HQ, he had allegedly misused funds allocated for soldiers’ rations.
However, after being exposed, he had been removed from his position and had been placed at a junior position. Further, using an Army lorry, he had allegedly transported a cow for his wife’s religious rituals. He had also allegedly maintained two unauthorized savings accounts for deposits of interest from his fixed deposits of the Army. The officer had failed to declare the way he got over Rs. 1 million in his account because of lack of auditing in the force. According to the sources, the Colonel is on the verge of being promoted to the rank of Brigadier. But no action has been taken against this officer even after the revelations made by the investigations into his affairs. The Colonel had reportedly supported one of the female officers and engaged in adultery with her by recommending her for a job providing her with a certificate claiming that she had held a similar position in the Army, at the National Youth Corps as a drill instructor after her retirement from military service. Some time back, the incident where an unmarried female Military Police Officer getting pregnant by yet another officer at the military police became a popular topic. The accusation was made against an Army Major, who was reportedly a henchman of the then head of Military Police. At the end, the Army’s response to the incident was confined only to the removal of the major from his position and the transfer of the Colonel involved in the incident. Among other allegations, it has also been revealed that several ‘corrupt’ officers in the Military police had fraudulently embezzled the money and jewelry that soldiers had recovered during the war time in the north and had allegedly purchased lands. In one instance, the wife of one army officer had allegedly handed over Rs. 4.9 million to these officers.
Furthermore, several officers had allegedly obtained loans neglecting the guidelines issued by the Army headquarters. Once, one officer had allegedly obtained a loan by putting up a fixed deposit under the Army as collateral for the loan. On a similar note, the sale of an unauthorized DVD on a particular regiment had also been directed to the authorities’ attention. Apart from these allegations, various instances of collecting money from private institutions and personnel for various activities had been observed by the audit inquiries. These allegations have been proved with adequate evidence.
According to military regulations, collecting funds from outside institutions and individuals without prior authorization of the Army Headquarters is strictly prohibited. However, no written permission had been issued by the Army HQ to the officers to collect money from the regiment headquarters or from commanding officers of the particular divisions. But, the reports show these facts of wrongdoings in detail. It had also been observed that the report had been allegedly approved by the commanding officer of the Special Inquiries Division. However, these findings had been allegedly confirmed by the Acting Internal Audit Director for further action stamping his signature on the report.
The victims of these numerous allegations reportedly have lodged complaints at the Bribery Commission. In the near future, more of similar misdeeds of the Military Police high level personnel would be brought to light, it is believed.
(Original report was published in the Sunday Leader by Ashanthi Warunasuriya.)