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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sri Lanka: Steel one coconut, you are imprisoned; Steel 100 firearms and 25,000 ammunitions & you go scot-free

Shock  revelations  has come in to light in Auditor  General’s latest report on ‘Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd – 2018/2019’.  It shoes that hundreds of millions of rupees  and  hundreds of firearms belongs the Defence Ministry ahs not been recovered or not been handed over by Avant Garde Maritime Services.

No action has been taken to recover the monies and firearms although authorities has taken to imprison people for trivial incidents like steeling a coconut.

According to the  report issued by the National Audit Office, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (Rakna Lanka Security Company) affiliated to the Ministry of Defense has not taken over 103 automatic and semi-automatic firearms and 28,789 rounds of ammunition that were handed over to Avant Garde Maritime Services after the termination of the agreement between those companies.

Screen shot from  the report

In other words Avant Garde Maritime Services has not returned More then 100 firearms and 25 thousand rounds of ammunitions to the defence ministry.

The head of Avant Garde Maritime Services, which is illegally holding firearms and ammunitions  is Nissanka Senadhipi, a close friend of Vajira Abeywardena, a strongman of the Ranil Rajapaksa government and chairperson of  president’s political party UNP .

Nissanka Senadhipathi  also a close political ally of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The business agreement between Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited  and Avant Garde Maritime Services Private Company ended on January 24, 2019.

The National Audit Office says that the weapons should should have been handed over again after the agreement come to an end.

In the meantime, the audit report also states that nearly 1,152 Million rupees due from the  the Avant Garde Maritime Services have not been collected for more than seven years by the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited.

Further 8 Million rupees due from the  the  Rangala and Galle floating arsenals belonging to Avant Garde Maritime Services too has not been recovered.

Screen shot from the report

It is also reported that information has been revealed to the audit departments that Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited  has not focused on establishing appropriate internal control systems for proper management and control of the income obtained from the provision of local and maritime security services.

Defence Ministry is responsible for these lapses.

Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited is a company established under the Ministry of Defense when Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the Defense Secretary. Retired soldiers were recruited.

Meanwhile, the audit report states that a procedure for hiring and promoting employees for the company has not been approved by the Public Enterprises Department.

This company was under the supervision of the current Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne. It worked closely with Nissanka Senadhipa’s Avant Garde Maritime Services.

Even though the Yaha Palana government of 2015-2019, promised to look for corruption in the Avangard company, the then Minister of Justice Tilak Marapana, who was close to the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, became the lawyer of Nissanka Senadhipati.
like Piyawardena.

It is in that context all cases filed against the Avant Garde Maritime Services  became a failure.

By Se. Piyawardene.


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