JVP will not settle with Mahinda or Ranil
By Anuradha Herath
Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the JVP has nothing to get from this Government, and went on to say, "The JVP is not a party that settles either with Mahinda or Ranil, and we know very well what all of these people have done for the people of this country and especially what they did to us. No one needs to poke us and point those to us."
Excerpts of the interview:
What are your Party's preparations for the Local Government Elections?
A: The upcoming LG Elections are going to be very decisive. This is the first election that is being held after this Government came to power. At the same time, this Election is being held at the rural level and it is very important for our party that we lay a strong foundation at the rural level. As at now, we are in the process of preparing candidate lists for the constituencies and strengthening the 'Diriya Puarawesi Samithis'. We have also started a programme to raise awareness among the people regarding the new electoral system, also to get the maximum advantage from it. We are in the process of obtaining views of the people and exchanging ideas about problems in LG institutions and to find methodologies to solve these problems.
There is an accusation, that, considering the attacks you made on the Rajapaksa Government regarding frauds and corruption, and you are only making mere grumbling noises against the present Government?
A: For any accusation, there is an author, and in this, it is the Rajapaksa group. It is we who aimed the first and most powerful attack against every fraud, corruption and waste accusation against the present Government, and attempts are being made by others to claim those revelations as their own. We revealed the Treasury Bonds issue, the expressway deals, the Prado vehicle tax fraud, the Air Lanka deal, misappropriations in the construction of houses in the North, the tender fraud regarding coal, fraud in petroleum purchases, and other frauds such as the rent issue for the Ministry of Agriculture premises, vehicles purchased for the President and Prime Minister, and the attempt to import vehicles for Government Parliamentarians, all such wastage was exposed by us. However, during each one of those we continuously remind everyone of the fraud, corruption and waste of the previous administration and do not let those be suppressed either. That is why most people cannot bear JVP activities and the reason for saying we are not making enough of an issue and are only grumbling.
The biggest allegation against this Government was on the Treasury Bond issue and much has been revealed at the Commission, what do you think will happen in time to come?
A: The biggest transaction of this Government and the most controversial is the Treasury Bond fraud. However, this theft should not be allowed to suppress other thefts. As at now much has been revealed and is being revealed at the Presidential Commission on the Bond issue. If you consider the United National Party, its Chairman, General Secretary and the Deputy Leader have been summoned to the Commission. They are powerful figures in Government. Former Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of State Enterprises Kabir Hashim and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema hold responsible ministerial posts. The UNP as a Party and the Unity Government have been made speechless due to the gravity of the revelations. The PM should be compulsorily summoned to the Commission or he should voluntarily go before the Commission and submit facts.
Previously, too, you have accused this Government of frauds and thefts, were you just appealing to popularity and playing to the gallery?
A: Neither me nor anyone in our Party will accuse the Government, or any individual without facts. Even if there is a suspicion or a doubt of a fraud, until we verify the veracity of the information, and we don't make statements. So, I have made statements about frauds that have been confirmed also we have more information on thefts which are yet to be confirmed. The principal charge against the Rajapaksa Government, too, was frauds during the construction of expressways and those that are happening now are not second to those. Tenders were called for a contract valued at Rs. 135,000 million for the third phase of the Central Expressway from Potuhera to Galagedera for a distance of 32.5 kilometres. The tender was awarded to a company which was rejected when they partnered with another company and the construction cost of one kilometre of this expressway was Rs. 4,150 million. The same people who said that the Rajapaksas' constructed expressways out of gold are doing the very same thing.
What are the other frauds?
A: The Air Lanka transaction is no second to that. The previous Rajapaksa administration had signed an agreement to purchase four A350 aircraft. That is a very costly purchase. It is a transaction that cannot be borne by either the AirLanka Company or even the country. Now, what did they do to annul the agreement? They paid 115 million dollars. They did not stop at that but agreed to buy one aircraft on a long lease, and have also agreed to extend the lease of an existing aircraft agreement by another 10 years.
The authority to make these decisions has not been given to AirLanka. These have happened via exchange of SMS between powerful persons. Aren't these frauds? These two parties charge commission even on signing agreements and even when those agreements are being cancelled.
More than four months have elapsed since formal tenders were called for the purchase of fuel for the Petroleum Corporation, however, without submitting these to Cabinet, purchases have been made on four instances stating it is for emergency requirements. There have been massive losses on these emergency purchases, which have been made outside the tender procedure. These are underhand deals. The Minister of Rehabilitation selected a friend's company to build 60,000 houses at Rs.2.3 million per house, in the war afflicted Northern areas. The houses were found to be unsuitable for the extremely warm climate of the Northern Province and even the NPC rejected them. After we revealed these transactions in Parliament, the number of houses to be built has been reduced. Aren't these frauds? This is a Government that engages in tax frauds when Prado vehicles are released, when Coal Tenders are called for and in this Govt. when dairy cows are being distributed ministers even take those.
You have said powerful figures in Government are also involved, in the recent Cyber attack on a foreign bank, what are the reasons for saying that?
A: Our country is being internationally disgraced, by the cyber attack on the Taiwanese Bank, cannot be prevented. Such incidents cast a huge black mark on the financial sector of Sri Lanka. The individual who has been arrested as a suspect in these incidents is the Chairman of Litro Gas which is a Government–owned company. He is the Chairman of the Party with the Swan Symbol.Such a large amount of money coming into a bank in Sri Lanka and someone trying to take out that money does not occur in an isolated manner. If an individual goes to a bank to withdraw 10.9 million rupees or even deposit it, the bank will surely question that person. How could such an amount of money have been released under such circumstances? There would definitely have been a political intervention for that. That individual is a British citizen. He is a close friend of Ravi's, and he was appointed to the post of Chairman of the Litro Gas Company by Ravi Karunanayake. If a solid investigation is carried out into that transaction, everything will be revealed. We are asking the Government to launch a formal investigation into this.
You are making such accusations against the Government which you helped establish?
A: It is a completely wrong opinion. Several fronts are conveying this message to the public. We know very well who the authors are. This Government is in existence because of the parliamentary majority, the United National Party has 106 seats. However, there are 150 Government Parliamentarians. Who are the other Parliamentarians? They are not JVP Parliamentarians. If we consider the past, during the General Election, Maithri was both the SLFP leader and the UPFA leader. In the Government that was established the President was Maithri and the Prime Minister was Ranil. It was the front under the leadership of Maithri that Mahinda Rajapaksa, Wimal, Gammanpila, Vasu contested. Subsequent to that General Election, it was obvious to any baby that Maithri and Ranil would get together and establish a Unity Government. If that was not understood, they would have to be infants! We repeatedly said this on political platforms. Somehow, they crept into Parliament and under Maithri's leadership contested the election. That is the truth. Later some joined the Government and some others stayed outside. Government is being run by them. Therefore this is not a Government that we helped to establish.
Even though you say that, when Amendments to the LG Bill was being passed you voted with the Government. So is it not justified to say that you are protecting this Government?
A: We have voted against Bills in Parliament and also voted in favour. At the same time, we have expressed our opposition to those that are against the public good. That is how any Party works in Parliament. We voted in favour of establishing the Missing Persons Commission. We voted in favour of changing the Local Government Elections and to change the Provincial Council elections. That is because we are in agreement, policywise on those issues. At the same time, we have voted against the Government as in the instance of the No-Confidence Motion against Ravi, the Inland Revenue Act, and on Budget proposals on many occasions. Those too were done based on Party policy.
We voted in favour of the recent Provincial Council Bill, for a new electoral system: which will remove the Preferential System; where there will be a Parliamentarian for each constituency; where all elections will have equal importance; which will protect the parallel rate; which will increase women's representation in a new electoral system. We are in agreement with that. However, in that elections of three Provincial Councils will go back. With extreme planning we brought the LG Elections forward. The reason is, as this is the first election this Government will face as a government, it should be one that is held island wide. If it was an election only for three provinces this Government would have used all their powers and distorted the election. We do not make decisions according to what either Mahinda or Ranil wants, but according to our policies.
Whatever you say, it is being said that you have deals with the Government?
A: What is our gain in striking deals with the Government? We have nothing to gain by safeguarding it. The JVP is not a party that settles either on Mahinda's or Ranil's laps. We know very well what all of these people did for the people of this country and especially what they did to us. No one needs to poke us and tell us that. However, who does the actual deals? Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Pelpita were sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment and fined. However, in two weeks they get bail. Namal's secretary was avoiding the law and when she was nabbed and produced in Court she was granted bail, in one day. Those in the Attorney General's Department are like the mute who have also lost their wits on consuming some concoction.
Do these things just happen? Shiranthi Rajapaksa did not go to the FCID but the FCID visited her to obtain statements. When Basil was remanded he tied a bandage round his stomach and entered the Colombo National Hospital. Wimal was arrested at the Airport because of a false passport. However, by the next morning he has a new passport and leaves the country. These are the actual deals. Therefore most people are outside on Ranil's bail. While they engage in deals, they sling mud at the JVP saying deals.
Expect crossovers in droves when elections are announced We want to take an anti-UNP struggle forward
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