Former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake arrived at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry this morning.
When questioned about the Monarch Residency apartment, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ravi Karunanayake said he and his family had moved into the apartment because their home in Battaramulla, was under repair and that he was not involved in selecting the apartment.
It was stated that until late 2016, the minister did not know that his wife had inspected the apartment with Arjun Aloysius and that the lease was between the owner and Walt & Row Associates (pvt) Ltd. (A PTL company).
Ravi Karunanayake said he was only told about the amount of the rent when they were moving into the apartment.
Karunanayake’s family members Company GTL, had made payments to the accountant of Walt & Row Associates (pvt) Ltd – but the minister was not aware of that.
Ravi Karunanayake was not aware that Arjun Aloysius had negotiated the lease with the owner and paid the rent and wasn’t even aware that the non-refundable deposit was used for their stay.
Speaking on the purchase of the apartment, Karunanayake said the negotiating and purchasing was done by Global Transportation and Logistics, and he was informed of this by his family later on.
Karunanayake said the area of the apartment is 1,900 square feet, but the Commission pointed out the lease agreement shows that the area is infact 4,000 square feet.
At one point, the Commission said if the minister cannot identify 4,000 square feet, it is a good thing that he is not the Finance Minister.
He claimed that the purchase repayments were paid for by the family.
The Commission pointed out that the cash brought in by Chairman of GTL Lakshmikanthan was not entered into the books of the company.
When asked whether his family was not aware that the business of Perpetual Capital Holdings, Perpetual Treasuries and their distillery were under the scope of a Finance Minister, he said the family was not aware of those concerns.
The Commission asked the minister: “Do you seriously want us to believe that your family did not tell you there was no lease agreement?” The minister replied it was all done by the family.
Later, when questioned about the undated letter produced to the Commission by Mahendran’s lawyers, Ravi Karunanyake said he sent it in mid 2016 at the request of Arjuna Mahendran to justify the discussion of the breakfast meeting on 26th of February 2015.
Mahendran had requested it because there was an inquiry into the bond transaction.
As for not mentioning the date, Minister Karunanayake said it was an ‘oversight’.
When asked on the cash requirement, Karunanayake said there was a need to pay the unaccounted debt.
But the AG’s Department pointed out that many witnesses from the Treasury and Treasury Operations Department have given statements that they knew nothing about the cash requirement for early 2015.
There was a point where AG’s Department said there is a limit to lying – with Ravi Karunanayake looking annoyed at that remark.
Text messages extracted from Arjun Aloysius’ mobile phone were presented to the Commission for the first time ever.
It is for the first time that information extracted by an expert from the Forensics Laboratory of the CID were moved beyond the custody of the CID and the Attorney General’s Department.
One text message was from a person called Ruwan Gallage. It refers to a payment of three million rupees promised by Arjun Aloysius six weeks ago. It says that “Leader employees refuse to work and you promised to release funds six weeks ago.”
Another is from a person called Neil De Silva,where it refers to a default payment of a loan from the Bank of Ceylon. The lawyer for the Bank said she will go to courts as the deadline has been passed.
A text from Arjun Aloysius’ Executive Secretary refers to a reminder on requesting to obtain Monetary Board minutes from the Prime Minister and Ravi Karunanayake.
Another text from Steve Samuel refered to a name Anjali. Karunanayake said he is not aware of who Anjali is.
Later on he testified he was aware of the marriage between Arjun Aloysius and the daughter of Arjuna Mahendran – wh6o’s name is also Anjali.
A deleted text message recovered from Arjun Aloysius’ mobile phone said ‘social media is a powerful weapon’.
Another text refers to a person hired by one named Kasun to their radio. The sender shows concern about Kapila Prasanna who was hired and says it is not good for Arjun Aloysius, Perpetual Treasuries Limited and Ravi Karunanayake.
Speaking on his overseas travel, Ravi Karunanayake said he only met Arjun Aloysius in Singapore when attending the Finance Asia Summit.
However, the AG’s department pointed out that several flights of both Aloysius and Karunanayake had conincided in some occassions.
The Commission said it will consider the evidence given by Minister Ravi Karunanayake.