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September 24, 2017 [GMT]
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Gota says he never approved dismantling of KKS cement factory
[Monday 2017-07-17 18:00]

Former Defence Secretary Gotabahya Rajapaksa has stated that he never approved the dismantling of the Kankesanturai (KKS) Cement Factory and cement company and sale of its machinery and equipment as scrap iron. He had also not seen any document granting approval for it signed by him either.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had stated this in an affidavit submitted to the Presidential Commission Investigating Alleged Acts of Fraud or Corruption abuse of former State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC). The affidavit had been submitted against two former Senior Army officers including an Army Commander and a former high ranking state official.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabahya Rajapaksa has stated that he never approved the dismantling of the Kankesanturai (KKS) Cement Factory and cement company and sale of its machinery and equipment as scrap iron. He had also not seen any document granting approval for it signed by him either. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had stated this in an affidavit submitted to the Presidential Commission Investigating Alleged Acts of Fraud or Corruption abuse of former State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC). The affidavit had been submitted against two former Senior Army officers including an Army Commander and a former high ranking state official.


The PRECIFAC is conducting investigations into an alleged fraud involving the dismantling of the Kankasanturai Cement Factory reported to be in a re-operational condition and the cement company and the sale of the machinery and equipment as scrap iron for over Rs.100 million by the Army during the previous regime.

This alleged fraud was disclosed by State Counsel Senior Attorney Janaka Bandara during submissions made before PRECIFAC about AN alleged act of fraud and corruption committed during the Rajapaksa regime from 2011 to 2015. Documents relating to this alleged fraud were found during investigations made by the Commissions. Former Additional Secretary to the Defence Ministry Siripala Hettiarachchi had made an official note at the Ministry to the effect that former Defence Secretary Gotabahaya Rajapaksa told him that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sanctioned the sale of this stock of iron. Another note at the ministry stated that Internal Auditor R.M. Premachiandra had pointed out the need for Cabinet approval to effort the sale. The machinery and equipment at the cement factory had been manufactured in the UK and Germany. The German machinery and equipment carried a 100 year guarantee from the manufacturers.

Investigations revealed that this stock of iron had been sold to one Siraz Mohamed and Yusuf Asthan and a retired Army officer named E.M.V. Ekanayake. A sum of Rs. 75 million had been realised as proceeds from the stock sold to Ekanayake. It was revealed that this action had been taken by the Army in an arbitrary manner without any acquisition of the Cement Corporation premises situated in an area of 741 acres, State Council Senior Attorney Janaka Bandara making submissions made for he prosecution said. These had been made with written evidence during investigations made by Constables Herath and Wijesinghe under the supervision of Sub Inspector Herath,former Army Commander Daya Ratnayake, former Commander Jaffna Security forces Headquaers Maj.Gen.Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Maj.Gen. Udaya Annesley Perera, Additional Secretary Defence Ministry Siripala Hettarachchi, Yousuf Asthan and Siriaz Mohamed appeared as defendants before the commissions.

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Speed up the current progress – UNHR Chief to President Top News
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

While commending the Sri Lanka’s current progress to ensure human rights and reconciliation, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid al-Hussein said he will be more satisfied if this journey of Sri Lankan government will be speeded up, Sri Lanka’s President’s Office said. The UNHR Chef made this comment during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena in New York.

No minister in delegation to UN
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

Even though Minister Sarath Fonseka had claimed that he was denied a visa to enter the US, none of the ministers were included in the President Maithripala Sirisena-led delegation to attend the UN General Assembly, Daily Mirror learns. The minister said on Monday that he was not granted visa though his name was included in the delegation to the UN. It was reported that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe parliamentary sessions scheduled for the week.

No asylum for Rohingya refugees in Lanka - PM
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

The government will not accept any asylum seeking refugees from any country to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said. The PM has also said the decision not to permit any refugees was taken in line with the Yahapalana government’s foreign policy. The Prime Minister said so when he was asked by the Government parliamentary group yesterday about its standpoint over the Rohingya refugees seeking asylum in Sri Lanka.

Northern Province’s Anitha sets new record in pole vault
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

Jaffna's vaulting queen Anitha Jagatheeshwaran once again renewed her own SL record in the Pole Vault at the 43rd National Sports Festival started in Matara yesterday. Anitha who already renewed the SL record less than a month ago at the National Athletics Championship with 3.47m went over 3.48m here before the rain interruption. Downpour for a few minutes halted her progress making the take off area muddy and that affected her performance. She had to settle at the 3.48m mark once again failing to go over the 3.50m mark which Anitha was trying to achieve since last year.

P’ment to celebrate 70 years with special sitting on 3 Oct.
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

A special ceremonial parliamentary sitting will be held on 3 October at 2.30pm to mark the 70th anniversary of the first Parliament of Sri Lanka. According to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the Committee on Parliamentary Business reached this decision Thursday evening. The Parliament of Ceylon met for the first time on 14 October 1947 with Sir Alfred Francis Molamure presiding as Speaker. Membership was determined at the 19-day-long General Election held between 23 August and 20 September 1947. The duration of the first Parliament was limited to four years and five months and was dissolved on 8 April 1952.

PC Elections Amendment Bill, anti-democratic’
[Saturday 2017-09-23 18:00]

The collective of election monitoring organisations yesterday said the Provincial Council Elections Amendment Bill passed in Parliament this week was anti-democratic and it aimed to delay the Provincial Council Elections. Addressing the media yesterday at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), People's Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said the aim of the act was something else.

Constitution framers divided over bid to change ‘unitary state’
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The Steering Committee, tasked with drafting a new constitution has raised the hackles of some of its members by proposing that the term, ‘unitary state’ be done away with. The Steering Committee interim report submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Constitutional Assembly yesterday states that people in the south are scared of the term, ‘federal’ while the people in the North fear the word, ‘unitary.’

No provable evidence filed against Jayasuriya: Marapana
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

Upholding the Government pledge to protect military personnel against alleged war crimes, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Assignments Tilak Marapana yesterday confirmed to the Parliament that no firm submissions were made against former Army Commander General Jagath Jayasuriya.

Three PCs to come under purview of Governors: Minister
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The three Provincial Councils of Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern will be brought under the administration of the governors of the respective provinces once the terms of office expire on September 26 until such time the elections are held for the three provinces, Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faizer Musthapha said yesterday.

President to meet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to meet United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on September 22. The Human Rights situation in the country will be the focal point of this discussion. President Sirisena addressed the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 19. In his speech, President Sirisena said that national reconciliation is important, particularly given the country’s diverse population and expressed that while certain elements expected fast results which he said would merely be “short-term solutions.”

President Sirisena an exemplary leader: US
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena was an exemplary leader working closely with all member states, the United States said yesterday. Meeting President Sirisena on the side lines of the 72nd Session of the United National General Assembly in New York , US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon said the US also appreciate the cooperative approach taken by Sri Lanka when dealing with regional countries.

SLFP wants executive presidency retained
[Friday 2017-09-22 19:00]

The SLFP yesterday insisted that the executive presidency had to be retained if the unitary character of the state was to be safeguarded. Addressing a press conference held in the Parliament complex, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said a president with certain executive powers was essential for the stability of the country.

TNA stance during debate stage: Sampanthan
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will come up with its stance on the interim report of the Constitution at the time when it is debated in the Constitutional Council in the near future, TNA and Opposition Leader R Sampanthan said today. "We will talk about the report later and what I would like to stress now is the need to build a peaceful and united Sri Lanka," he said. Speaking at the constitutional assembly, the opposition leader said what is needed is to ensure that country achieves peace where it's people could live in harmony.

New Constitution; Steering Committee interim report presented
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

Sri Lanka's future depends on the ability which the UNP and the SLFP possess to reach an agreement on the fundamentals of the new Constitution, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Constitutional Assembly today. The Prime Minister made this remark while presenting the interim report of the steering committee established under the constitutional assembly. The report was actually presented to the constitutional assembly by him.

PC polls (amendment) Bill passed
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) bill was passed with a majority of 122 votes in parliament yesterday. The bill received 159 votes in favour and 37 votes against. The TNA, JVP and SLMC voted with the government. The Bill seeks to amend the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988 to make it binding on all political parties and independent groups to field at least 30 per cent female candidates in Provincial Council elections.

Sumanthiran congratulates Govt. for introducing bill
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

The Bill before Parliament is a very important bill that introduces the proportion of 30% of women candidates who have to be nominated in the nomination paper submitted by any political party or an independent group when they contest a Provincial Council Election. said TNA – MP M. A. Sumanthiran in Parliament yesterday. “This is a very important issue that we have been talking about and when a Bill is debated in the House, any member, under Standing Orders could move committee stage amendments provided notice is given before 12 noon,” he added.

[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena attended a reception hosted by US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Much need to be done for peacebuilding and reconciliation in Sri Lanka - UN
[Thursday 2017-09-21 17:00]

Although war is over in Sri Lanka, many still face discrimination and hate and much need to be done for peacebuilding and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, the United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Una McCauley says. In a message to mark the International Day of Peace 2017 that falls on Thursday, September 21, Ms. McCauley said the people must respect each other's religion, race, culture, values and political beliefs and accept and work with each other's differences to make any meaningful progress.

President urges world to support SL's reconciliation
[Wednesday 2017-09-20 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena called upon the international community to seriously consider the tremendous progress made by the government towards reconciliation, restoration of democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law and extend the fullest support to the slow, but the steady forward march of Sri Lanka to build a progressive, democratic, free and equal society with high morals and discipline.

Ex-army chief Fonseka says visa denied to US to attend UN general assembly sessions
[Wednesday 2017-09-20 18:00]

Sri Lanka's ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka Tuesday said he had been denied a visa to attend the UN general assembly because of unresolved war crime allegations against the military. The war-time general, who is now minister of regional development, said he was due to travel to New York this week, but he was the only one in the Sri Lankan delegation not issued a visa. Fonseka said he could not accompany President Maithripala Sirisena who left Colombo on Sunday to address the United Nations General Assembly."I was not given a visa because of the war crimes allegations against the military," Fonseka told AFP. "That is why I say they must be investigated."

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