“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato
The spotlight has been finally turned on and at the end of it, come down it will the curtain. While “Inaction, Immunity & Impunity” seems to be the motto of the Sri Lankan Police Department, it indeed makes a mockery of the justice system when the most corrupt government force in the country is entrusted with the investigation of the biggest financial frauds in the history of our little island nation. Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management & Christian Affairs, Mr. John Amaratunga himself is on record for identifying the Sri Lankan Police as the most corrupt government Department.
Though a dream come true for the UNP loyalist DIG Anil Ravindra Waidyalankara (ARW) for being appointed as the Director of the newly set up Financial Fraud Investigation Department (FFID) at Colombo-03, unfortunately for him, his past misdeeds seems to be haunting him now that serious questions have been raised over his complicity in crimes and on his suitability to continue further as an anti-crime czar.
Sitting with him at his office last Friday evening at Carlwil Place, little did he expect ‘Karma’ to strike when he started with his explanations about his past and that of his Division’s non-existent and futile ‘task in hand’. While the video interview will shed some light on the shady character in question, in the interest of the public and especially that of the victimized, I make the following observations hoping concerned flag-bearers Yaha Palanaya (Good Governance) will pay due attention in addressing long standing negative issues,
1/ ARW being a member of the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) where the joining fee alone is over Rs. 400,000/- and with a monthly subscription fee of over Rs. 5,000/-, let us safely assume he goes on a diet at the end of each month.
2/ Having few mistresses apart from a legal wife is a personal matter, but when many complaints of helpless women police constables (WPCs) being sexually abused or raped by a sadistic sexual predator and whose crimes were never investigated or when credible accusations were swept under the carpet, I believe this ‘cardinal code’ of not prosecuting another colleague amongst the senior officers needs to be seriously looked in to. It was also reported sometime back that a WPC supposedly committed suicide over a relationship she had with the concerned senior officer. Few articles written in this regard appeared in the Ethalaya Journal as well. Needless to say, the editor’s house was searched by the Police soon after and threatened with arrest.
Though ARW denies ever been interdicted or investigated for any kind of wrongdoings when interviewed, the overwhelmingly incriminating information in my possession suggests otherwise.
3/ Regular occurrences of large scale bribes being demanded by ARW in return for ‘favors’ is now an open secret among the business elite. I wouldn’t be surprised if ill-gotten wealth stashed in his bank accounts and that of his ‘loved ones’ are ever found. What is more intriguing is the fact that IGP Illangakone feigning ignorance of ARW’s blemished 30 plus year career and being silent when the high profile appointment was made at FFID. Could it be that the IGP does not want to ‘rock the boat’ while awaiting a plum diplomatic posting after he retires next year?
4/ ARW along with disgraced ex-IGP Ranjith Balasuriya obtaining ‘Degree-for-money’ Honorary PhDs from the never-heard-of and unaccredited International University of Fundamental Studies (IUFS) in St. Petersburg Russia and with the assistance of one ‘Doctor’ Shanthi P. Jayasekara who happens to be the Sri Lankan link and also the founder of IUFS. Investigating further, I was surprised finding few other Sri Lankans such as ‘Professor’ Mahinda Balasuriya (ex-IGP), ‘Prof’. Dr. Sisira K. Jayasekara, and Dr. Evgenia Jayasekara holding positions as Administrators at the same IUSF. But then again, who am I to question a closely knit ‘family business’?
5/ The ‘knight in shining armor’ and forever at the service of ‘damsels in distress’, ARW seems to have lost his mind and made the biggest error in judgment when he decided to protect and shield the queen of female fraudsters, Mrs. Thushari Menaka Fernando, a.k.a ‘Female Sakwithi’. Lying while keeping a straight face and denying vehemently of his close association with the female confidence trickster when questioned, I can only pity his plight when DIG Waidyalankara finds himself at the center of investigations. I guess the hunter becoming the hunted is real after all.
Mrs. Thushari Menaka Fernando (TMF), mother to an Asian International School going teenage daughter and claiming to be divorced and a devout Christian, orchestrating a well devised plan and executing it to precision in defrauding people from all walks of life to the tune of well over Rs. 400 million… at least as per my knowledge and at the time of this article being published. Methodical and clinical, this female confidence trickster cheats in stages and in style. Heartless in defrauding even 95 year old retirees of their hard-earned life savings, ruthless in using thugs to intimidate victims in to submission and influential enough to use the likes of Ravi Waidyalankaras to stay out of trouble from the long arm of the law. She is evading arrest as I write and I am sure she will exploit the ‘medical certificate option’ at the courts once again. This practice of absconding and trivializing the functions of court or even being contempt of, does not seems to bother TMF a bit since she always gets out with a simple warning. And let us find contentment in believing she has no friends amongst the judges.
Having come to know of the existence of around 50 victims, the modus operandi of Mrs. Fernando seems to be enticing people with money to invest in her non-existent ‘garment business’, and for which she promises huge profits in return. Initially, to keep prospective investors interested, she starts paying small profits and portrays herself as a genuine business woman, thus winning their confidence. After which she wastes no time in going for the huge kill leaving retirees, government servants, divorced women and any soul with some money penniless and destitute.
From the little investigations that I did, it appears that TMF has been a serial cheat since the time she started working at M/s Mclarens Shipping 20 years ago. Around 40 years of age now and having sold her soul and body to the devil, she seems to be in safe hands even after dozens of arrest warrants have been issued against her island wide. Investigating further, it was revealed that she was in constant touch with Mr. Hashan Ariyapala of Ariyapala Super Market fame and DIG Waidyalankara during her ‘illustrious’ crime spree. Investigations also revealed how Mrs. Fernando connived with the Ariyapalas in defrauding a very old widow by the name of Mrs. Nalini Jayatilleke of Rosmead Place by making her sign some documents unknowingly and which resulted in the loss of her house and property worth well over Rs. 150 million. It was also found that bank loans were obtained by the fraudsters against the said property in case of an unsuccessful litigation process. To make matters worse, Mrs. Nalini Jayatilleke seems to have been defrauded of yet another prime property in England to the same team of fraudsters falling victim to a similar plot.
With the noose tightening around TMF, it defies humanity when a senior law enforcement officer such as Mr. Waidyalankara being found complicit in ruthlessly destroying or shattering lives of so many innocent and hard-working people and that of their families. It is high time the DIG in question does some kind of soul searching by distancing himself from the 3 W’s – Wine, Wealth & Women. Morally unfit to lead the FFID, it just might be in the best interest of ARW to tender his resignation from his Director post or to take a leave of absence until investigations on his wrong-doings are concluded.
Serious questions needs to be raised against the pork meat and prostitute loving Minister of Public Order, Mr. John Amaratunga as well for making irresponsible appointments at important departments. I believe it is high time for the 75 year old Minister to retire gracefully and play ‘grandpa’ at home. Let the young and competent take over matters. Besides, when I campaigned for a change of governments, little did I expect to put up with an incompetent politician clamoring for power in his last stages of his life. I also believe that the rest of the country need not pay a price just because one man thinks the country owes him for being a senior figure in a political party.
Enough is enough, if the judiciary and the police fail to bring the biggest culprits to book and without delay, I am afraid that many of us just might take matters in to our own hands. As for fighting corruption, I find only Ministers Ajith Perera, Harsha De Silva, Mrs. Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe of Bribery & Corruption Department and Lawyers J.C. Weliamuna and Shiral Lakthillake among few others who are either competent enough or determined. President Sirisena and Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe the Prime Minister goes without saying of course.
The rest of the bunch with their empty rhetoric speeches and politically motivated committees and commissions is an utter waste of time. While I intend addressing this issue in the near future, instead of allowing corrupt elements to infiltrate ‘good governance’, I urge the present government to shut down the FFID while empowering and expanding the current Commission to Investigate Bribery & Corruption (CIBC) and for all ministries to conduct internal investigations only in consultations with CBIC.
Been there and done that and having been exposed to the workings of criminal minds, while giving a voice to the voiceless, I make a pledge to serve mankind to the best of my ability. If one has information about a crime or if one is a victim of fraud or injustice, please call the following number,
HARD TALK HOTLINE: 07836-88877
-Fazl Muhammed Nizar.
(The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and through FB)