Former Monarch Residencies apartment owner tells Bond Commission
Karunanayake not appearing before commission today
A witness yesterday dropped a bombshell while giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged Treasury bond scams. Former owner of a 4,000-square-foot luxury apartment at Monarch Residencies, situated at Colombo 03, Muthukudaarachchige Vinodani told the Commission that it had been first leased out to Ravi Karunanayake till the renovation work on his house was completed, but the lease had been paid by a company connected to Arjun Aloysius. After about eight months the apartment had been purchased by Minister Karunanayake for Rs. 165 million through a company in which his family members were directors. Vinodani identified the purchasing company as Global Star Logistics (Pvt.) Ltd.
While the Karunanayakes were occupying the apartment on lease the entire deal had been discussed verbally by Arjun Aloysius, who paid her cash to the tune of Rs 1.4 million and a further Rs. 10.2 million by cheque, making a total payment of Rs 11.6 million, Vinodani said, answering queries before the Commission.
She said the Rs. 11.6 mn payment included a refundable two months’ advance.
Aloysius had told her verbally that even though he was taking the apartment on lease, it would be occupied by Minister Karunanayake and his family, Vinodani said.
The relevant lease agreement was submitted to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry by Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda, PC. It had been signed between her and Walt and Row Pvt. Ltd., Vinodani said.
Vinodini revealed that she had bought the apartment number 5 PH2 at Monarch Residencies in April 2015 from Susantha Ratnayake for Rs. 120 million. The money had been a gift from her father and after purchasing the apartment she had spent about another ten million rupees on renovations, the witness said.
Initially, Minister Karunanayake and his family had resided there for about six months. At the end of that period, because the repairs to their home had not been completed, the Karunanayke family had been allowed to stay on for another two months, Vinodani said.
It was a large apartment comprising 4,000 square feet as two separate apartments had been amalgamated and the Monarch Residencies management had declared it to be a penthouse.
Having conducted all negotiations to lease out the apartment to Minister Karunanayake with Arjun Aloysius she had conveyed her decision to the Minister’s spouse, Vinodani said.
Vinodani told the Commission that Minister Karunanayake’s wife had first come to see the apartment around 1.00 pm on Jan. 27, 2016 and after inspecting it the latter had called someone and about one hour later Arjun Aloysius had come there to her (Vinodini’s) surprise as she knew him because he had been few years senior to her at Colombo International School.
Arjun Alosius had been previously asked to hand over his laptop computer and communications devices including mobile phones to the CID unit attached to the Commission for further investigations. He complied the commission directive yesterday.
Aloysius had claimed that one of his mobile phones was destroyed in Singapore, ASG Kodagoda informed the commission.
Former Finance Minister Karunanayake, who had been summoned by the Commission to appear before it today (25), would not be able to do so due to a Cabinet meeting, his lawyer, Sandun Gamage stated.
Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera, raising objections said Minister Karunanayake had been issued with summons on Saturday (22) and the latter had waited till yesterday’s proceedings were over to inform the commission of his inability to appear today.
ASG de Livera asked why the minister had not informed the commission before the commencement of the proceedings. Karunanayake’s lawyer said he had received instruction from his client only a little while ago.
Chairman of the Commission Justice K. T. Chitrasiri told Karunanayake’s lawyer to inform the commission when his client could appear before it. The lawyer said he would contact the minister and inform the commission shortly.
Earlier in the day, Karunanayake’s lawyer was seen sending text messages via his mobile phone. That prompted Commission Chairman to say, “This is not a place for sending text messages.” The lawyer stopped sending messages.