Dr.I.K. Mahanama, the President’s Chief of Staff, along with P. Dissanayake, the Chairman of Timber Corporation, were arrested yesterday (03) by the officers of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, when they were accepting a bribe. They have been caught in the act of accepting 20 million rupee, as the advance payment of a total of 100 million rupee.
The story is revolved around the Kantale sugar factory. The history of this story goes back to the time when I.K. Mahanama served as the Secretary of the Lands and Parliamentary Reforms. Although a project had been proposed to revive Kanthale sugar factory when he served as the Secretary of the Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, it was not implemented. An Indian firm expressed willingness to make the aforementioned investment and requested for the remaining buildings and machines of the factory, but, Dr.Mahanama had worked to prevent it. Although he attempted to pave the way to this deal many times through cabinet papers, he had failed. Furthermore, he had obstructed the process of revival of the sugar factory.
When Dr.Mahanama was appointed as the President’s Chief of Staff, an advantageous situation arose for him to reattempt the deal. He was appointed as the President’s Chief of Staff around a month ago. Since the power of his position is obvious at a glance, further explanations will be unnecessary. The plan to offer the land of Kantala sugar factory was made for a 560 million rupee. The Indian firm did not concur, and negotiated down to 100 million rupee.
Dr.Mahanama, along with his accomplice P.Dissanayake, the current Chairman of State Timber Corporation, has worked together on the plan to extort bribe from the Indian firm. He may also have presumed that he would be able to get away with this offence as the President’s Chief of Staff.
While Dr.Mahana was waiting to collect 100 million rupee from the Indian firm, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption came to know about this deal.When the Commission notified the President of the status quo, without disclosing persons’ identities, he had responded supportively. The President has further instructed the Commission to take actions regardless of one’s status. The Commission, again, informed the President of complaints regarding bribery accusations concerning certain members of his staff, without disclosing identities, and prepared to do their duty without any political obstacles whatsoever.
With the President’s supportive response, the Commission made a plan to arrest Dr.Mahanama and P.Dissanayake, the Chairman of State Timber Corporation, and arrested them when they were counting the money they received.
Dr.Mahanam and P.Dissanayake had accepted Rs.20 million rupee as an advance payment of a total of 100 million rupee at the car park of Hotel Galadari. After they were arrested, the President has been informed of the incident and subsequently the President has instructed the Commission, without any opposition, to take necessary legal actions.