Comments /1027 Views / Friday, 11 August 2017 00:08
Former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday stepped down after delivering a defiant statement in Parliament that recapped his career, professed his innocence and criticised his detractors in the Opposition.
The following is the former Minister’s full statement.
During the last few days various news was seen in the media as well as on social media. Different opinions came up even in Parliament. A no-confidence motion was also presented.
A question was brought up about my occupancy of a house in the Monarch Residences at Colombo 3. So I have presented the facts in front of the Treasury Bond Commission. Our house at Battaramulla is under repairs so we had to go to another place to stay. In the absence of an official residence, my family members were looking for a suitable house. They told me that they found a house which belonged to Nahil Wijesuriya. So we occupied that particular house.
Even though Nahil’s daughter is a school friend of my daughter, she was reluctant to rent the house to a politician. They decided to rent the particular house to Arjun Aloysius’s company. My daughter reimbursed the lease payment to the company and at a later stage one of my private companies bought the house. A loan was obtained from Seylan Bank. I table the documents pertaining to the loan facility Seylan Bank REF No WTL/CRD/2016-1535, 29 September 2016. All respective payments are well accounted for and there is nothing to hide.
I got into politics as a result of the close relationship I had with the late Lalith Athulathmudali. Even though he didn’t earn from politics he got insulted in alleged shipping matters. But all those were proven wrong in time. During my career I never earned anything through illegal means. I only lost my money because of politics. I didn’t earn from politics but spent my private money. Both the members of the Opposition as well as the Government visited my house in Battaramulla for various reasons including to discuss matters, eat, drink and enjoy, as well as to cross over to this side. They know my wealth. Some of those who placed signatures on that no-confidence motion know about my wealth. They also know that I have never earned through illegal means.
Those who had the slightest connection to a Minister were not summoned before a commission. We have witnessed the behaviour of the Ministers, Prime Ministers and also Presidents with swollen heads in the last regime. The presidents used to act like kings. They always bypass the law. They are still trying to do so. We respect the law and bow our heads before justice. I displayed the signs of new political culture by giving evidence before the Presidential Commission. The commission was appointed to investigate Treasury bond issuance. Instead the talk of the town is the renting of a house.
On several occasions, the learned judges of the commission had to interrupt the rudeness of the additional Solicitor General who cross-examined me at the commission. He had been warned. I believe that the judges of the commission will find the truth at the end of their deliberations. We will also get to know the reasons for his bad behaviour. Today the Attorney General’s Department and Solicitor General have the freedom of grilling a Minister of their own Government. We had a time when the Department of the Attorney General was afraid of questioning ministers. They were afraid even to open a file connected to the ministers.
The Department of Attorney General was able to review a document of 8,803 pages in 48 hours. It is a good sign. We hope the department will show the same efficiency to investigate the loans obtained by the governments and at the bills brought in by the Yahapalana Government for the benefit of the country and also about the cases against the ministers of the previous government. We hope the department will show the same efficiency with regard to the 87 files submitted to the department by the Financial Crimes Investigations Divisions against the members of the former government.
I have worked tirelessly for 32 years for the United National Party. I was with the party during the hard times. I faced numerous challenges on behalf of the party. I received death threats. There were cases against me. There was one case of foreign exchange and it was heard for 10 years to harass me. Finally, the court set me free of all charges. Indrajit Coomaraswamy was appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank. He worked for Raj Rajaratnam, the accused of the case against me. I tell these matters to show how the Opposition harassed us and took political revenge. There took political revenge then and now engaged in character assassination.
Not only was I harassed but my family members too were subjected to much harassment. They once sent a skull to my paralysed mother. They had sent parts of human bodies to my wife and children. In the middle of all those, I worked for the benefit of our party members. I prevented the split of the party. I worked to defeat plots against party leadership. I always protected my party and party leadership. I will always protect the party, party members and its leadership. In that case I will set my party above me.
We worked for the regime change in 2015. We joined with all progressive forces to effect regime change. We brought forward a common candidate. It was I who gave the swan symbol for the common candidate at the presidential election. I did all those for the future of this country. I use the ministerial portfolio to serve people. To give justice to our party supporters who had been suffering for more than 20 years. All those in this House know that my phone is open 24 hours. I did not make use of my position for my personal gain but for the benefit of the party.
The portfolios, positions and posts are temporary. What will last is only the work we did and our honesty. This is a hard fact which many would not realise. They think that power and posts will be there forever. They always dream to remain in power and to regain it even after losing it. They would do anything for that purpose. They would not give a damn for this country if they can take power. But we changed all these with the January 8 revolution.
There is no basis for any allegations raised against me. I have no link to any of these allegations. But some groups and the media have made me guilty already. The media in this country acted in a unique manner during the last 10-12 days. It is their opinion that I should be led to the cross and crucified. I will not be afraid of these. Jesus Christ was accused wrongly. The Buddha was accused wrongly.
According to the eight worldly conditions in Buddhism everyone will have to face challenges and situations similar to this. I have the strength to face these challenges. I have observed that there is a conspiracy to destabilise the Yahapalana regime making use of the allegations against me. I feel that there is a plot to disrupt the work launched by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to restore democracy. Those who were rejected by the people and engaged in various fraud and corruption, committed crimes are there in this conspiracy against the Government. Their wish is to regain power in order to get away from the crimes they committed.
Many of previous leaders of my party had been wrongly accused in the same manner. Sir John Kotelawala, Dudley Senanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake, Ranasinghe Premadasa and J.R. Jayewardene were accused wrongly in this manner. But later, all those charges were proven false.
My wish is to do the right thing always and to serve honestly. Come what may I will continue to serve my people, my party and my country. I will always stand for truth. I will continue my struggle to eliminate crime and corruption from my country. I will remain dedicated to the causes of the January 8 revolution. I did not take the decision to resign with regret. I am proud to set this example.
I sacrifice my position for the honour of this august assembly. I sacrifice my post for the benefit of our party and all those who love this party. I sacrifice this post for the benefit of all those people in my electorate. I sacrifice this post for the benefit of the new political culture we introduced. I sacrifice this post for the democracy of this country. I sacrifice this post for the continuance of our Government. Therefore, I am proud of my decision.
I have to mention here the mental pressure undergone by my wife and children. Some sections of the media tried to assassinate the characters of my wife and my daughters. They have become subject to false accusations. They are undergoing so much pressure. But their support and love towards me have helped me making this decision. I love my wife Mela, my daughters Onella, Shenella and Minnella for that strength. I will love you always.
There is one stanza in the Dhammapada that comes to my mind at this point. It says if one wrongs a person who should not be wronged, one who is pure and is free from moral defilements, the evil falls back upon that fool, like fine dust thrown against the wind.
There is another stanza which says as a mountain of rock is unshaken by wind, so also the wise are unperturbed by blame or by praise. Because of those reasons today I am a proud person to make this decision for my party and my country.
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