Nihal Sri writes to Blake to set record straight

Saturday, 9 March 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

March 1, 2013

Mr. Robert O. Blake

Assistant Secretary

South & Central Asian Affairs

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520, USA

Dear Robert,

Statement made to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific

I was indeed appalled upon reading in the foreign and Sri Lanka media a Statement reported to have been made by you this week to the aforementioned Committee, particularly alluding a ‘sweeping statement’ criticising by innuendo the recent impeachment by Parliament of Sri Lanka of the Chief Justice.

I regret that your such ‘sweeping statement’ has apparently been made, arbitrarily devoid of any facts to have substantiated the same; whereas comprehensive representations had been made by me to you justifying the said impeachment of the Chief Justice.

You are well and truly aware that I had taken the trouble to afford you the relevant and pertinent facts, supported by documentary evidence placed before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, justifying the aforesaid impeachment of the Chief Justice; inasmuch as, I, as far back as February 2012, had put in issue before the Supreme Court the disqualification of the Chief Justice, adducing facts from records of Supreme Court proceedings.

The said Chief Justice had recklessly made a perverse Determination in contravention of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, acting without jurisdiction, to have misled the Parliament of Sri Lanka on a Bill. Ironically, the same Chief Justice, as the then most Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, having been appointed in 1996, was primarily responsible for a decision of the Supreme Court in August 2009, which your own State Department, itself, in its 2010 Report on Sri Lanka had castigated - vide page 26 thereof, to which I bear witness having been present in Court in opposition thereto.

I draw reference to my Letters dated November 21, 2012, December 20, 2012 and January 12, 2013, which I had personally addressed to you, copies of which are attached for your easy reference, without the Annexures thereto.

The cogent question does arise, as to whether the foregoing facts placed before you had been caused to be analytically examined by your Officials, prior to you having made such ‘sweeping statement’ to the aforementioned Committee, publicised internationally, inasmuch as, I, as an experienced professional, took such stance to uphold the rule of law and the UN Convention Against Corruption, which Sri Lanka had ratified as far back as March 31, 2004.

Indeed it would be a great travesty of justice and lack of accountability on the part of your Office, if as evident from the foregoing, the aforesaid facts, supported by documents, had been suppressed from the aforementioned Committee, thereby putting in issue the credibility of the aforesaid ‘sweeping statement’, whereby grave and irreparable prejudice and irremediable mischief had been caused before the international community on the said matter of impeachment of the Chief Justice.

I believe, that particularly in the US, facts are incisively analysed and documents examined, prior to briefings being made for actions to be correctly taken thereon. In this instance, I regret very much that apparently such had not been the case.

I cite two of my experiences on matters of national economic proportions given the context of a small country, that Sri Lanka is. Though two leading US corporates were involved in the said two matters, to my knowledge, your Office, nor any other US State Agency took any action thereon, notwithstanding the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Firstly, the colossal loss caused by the fraud on the Government of Sri Lanka in the construction of the Hilton Hotel, where Hilton International Co., US, had a Management Agreement, including to provide Technical Assistance during construction, which loss was prevented by me through litigation upheld by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and reported in the Commonwealth (Commercial) Law Reports.

Secondly, the purported Oil Hedging Deals perpetrated, amongst others, by Citibank, a US bank, on the bankrupt Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, a State corporation, a customer of the said Bank, where purported colossal Claims by the said Bank were dismissed in an Arbitration before the London Court of International Arbitration.

Facts pertaining to the foregoing have been well documented in a series of Books I had published through AuthorHOUSE US – website Ironically, the Business Manager’s Office in Los Angeles had sent your Office copies of the relevant Books during the first half of last year acknowledged by Emily Fleckner of your Office.

I urge you to cause speedy and effective warranted remedial action to be taken. I am most willing to debate the aforesaid issue with you at any public forum.

Yours truly,

Nihal Sri Ameresekere,

F.C.A., F.C.M.A., C.M.A, C.G.M.A., C.F.E.

Associate Member, American Bar Association

Member, International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities

cc: US Representative Mr. Ed Royce (Congress representing Southern California’s 39th District)

Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs

2170 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515, USA

Ms. Beatrice Edwards

Executive International Director  Government Accountability Project

1612 K Street, NW Suite # 1100

Washington, DC 20006, USA

Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to H.E. the President, Sri Lanka