One of the most influential figures of the Rajapaksa regime, he was admired by many, feared by some and hated by others. With many allegations made against him following the end of the Rajapaksa rule, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa spoke to and responded candidly to the accusations that are being made against him, on the speculations made concerning his entry to politics and why he believes he is irreplaceable. . .
Q. Is it true that you fled to the Maldives as soon as the election results indicated former President Rajapaksa’s defeat?
You can see me now, I wouldn’t be here if I left, would I? . . .These claims are only part of the mud-slinging campaigns.
Q. So you never left the country at any point after the Presidential polls?
No! (laughs) How can I leave like that? This is again absurd because I am not an invisible person to flee in that manner. Do they think its possible for me to secretly escape like that? I would have to pass through the airport and I am not an invisible person to be able to pull off such a feat.
Q You had refuted allegations levelled at you by Minister Ravi Karunanayake about the Defence Ministry account in the Bank of Ceylon. But an issue concerning the legality of the account persists?
Issues have been raised on the need to obtain parliamentary approval but there is no such thing. Cabinet approval is sufficient; it is the responsible authority and it is the normal procedure.
The point is, the account remains under the Defence Ministry and contains funds that were used exclusively for the construction of the Defence headquarters. Cabinet approval was granted to maintain a Defence Ministry account and not for a private account under my name.
Procedural matters are a separate issue and for argument’s sake, various parties can raise varied concerns. The money is with the Government, the Treasury was fully aware of the account and the value of the money deposited in it. The transactions relating to the account were fully divulged, it’s auditable and was maintained by the Chief Accountant. The money withdrawn from the account was carried out in strict adherence to State procedures. So instead of making allegations, the best course of action would be to study the situation and probe into the operations carried out in Akuregoda using the money. Without these finances that project would have been in jeopardy. It’s a crime if that was to happen and ultimately the former President would have been blamed for that too.
It is a good project but was delayed for a prolonged period due to the difficulty in accessing the necessary funds for implementation.
The land plot was allocated many years ago but construction could not be commenced due to unavailability of funds and this was the only way to make it a reality. Otherwise if we were to depend on allocations, it would have been delayed further It is also important to note that I have not signed a single cheque for the money in the account.
I authorized only the expenses and that too was carried out in strict adherence to required procedures including fulfillment of technical evaluations and tender procedures.
The cheques were issued under the signature of the Chief Accountant and several other officials who were authorized to issue cheques. Before making accusations, they should take note of why there was a necessity to maintain this type of an account. The Defence Ministry will be in a very difficult position to continue the Akuregoda project if the money is not released back to remain under the authority of the Defence Ministry.
Q What is your response to the accusations being levelled at you and your brother’s regime concerning the course of action followed regarding top LTTE leaders such as KP?
Again, the accusations they are making with concern to this issue are baseless. If you could speak to the intelligence officials on these matters you would realise it.
I believe the governing politicians should investigate without simply making allegations. I have already stated this - whatever possible steps to take we have taken but the most important thing was getting the man. No one is commenting on that. Instead unnecessary facts are highlighted and they are not true. The most important factor is that he claimed he was the next in line for LTTE leadership and we managed to take him into our custody.
Q But why wasn’t he prosecuted after being taken into custody?
There were different schools of thought during the time regarding the course of action to be taken concerning him.
When hundreds of the LTTE cadres surrendered, there were two options availableeither to imprison them or rehabilitate and reintegrate them. Both choices have pluses and minuses but it became obvious that imprisoning such a large number would definitely be disastrous.
So during the time all the responsible officials including the President, the Security Chiefs decided that they should be rehabilitated. Likewise, when this person was brought in, the war was over so he was handed over to the intelligence in order to obtain the information they required. If we had arrested him and put him behind bars, he would not have co-operated. My aim was to get him to fully cooperate with the intelligence officials. So he did not remain scott-free - he was under the military intelligence and that in turn helped gather so much of information on the LTTE businesses and the networks run by the terrorist group.
If the incumbent government wishes to act responsibly, they can speak to those who have conducted the inquiries and access the intelligence the relevant officials managed to obtain, provided it is done in a way that does not jeopardise national security.
Q You are accused of taking control over his fleet of ships and the vast wealth that he had accumulated for the LTTE. What is your response and what became of this wealth?
This is why I am stating that this information should be inquired into by the intelligence agencies. They would be able to clarify whether there was any wealth, what properties included that wealth etc. All these agencies are under the Government and I don’t wish to speculate on anything. The information is easily accessible to the present Government and they should inquire into it.
Q What do you have to say about the allegations levelled at the military intelligence apparatus being used to for non-military purposes that included procuring information on the former President’s political rivals?
The military should not be discredited because they conduct themselves in a very professional manner. The measures that I took to improve the intelligence agencies can be studied by the President and the State Minister for Defence and they will be amazed by the effort I have taken to improve these agencies and their professionalism and this included freeing these institutions from political interferences. It is due to these measures I took, that we were able to maintain the security even after the end of the war. No one knows these things and even I should not discuss these matters because these are professional, State-owned agencies.
Rather than making wild allegations, be responsible, speak to these people and get to know what has been carried out for their betterment. I am sure they must have already taken these measures so I urge them to continue the work and improve the quality and the professionalism of the military. I have never done anything to harm them or politicise them. Everything was purely done in the interest of the country’s security.
Q Is it true that you have bought over many State-owned properties including the Ceylon Steel Corporation?
I don’t own a single thing. Investigative journalists should probe into these allegations and find out whether there is any truth in these accusations.
Investigate and see if I own a property anywhere or whether there are any accounts in which I have amassed wealth or if I have invested millions of money in any shares.
Q But the allegation is that you have used front men in order to conceal your ownership of these establishments/ businesses?
These are useless allegations, anyone can make such claims! What is the use of owning anything if I cannot enjoy it when I wish to? It is not logical for me to not be able to enjoy the perks of whatever properties or wealth that they claim I have accumulated. The truth is I don’t even have a house to live in still. I am trying to buy a house because the house that I currently live in is owned by my mother-in-law and she was living here for 40 years. I currently use this house because she is living in the US. If I had that much money wouldn’t I buy a house for myself?
Look at the other politicians, even those who make these allegations against me? Look at the amount of properties they have collected. If they are so genuine, they must declare how they managed to buy the properties they currently own. Look at Mr. Ravi Karunanayake himself. The house in which he resides, in which year did he purchase that house?
This house next door to me was mine - I built it when I was in the army in 1987 upon taking a loan from the State Mortgage Bank. Unfortunately in 2001, I sold it for Rs. six million and that money I invested in Treasury bills. To this day I have not withdrawn them and they remain maturing and re-investing. I could have taken that money to the US but I never did that. But today, I am not even in a state to buy back my own house. These are baseless allegations but people will come to know the truth in time. If I had all that wealth,I would have gone to Dubai and bought a mansion there and lived comfortably.
If you had money what would be your priorities? I have only one son, I have educated him in one of the first-class Universities in the world, the Duke University - not during this period, when I was in the US. He managed to obtain a full scholarship to continue to his degree course purely on his merit. Upon graduation, he was immediately recruited to work for Boeing on a space station project as an electrical engineer. If anyone is interested they can check his credentials. So there is no need for me to gather so much wealth - that is the truth. We are not rogues.
Q You are accused of being responsible for the death of two journalists including former Sunday Leader founder/editor Lasantha Wickramatunga by one of the former Ministers. What is your response to this allegation?
People know his credibility, you know his credibility - the type of man he was and continues to be - so I don’t have to talk about that. He has carried out similar actions against many other figures over the course of the years including former President Kumaratunga and has made defamatory statements against many politicians including the present Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. The statements that he himself has made will bear witness to the credibility of his claims and character. Also go back and see what he has told about the current President at the time.
During the previous government, the biggest allegation was him, even for the media. So why take his word seriously now?
Q Would you say that continuing to accommodate Ministers with such shattered credibility records during your brother’s regime, resulted in a loss of faith in the minds of the people concerning his governance?
That was a mistake! Definitely! Not punishing them at the correct time. It’s not right for me to comment on it because it was not my business. But when it came to taking action on matters under my purview, I have implemented them without fail.
Q Are you planning to take any legal action against these allegations that are being levelled against you?
No, it is a useless endeavour. Under the present system, there is no point in trying to take action against this type of allegations. Look at what happened to the Sunday Leader case. I went to Courts and it has been over seven years and still the case is continuing. That is when we were in power. People might have thought, when we are in power we can manipulate the judicial system according to our whims and fancies. If it was possible, would I be going to Courts still to resolve the case that I filed? My cross examinations are still not over.
That is a good example to prove that the judicial system was in fact not pressured to carry out the wishes of the previous government. I sought judicial assistance because everyone advised me it was the best course of action to take. But even after so many years nothing has happened. So what is the use of going to Courts? These are the facts that need to be highlighted.
Q Speculations were made of your likely entry to politics at the upcoming general elections and you too seemed interested in it. Would you continue with the plan?
No, no. During the previous government I was given the responsibility of certain tasks and I did them with commitment. I am certain, anyone can look at my work, judge me and state without any prejudice that I have carried them out with utmost dedication. I worked to end the war and thereafter did everything to maintain the law and order, which was a very challenging task. Then, I was given the responsibility of the Urban Development Authority and the results of my work are visible to everyone.
These successes could be achieved within a short period due to my commitment. Today, despite the criticisms, what are the instructions that have been given to the officials who were previously working under me? To continue the work. If what I did was wrong, they would have changed it instead of continuing them. That shows that what I have done is right. It is good that they are continuing with the work and it must continue.
I have not engaged in ad hoc decision making - every step has been taken with a clear vision and target in mind. It is not one or two projects that I was handling, so many including urban development as well as the welfare of soldiers, professionalising the military, rehabilitation of war heroes, the Kotelewala Defence School. . . If I did not have a plan all these things would have collapsed within a short period
Q So you are certain of not entering politics?
Yes (laughs) I am not a politician, I am a dedicated government servant. I have done so much and I can tell without any fear or uncertainty, that no one will be able to replace me. I challenge anyone, try and replace my commitment, my hard work and my vision - no one can.(Lakna Paranamanna)
Comments - 84
Ganesha Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:11 PM
No one is indispensable and irreplaceable, As such how can this man. who is grease man famous ,white van fame be exception ?.
Blessing Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:12 PM
Yes only you Rajapaksas, can misuse power and resources at that highest level.
Daham Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:59 AM
Only idiots blow their own trumpet
gonda Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:29 PM
banda colombo awama wenna athi........
shameless Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:32 PM
yes..... there will be on one with such vicious and arrogant attitude and tyranny
ruwan Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:13 PM
replaced his post not by acction
Leena Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:36 PM
Because we were badly in need of taste and class while the country was being plundered and injected with drugs?
sarhoon Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:17 PM
Why your peoples are not asking about BBS So Called Allegations?
OMG Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:37 PM
The million dollar question is if Gota and his brothers are so good how come people kicked them out?
leena Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:37 PM
Will you still salute him after his monitoring MP gets arrested as the drug baron of Sri Lanka ?
Lacille de Silva Sunday, 15 February 2015 08:59 AM
Gotabaya was entrusted with a job as the Secretary, Defence, and primarily his job was to concentrate and mobilise the armed forces to end the 30 year long war. I must say together with the support of all the three forces, the respective Commanders, the men in tri-services and the previous government ended the war. It is very unfortunate the then leaders did not know how to prioritize the needs of the country and the people after winning the prolonged and costly war. They should have planned economic growth and sustainable development. It was a good thing he did to beautify Colombo city etc. Yet it would have been more meaningful if he had started strategically clean up CEB, andCPC using his skills. I would also think he could have even launch a project to provide electricity using solar power when in fact we have so much of sun in this country. This could have helped the people to reduce the economic burdens they had to carry when there was an expensive war. Unfortunately, Gota should have been directed on similar lines and there was no proper plan, vision or direction for the former government. If they had anything like that they could have dissolved the Parliament immediately after winning the war and sought a mandate from the people to establish rule of law, good governance etc. and most importantly stop deep rooted corruption.They could also have planned industrial growth and it is sad Gota was not directed to the right track. I am sincerely a person who respect Gota for what he stood as a responsible official. I do not criticise him because some criticism may be some what over blown.
road runner Friday, 13 February 2015 05:42 AM
True son of Americaaaa??
Rohan Friday, 13 February 2015 01:32 PM
well said sir, We respect you
Bobby Pereira Thursday, 12 February 2015 03:57 PM
Yes Sir. We salute you for everything you did. Thank you very much.
Piyal Friday, 13 February 2015 01:37 PM
The country knows that Gotabaya is an honest petriotic and a capable person. We know that you did not make money, that you did a super job. The lies your opponents level against you will not stand the test scrutiny or of time.
Somasir Waidyatilake Friday, 13 February 2015 01:39 PM
There are good
sam silva Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:55 PM
Sure- no one can replace you. The wasteful expenditure and kickbacks. Your UDA role- Floating market, Race course, new independence square, walking paths etc- billions were spent and every red brick laid- someone got a kickback
uds Thursday, 12 February 2015 04:30 PM
his smart secret service was not able to find out who was common candidate before the election. this the biggest flow of his boss full secret service that made the whole family redundent for good of the country
Esala Friday, 13 February 2015 01:56 PM
Because of you we can freely walk around Sri Lanka now. That is enough for us Sir. We salute and respect you.
TONY Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:21 PM
YOUR ARE ONE PART OF THE PARTY WHO BROUGHT DISGRACE TO THE RAJAPAKSE DYNASTY. ARE YOU SUPERNATURAL. THERE ARE MUCH BETTER SRI LANKANS WHO ARE FIRMLY STANDING IN THIS SOIL. NOT ONE FOOT HERE AND ONE FOOT THERE
dinesh Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:24 PM
For god sake country does not need any replacement for you.
Nattan Sinnav Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:24 PM
This man Gota thinks he is a great man who cannot be replaced. I t taaly agree with him only on one that is to eliminate opponents. There is no white van after the 9th Jan. There is no kidnapping after 9th Jan. There is no corruption after 9th Jan.
ro Monday, 16 February 2015 04:23 PM
Because of diaspora!
Dayawathie Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:26 PM
Thank you Sir. You have made Colombo and other cities beautiful and you should have been in charge for another ten years. You are a true son of the soil.
Z. A. M. Wazeer
Thursday, 12 February 2015 05:04 PM
We really Admiring your services rendered to this country via DM Android App
Sira Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:27 PM
You are a genuine person. we know that sir. One day truth will come out.let time solve it.
Dilshan Thursday, 12 February 2015 05:11 PM
Gota, you are not indispensable. Get lost !
Amschel Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:27 PM
Indeed difficult to replace someone like you. Suitable candidates like Hitler, Idi Amin, Ghaddafi are all dead.
Simple mind Thursday, 12 February 2015 05:17 PM
Just by this statement he shows his shallowness. No one is indispensable.
maddy Thursday, 12 February 2015 05:20 PM
If your brother MR had few more like you, SL will be the place to live! Thank you sir for your great service.
AshyD Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:06 PM
There is no way you can have one good coconut in a bunch of bad coconuts. This is what the Rajapakses were, A WHOLE BUNCH OF BAD COCONUTS.
words Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:34 PM
Your stupidity shows!
words Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:36 PM
Then what does that make Fonseka? Double-idiot???
srinath Thursday, 12 February 2015 05:28 PM
I did vote for My3 government at presidential elections. but I felt sry for you. you were the only reliable person in the regime at later stages. if you contest for general elections trust me it will be like the Indian elections this time. via DM Android App
Harsha Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:39 PM
We should commend all the good work he did with commitment and Courage.Please do not look at every thing trough a colored glass. Appreciate what he did.
keith weragoda Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:43 PM
I am a staunch supporter of UNP. But when it comes to Gota the only man I respect in the other side.I salute him for what he has done.I do not think he is into major corruption. he may have violated minor things purely to get the work done. As far as I can see he cannot be replaced.
chamila Friday, 13 February 2015 02:45 PM
dilha Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:43 PM
yes this gentlemen done big things to the our country some people not appreciate they find only his mistakes that is sri lankans normal style dont worry sir we respect you
hari Friday, 13 February 2015 07:16 PM
Yes with out him there will not be a corruption free Sri Lanka.. Heeeee
Bandara Sunday, 15 February 2015 03:45 PM
"Rajapakses" are winners. They did a great service to this country. These mud slinging campaigns should be stopped. This is very pathetic. Please concentrate on what is happening now in the North. The TIGERS ARE ROARING. Now you see the difference and the truth that Rajapakses are irreplaceable.....
Arjuna Ranawana Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:46 PM
Yes Of course. No one like you. If any more definitely, we Sri Lankan will be another Libya .Please wait Gen. SF is awaiting you
Samu Vi Friday, 13 February 2015 11:18 AM
Laminate Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:29 AM
Yes agree, a corrupt person like you....
hamid Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:46 PM
without you no sri lanka today.
hari Friday, 13 February 2015 07:23 PM
Did only nothing but shit... To LK
asiyawe ascharya Saturday, 14 February 2015 07:48 PM
MARA also thought the same look what happened to him
Euclid Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:31 AM
Not only Gota, the whole Rajapaksa clan can not be replaced with it comes to corruption.
Renu Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:58 PM
What a booster.This shows his ignorance, Everybody in this country knows how the Rajapakses amassed so much of money. We know the way you and your brothers lived 12 years ago.Just think of Carlton House in Tangalle that belonged to Dr Wiremasooriyas Family and how you robbed it from them made it your ancestral house
Upali wijayatilake Friday, 13 February 2015 11:47 PM
Thank you gotta you did a grand job as defence secretary and changing the face of Colombo people will criticise truth will be the winner.honest people will see unless they are blind.
Sri Lanka. Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:39 AM
True. If we have a another one. Sri Lanka will end.
GOTA Friday, 13 February 2015 11:22 AM
You pay for all wrong doings ?... Monkey praise its own tail..
Gona Thursday, 12 February 2015 01:59 PM
Sure we can have another gota around every corner if they have unlimited, power, resources, goons, death squads. I too could be a gona, but the difference is that we need humans not power hungry ,money guzzling bunch of thugs.
dIREsTRAITS Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:01 PM
How true, God only got one chance to scrape the bottom of the pan to create a half cooked like him. Thank God! there will not be another. Clear evidence of a highly delusional person. May he recover from this illness soon.
saman Saturday, 14 February 2015 08:06 PM
To say the least today City of Colombo is free of filth and garbage. Who done it?
sajin Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:03 PM
Yes, replaced with good action not moda action
Rohana Wijeweera Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:44 AM
Gota is a rare commodity in this crazy political world, then and now.
Gamarala Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:05 PM
Having read his replies without any prejudice I feel he has answered all questions very well and its up to the present govt to prove the allegations said before and after the elections. Otherwise its a lpad of bull**** . This is what i am waiting to hear. Instead of running all over and barking like dogs with acute rabies the government should prove that the allegations are true. Otherwise we may realise we have been taken for a good ride.. Are we that stupid ???
s kalpage Saturday, 14 February 2015 12:05 PM
he did work without thinking the finance and the future of the country using powers of his brother arbitrarily. Never respected government procedures and honest officers.
Rohitha Mulgampola Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:15 PM
Yes, there is no one to replace you or crazy brothers! You appointed your own friends to work under him, they will be replaced soon, wait and see Sir.
rasikac Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:18 PM
Blame is there for the people who worked a lot. That is the nature in this country. President Premadasa was blamed when he was doing a fantastic job. The same thing happened to you and President Rajapaksha. But one day, everyone will realize that the Country is lack of people like you all. Now unfortunately there are more parrots who can say many words people.
Vasantha Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:18 PM
Gota is man of Presidential quality.SL should make him the next head of state. We can be proud of Colombo today. Rememer the heaps of garbage on streets
csk Friday, 13 February 2015 11:34 AM
all ways bandalas save this country,not the Colombo idiots,please learn our history were we coming from.
Mm Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:48 AM
Thank you Mr. Gotta! Only the people with some taste and class see the beauty you created! I always appriciate your work when going for long walks!!!
Ben Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:20 PM
Who is going to say yes to their allegations? These are lame questions. Sure no one can replace a defence secretary with just OL qualifications.
banda Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:52 AM
I salute this man at any time without hesitation.
citizen Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:24 PM
this is jelousy, sarath fonseka group is making these allegations, Gotabhaya has very little money, only crime is he saved the country along with MR,
roshan perera Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:56 AM
Rs253bn ($1.95bn) .... that was the budget allocated to him even after the war was completed, any idiot could have pave the roads and plant trees with that kind of money, he was such a dedicated civil servant the first question that comes to mind is why he left and return work for the family rule.he is highly overrated and the sad irony is that he believes it himself
edward theophilus Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:57 AM
The ideas expressed here indicate that how people in Sri Lanka make bogus fabrication for own advantages. How far we can trust on Sri Lankans. We needs appreciating Gotabaya because he did good thing to the country.
Punchirala Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:58 AM
Even the white van will not replace him?
Veda-mama Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:28 PM
YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, Maidan. THERE IS A FAMOUS SAYING, " ONLY ....... PRAISE THEIR OWN TAILS".
sam Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:58 AM
You are mistaken Mr. Ghota.anyone can be replaced, it just a matter of time
nanda Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:28 PM
I suspect that these absurd comments are made by a bunch of trained people to discredit Rajapakshas for fear of them coming to politics. Dear Sir please contest for the prime minister ship at the next election. We need you in active politics to replace these rouges
gobbaya Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:33 PM
dedicated govt servant who retired from the army and came back when the brother became president....what a cliche via DM Android App
KP Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:38 PM
"Q. Are you planning to take any legal action against these allegations that are being levelled against you?A. No, it is a useless endeavour." How can a thief take legal action?
Riz Friday, 13 February 2015 03:59 PM
yes you are true.. to replace you either hitler or Ariel sheron has to come again on earth. Atleast now u shut up ur mouth for new Govnt to develope da country.
Aba Jayasekera Saturday, 14 February 2015 02:20 PM
He has certainly made the City beautifyl. No one else did this before anbI doubt whether anyone else will do this after.
brainmaster Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:47 PM
Looks as you guys had gone to Alice Springs and got there a sunstroke...
Draconian Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:48 PM
You would have gone for a LONG LONG WALK if he had interest in YOUR HOUSE OR BUSINESS ACTIVITIES. That is the sort of man he was.
Draconian Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:51 PM
Many people lost their Homes and BUsiness to this man. He is also the architect and Patron of the BBS and its activities. It is indeed very strange that NOT ONE QUESTION was asked
Maidan Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:22 AM
Please do not blow your own Trumpet.. No one is indispensable sir..
k.wanigasekara Thursday, 12 February 2015 02:56 PM
Such men come only far apart and when they are not around anymore will people start thinking about their mistake.
Lanka Society Queensland Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:28 AM
We dearly miss your courages and honest work!
chandra Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:31 AM
Thank you very much for the work done for the country. I admire the vision you have on our country. It does not matter you hold US passport. Even Sri Lankan passport holders are ruining the country day by day.
Romeo Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:33 AM
already replaced. Hope you know
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