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Did ‘Colossus’ factory owned by suicide bomber benefit?



Direct link between Colossus and largest spice exporter Ishana

Rs 63,708 mn worth of copper imports during yahapalana govt.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

SLPP National List MP Mohammed Muzammil yesterday (27) asked whether Colossus Copper Factory, Wellampitiya, under investigation for alleged funding of 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, had benefited from substantial copper imports during the 2015-2019 period, amounting to Rs. 63,708 mn.

Colossus owner Imsath carried out suicide attack on the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo. Lawmaker Muzammil of the National Freedom Front, a constituent of the SLPP, told The Island that the factory had also profited from large consignments of copper, provided by the previous government at concessionary rates without following proper tender procedures.

Muzammil pointed out that former Police Headquarters spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne was on record having accused the Wellampitiya factory of having funded suicide bombers.

Responding to another query, MP Muzammil said that having examined available information he had sought an explanation as regards copper imports from Money, Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal. 

State Minister Cabraal, responding to an oral question in Parliament yesterday (27) said that during the 2015-2019 period Sri Lanka had imported copper to the tune of Rs 63,708 mn.

The MP asked for a thorough investigation into what he called a conspiracy.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks has been informed how Shantha Bandara, the then Public Relations Director of former President Maithripala Sirisena, instructed the Industrial Development Board (IDB) to provide 500 tonnes of copper to Colossus. Shantha Bandara now represents the SLPP parliamentary group. Devika Liyanage, a Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, also directed the IDB to issue Colossus 1000 kilos of brass. IDB comes under the purview of the Trade and Commerce Ministry.

Muzamimil said that those who allowed the Colossus operation should be held accountable and made answerable to the public. He said that throughout the operation of Colossus since its inception in 2012, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and Vanni District lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen had served and the Minister of Commerce.

Muzammil said that the IDB should be able to provide a list of requests made on behalf of Colossus which employed foreign workers at the time of the Easter Sunday carnage.

Mohammad Yusuf  Ibrahim, the proprietor of Ishana Exports Pvt Limited, the parent company of Colossus is currently held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The police arrested Ibrahim within hours after the blasts for aiding and abetting his sons, Colossus owner Imsath and his brother Ilham, who carried out double suicide attacks on Shangri-La Hotel along with ring leader Zahran Hashim.

Ishana Exports, recognised as the largest spice exporter by the government, came into being in 1986.

Ibrahim was on the JVP National List at the 2015 general election.

Shangri-La bomber’s wife Fathima Jiffry triggered a blast to avoid being arrested after the police surrounded Ibrahim’s luxury residence at Dematagoda.

MP Muzammil said that even over one and half years after blasts killed 270 people, some of those who masterminded the project were still at large.

Responding to another query, Muzammil said that the primary focus of the ongoing investigation was the lapses on the part of the political and security apparatus.

Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has said all those who planned the operation should be brought to justice.


There’s nothing prescribed as Parliament has failed to enact legislation for contempt of court — Sumanthiran



TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran, in an intervention in Parliament, said he was privileged to appear for Ranjan Ramanayake, a clean, honest politician in the Supreme Court and he was proud of that.

Nevertheless, Ranjan Ramanayake was convicted and sentenced. The sentence of four years’ rigorous imprisonment was unprecedented and exceptionally severe, and Parliament has a responsibility in this regard because we have not enacted a law for contempt of court, the MP noted.

At the outset, he said, “I want to flag one or two issues concerning the responsibility of the Parliament in this regard. But before I do that I am bound by law and tradition to disclose my interest in the matter. I am the counsel who appeared for Hon. Ranjan Ramanayake in the Supreme Court”.

This has an implication to the article in the constitution that the Hon. Leader of the Opposition just mentioned because it says for an offense for which the prescribed punishment is two years or more. But there’s nothing prescribed, nothing prescribed in the law because for long Parliament has failed to enact legislation for contempt of court, the TNA MP said.

Although there had been in the public as well, a lot of instances where drafts have been made, we have not done that – that is one. And by failing to do that, it has been like the freedom of the wild ass; anything can be given as a sentence and that is not a good thing.  I don’t want to go into the merits of the case or anything like that, but in this case Parliament has to take steps, to enact a law, he further said.

English law is supposed to be the substantive law because we don’t have a statute law now, and in English law itself scandalizing the court is no longer an offence of contempt of court. But unfortunately the court disregarded that, and has misdirected itself – that’s my position, Sumanthiran continued.

“But I want to bring to your notice a serious lacuna in the law with regard to a statue for contempt of court that has resulted in this unprecedented injustice to an honest Member of Parliament”, he added.

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Colombo share market gallops to all time highs



The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) galloped last week with the benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) hitting an all time high on Monday and improving on that performance on subsequent trading days to close the week at 8,463 points on Friday. The more liquid S&P Index that normally trails the ASPI also gained sharply though less so than the benchmark index.

Brokers and analysts attributed the surge to prevailing low interest rates and said that people holding funds in fixed interest instruments have seen greater potential in the stock market and have so far not been proved wrong.

“Take the case of vehicle importers,” said one businessman. “With imports disallowed, cash that would have been once used to replenish inventory becomes available for investment elsewhere. The stock market is a magnet for such funds.”

Also, many companies have resorted to a share split strategy to make their shares both more liquid and more affordable on the market.

“Take the example of a fifty-rupee share split into two. Theoretically, it should then trade at Rs. 25 a share after the split. But often it does better than that at no cost to the company that had split the share because its stated capital remains what it was,” explained and analyst.

“It’s different in the case of bonus shares or scrip issues as they are called where reserves are capitalized to pay for the new shares priced at realistic values.”

Last week the Hayleys conglomerate announced share splits in over a dozen group companies. These ranged from each share being split into ten in the parent company (Hayleys) and thriving subsidiaries like Haycarb and Dipped Products while other companies like Kingsbury split a share into two.

Brokers and analysts said that the current market surge was largely driven by the Dhammika Perera controlled Hayleys and the Ishara Nanayakkara controlled LOLC groups.

Last week Hayleys announced over a dozen share splits including in its recently acquired Singer Group companies. The majority of these involved dividing each share into two though at Singer Sri Lanka each share will be split into three.

The biggest share split ever proposed is one that is pending at EB Creasy (EBC) where each share is to be split into 100. The seldom traded EBC share is quoted at the top end of the CSE sharelist. Analysts said the massive split is intended to pump liquidity into the share and make it more affordable.

“There’s a lot of retail play in the market right now with new investors who recently took some risk doing very nicely in this bull run,” a broker said.

The CSE hit rock bottom after a seven-week closure in March last year.



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Covid-19 has now spread geographically across SL



In small numbers to an extensive region

Pandemic situation in Western Province improves

by Suresh Perera

Though there are no big Covid-19 clusters at present, the dreaded virus has spread geographically across the country due to the unrestricted movement of people, a senior medical official said.

“The transmission of the contagion in small numbers to an extensive region was inevitable in a society which remains ‘open’ with inter-provincial travel happening on a daily basis”, says Dr. Hemantha Herath, Deputy Director of Public Health Services.

He said the spillover from the Western province was expected as there was an outflow of people to other districts particularly during the festive season.

“I am not blaming anybody, but a lockdown was not viable when taking into account the economic consequences and the livelihoods of the people. We could have imposed a curfew to restrict travel during the New Year, but we have to consider the fallout of such a measure”, he noted.

It true that geographically numbers have increased within a wide area, but the numbers are small and there are no big clusters as seen at Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda, the senior medical official explained.

Asked whether the pandemic has translated into a community spread as considerable positive cases continue to emerge on a daily basis, Dr. Herath replied, “no, that has not happened. If the Covid-19 situation was beyond control, we would have made a social and community transmission declaration”.

He said the pandemic situation in the Western province has improved with a dip in positive cases. However, the spillover is evident by the jump in figures at provincial level.

“We knew there was a risk, but we had to take it as locking down the country was not the solution

For example, if a Covid-19 patient infects two persons per day, there will be 200 positive cases within 100 days and one can imagine the critical situation that will emerge if the trend is allowed to continue, Dr. Herath continued.

“We are now managing under 1,000 cases per day”, he said, while assuring that the right mechanism is in place to identify positive cases through PCR and rapid antigen screening and place them under medical treatment, isolate and quarantine first contacts of patients”, he further said.

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