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Money laundering at SLRC?



Though Minister Bandula Gunawardana said that the agreement reached with Lyca Group to lease out the airtime of ‘Channel Eye’ owned by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) can be terminated with one month’s notice, it has been leased for a period of three months, internal sources at the SLRC said.

A company with a three-letter name has already given Rs.50 million to the SLRC and the amount has already been spent.

Out of this, Rs.25 million have been spent to settle the outstanding electricity bill of the SLRC.

Meanwhile, a cheque for another Rs.25 million has been given by the same company to be cleared in the future.

It was reported that Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe, a dual citizen who holds both the SLRC Chairman and Director General posts, has prepared all the arrangements in this regard.

One of the major accusations levelled against Lyca Group all over the world is money laundering and serious doubts have been raised whether more money has been given to SLRC to launder money.

Meanwhile, the SLRC Chairman has informed the staff to be ready to give the amount of Rs.50 million back to the same company.

However, Prasad had leased out Channel Eye to Lyca last February when a tender was called and two applications have been submitted to lease it out.

It was said that Lyca Group was not among the institutions that submitted the applications.

Nethra TV given instead of Channel Eye

Although Dr. Samarasinghe had informed the Minister and others that Channel Eye had been leased out, it has now been revealed that Lyca has actually been given the frequencies of Nethra TV, which covers the entire country.

The reason for doing so is that the frequencies of Channel Eye do not cover the entire country.

Samarasinghe escapes to China

Meanwhile, it was said that Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe left the country last night (15) in order to alleviate the situation in the event the relevant agreement could not be approved by the Cabinet.

He has gone abroad for trivial reasons such as signing contracts for some free video programmes given by Chinese TV.

Although previously the head of the programme and the head of the unit related to the programme usually participate in these events, this time Dr. Prasad and his close associate Mothilal Hiswella (Head of the International Affairs Unit) have attended the event much to the displeasure of the SLRC workers.

The absurd situation is that even now the programme facilities are available at the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka which is about 500 meters away from the SLRC premises. The agreement could have been signed online though the two officers have left for China to sign it.

Sources from China said that the Chinese television has organised this tour on the strong demand of the SLRC.

It was said that Prasad and Mothilal have gone abroad despite Sumedha, the head of the programme, and Vajira Kumari Withanage, the head of the dubbing department, having expressed their opposition to this.


Rocky successfully carries out ‘call termination’ racket




Local phone service providers including Telecom and Mobitel as well as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) are losing a colossal amount of revenue due to a ‘call termination’ racket operating in Sri Lanka, it was reported.

Agencies conducting investigations into the matter have received information that one such racketeer earns as much as Rs.02 – 05 million per day.

It was reported that these racketeers earn this amount by redirecting over 100,000 minutes of IDD calls in a single day.

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC is equipped with the technology to detect this kind of call termination scams and has also set up a separate unit called the ‘Fraud Management Unit’ solely for this purpose.

This unit, which is currently operating under the networking division, is said to have been well-functioning when it was under the financial division.

Senior officials reportedly shirked from launching investigations into these racketeers by citing the arrival of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, IMO, Viber and Messenger as the reason for these daily revenue losses.

Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that the racket is currently being largely operated by an individual named ‘Rocky’ who is originally from Gampola and has now settled in Colombo.

Investigations revealed that Rocky is pretending to be an UK national and uses a phone number registered in England.

Apart from this, he is also said to be involved in Undiyal transactions.

He has been arrested by the police in connection with this fraud on a previous occasion as well.

According to security forces, those involved in this racket continue to do so again even after being reprimanded, as the relevant fine is as low as Rs.10,000.

Security forces also note that since such racketeers also support terrorist activities, questioning them under detention orders would enable them to weed out this racket altogether.

Heads of mobile phone service providers allege that the arrest of such traffickers keep getting delayed due to the lukewarm reaction by the investigation departments.

Meanwhile, former chairpersons of service providers, former cricket players and former presidential secretaries have also been accused by the media of being involved in this racket.

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Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn




The Walasmulla Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a Beedi businessman was kidnapped and assaulted before forcefully taking Rs.1 million from him.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26. A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Unit had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

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Test kits ordered to detect ‘Nipah’ virus




Steps have been taken to import special test kits needed for the detection of ‘Nipah’ virus, the Health Ministry said.

Special test kits recommended by the World Health Organization have been ordered to detect the virus and they are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in a few days.

Commenting further, Virologist Dr. Janaki Abeynayake said that no specific treatment or vaccine has been developed globally for patients infected with Nipah virus.

However, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige said that there is no high risk of the virus spreading among countries since the virus spreading pace is slower.

The Ministry requested the public not panic over the virus that has been reported in several countries including India.

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