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Rs.12,260mn in bank accounts of Pastor Jerome & wife

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the court that over Rs. 12 billion had been received by the personal accounts of Pastor Jerome, the accounts of his private firm, the accounts of his church and that of his wife Melanie Diane Vanculanberg in 12 state and private banks.

This was stated in the reports submitted by the CID based on the search operations conducted from July 7 to 12 on Frederic Christopher Jerome Fernando, also known as Pastor Jerome, who is alleged to have criticized several religions and beliefs by damaging the harmony among different communities and religions.

It was reported that Rs. 6.1 billion has been spent to establish the Miracle Dome located at Veyangoda Road, Katunayake where Pastor Jerome delivered his sermons.

The CID informed the Court that investigations are being conducted under the Money Laundering Act regarding how the money was received.

It is also mentioned in the report that 10 sermons had been held at the Miracle Dome from last March to May and two unedited CDs had been taken into custody.

The statement of Sachin Dhanushka Punchihewa, head of the media of that church, has been recorded.

Ashel Menaka Fernando, another employee, had said that the CCTV footage was not available at that time and that it would be provided immediately.

However, the CID had not received the footage so far. Therefore, the CID asked the Court to issue a notice to Sachin Dhanushka Punchihewa since he is deliberately concealing the evidence needed for this investigation.

Also, on July 18, the King’s Revival Church, which is said to be owned by Pastor Jerome, was searched based on the search warrant obtained from the Court and the report was submitted by the Police.

The report stated that Pastor Jerome had been preaching in all three languages since 2001 there and had 1,200 permanent members.

K.R.A.C. Kulasekara, the guardian of the church, has said that the sermons had not been recorded.

It was also informed that a place in Menerigama, Mount Lavinia was also inspected.

The members of Jamiatul Ulama Organization of Marandagahamula, Kalmunai, have volunteered to give a statement regarding the remarks made by the Pastor.

Jamiatul Ulama Chairman P.M.S.A. Ansar Mawlana has stated that Pastor Jerome had made hateful statements about Islam and its devotees, CID reported.

The CID asked permission to record statements from Ruwani Niwanthika, an organizer of the pastor’s organization, Mahendraraja Mayurathan of Ukulankulama, Vavuniya, Colombo 2 resident Mohammad Aslam Osman, Moratuwa resident Gayathri Sanjeewa, the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs and the Directors of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian Religious Affairs Departments.

Accordingly, the Magistrate gave permission to record statements after considering the CID request.

Investigations conducted by the CID have revealed that millions of rupees have been exchanged through the bank accounts belonging to Pastor Jerome and others and orders were requested for further investigations in this regard.

On May 15, the CID filed a report in the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court and asked for a foreign travel ban against Pastor Jerome. It was granted, but the suspect pastor had already left for Singapore the previous day (May 14).

Based on a complaint made by the Executive Director of the Buddhist Information Center Ven. Angulugalle Sirivijayananda Thera to the Inspector General of Police, investigations are being carried out by the Digital Forensic Laboratory of the CID.

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Election Commission invites tenders for election stationery

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The Election Commission has announced a call for tenders to procure essential stationery, including indelible ink, for the upcoming election. 

The required items include photocopy and printing paper, printed and data-printed envelopes, pens, pencils, carbon paper, staplers and stapler pins, calculators, and other necessary supplies for the election process. 

Tenders will be opened on August 2nd under the national competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile, Deputy Postmaster General Rajitha Ranasinghe stated that preparations for the Presidential Election are ongoing despite a staff shortage. 

He confirmed that 8000 mail delivery staff will be deployed for relevant tasks. 

However, the Election Commission and relevant authorities have been informed about the staffing issue.

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Sri Lanka announces squad for home series against India

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Sports Minister Harin Fernando has approved the 16-member squad for Sri Lanka’s upcoming home series against India, with Charith Asalanka named as the Captain.

The squad includes notable players such as Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, and Chamindu Wickremesinghe.

India’s tour of Sri Lanka will feature a three-match T20I series followed by a three-match ODI series.

**Sri Lanka’s 16-member squad:**

1. Charith Asalanka – Captain
2. Pathum Nissanka
3. Kusal Janith Perera
4. Kamindu Mendis
5. Dasun Shanaka
6. Wanindu Hasaranga
7. Mahesh Theekshana
8. Matheesha Pathirana
9. Nuwan Thushara
10. Dunith Wellalage
11. Dushmantha Chameera
12. Binura Fernando
13. Dinesh Chandimal
14. Avishka Fernando
15. Chamindu Wickremesinghe

ODI Series at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
– August 2
– August 4
– August 7

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Hospital to be established at Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya

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The Health Ministry has announced plans to construct a peripheral hospital within the Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya premises to serve the large number of devotees and nearby communities.

A special discussion on this initiative was recently held at the temple, led by the Chief Incumbent, Ven. Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thera. 

The Chief Incumbent highlighted the temple’s significant daily visitor count of around 1,000 devotees, which swells to over 50,000 on Poya days and exceeds 100,000 during Poson and Esala Poya days. 

Currently, devotees who fall ill are transported to Polonnaruwa Hospital, a process that will be significantly eased with the new hospital.

Under the Health Ministry’s directives, two ambulances from Polonnaruwa General Hospital have been stationed at the temple to assist sick devotees. 

The new hospital will provide much-needed relief to the local villages of Sungawila, Katuwanwala, Galkanda, and Kandakadu.

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala outlined the facilities of the new hospital, which will include an outpatient department, an emergency treatment unit, male and female wards, and residential quarters for doctors and health staff. 

This hospital will function as an affiliate of Polonnaruwa General Hospital, with staff being deployed from the main hospital.

A special Cabinet paper for the hospital’s construction is set to be presented, with an allocation of Rs.100 million for the project this year.

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