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Anika Wijesuriya has fled country due to threats

Anika Wijesuriya, a key witness who had testified before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the treasury bond scam, has fled the country due to receiving threats to her life.

This was revealed to the commission today (17) by President’s Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda, Additional Solicitor General at Attorney General’s Department, during the hearing held this morning.

Wijesuriya, a director of East - West Properties, had given evidence to the bond commission that the lease of the penthouse apartment used by former Minister Ravi Karunanayake was paid by Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd.

Karunanayake’s name had initially figured into the controversial Central Bank treasury bond scam investigations through this testimony.

Testifying before the commission, she had stated that the apartment which is owned by her was leased at a monthly rental of Rs 1.45 million to the Karunanayake family last year.

The lease agreement reportedly amounted to Rs 7.3 million while an additional Rs.1.4 million was paid by cash. She stated that the lease agreement was reached with a company to which the Rs.7.3 million was transferred by the Perpetual Capital Holdings Pvt Ltd, to be paid to her.

Wijesuriya also said that the Karunanayake family had later expressed willingness to buy the apartment and settled on a price of Rs.165 million. She said that Global Transportation and Logistics Pvt Ltd, a company in which the minister’s wife and daughter were directors, purchased the apartment in September 2016.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate and inquire into the issuance of Treasury Bonds had issued summons on the minister to appear before the commission on July 26 in order to testify.

On August 02, the minister presented himself before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and testified for nearly five hours, during which he was questioned regarding the luxury penthouse in Colombo.

The commission subsequently asked the minister whether he did not know that a company headed by Mr Aloysius had paid a sum of Rs 1.45 million as monthly rent for the luxury apartment which the minister had moved into in 2016.

The minister stated that he was not aware of this at the time and that he inquired from his family members regarding this following a questioned raised in parliament by MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage in 2016.

The minister stated that he later found out that the place was rented out though another party as its owner Anika Wijesuriya did not want to rent it to a politician. However, during a testimony previously provided to the commission, Anka Wijesuriya had stated that she had no issues with directly renting it to Ravi Karunanayake.

Under pressure to resign over the allegations leveled against him, Karunanayake stepped down as Minister of Foreign Affairs on August 10.