Sarath Fonseka – The megalomaniac’s tryst with fame and flame
In our earlier report we presented facts on how the son-in-law of Gen Sarath Foneska, the then army commander, made blood money with every bullet and shell fired by the army in the Wanni war.
We also published photographs showing how the honourable gentleman lavishly spent the blood money he had earned under the veneer of a patriot with the willing connivance of the ‘Great Soldier’.
Interestingly, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched his humanitarian campaign to liberate the Tamils as well as the country from the clutches of Prabhakaran and his separatist terrorist goons, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the then Army Commander was not in the country. He was out in Singapore, getting medication.
On his return home, he got himself immersed in a battle against not only with the LTTE but also with the innocent Tamil civilians. And the Tamil Tigers greeted him by sending a pregnant woman suicide cadre.
The symbolism in the Tiger’s act is something that cannot be missed. It is known in military circles by then that Gen Fonseka had upon the virginity of the dozens of women soldiers and made them pregnant. He also fathered children by molesting several innocent Sinhala women soldiers who worked under him.
As army commander, Fonseka instead of winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils living in the war zone harassed them. He made innocent Tamils run along with the Tiger cadres from Mannar to Mullaitivu.
When the battle was raging Fonseka left on a holiday to China on 11 May. The trip was sponsored by a leading Chinese arms manufacturer, China North Industries Corporation, NORINCO. The entire family joined him in the holiday. Wife Anoma, two daughters Aspara, Aparna and the son-in law cum arms dealer Danuna Tilakaratne stayed with the General along with his ADC and a few other relatives and friends.
NORINCO played the role of host to perfection. It provided the Air Tickets. When Sarath Fonseka’s Party landed in China, the factory representatives received him with full honours that are reserved to a privileged few.
Sarath Fonseka and his ‘group’ were conducted on a sightseeing tour of Chongquing city and Xian where they saw the terracotta warriors, the Great Wall of China as well to the Olympic stadium.
Our information is that during this visit, the General received a fat cheque towards the services he had rendered to please his hosts – bulk orders for military hardware for which he was responsible. The goodwill money shorn of all honorific is pure and unadulterated commission, kick back.
Asian Tribune investigations show that the Arms dealer son-in-law used the occasion of the visit to China at the invitation of NORINCO to meet its rival, Poly Technologists. Danuna Tilakaratne met the Poly Technologists representatives with the full knowledge and blessings of his father-in-law. The meeting was a hush-hush affair. It resulted in some orders to Poly Technologists and the ordinance factory was asked to quickly ferry the ordered weapons to Sri Lanka. Poly Technologists also is rumoured to have showered the Sri Lanka Star general and his starry son-in-law with its version of goodwill money.
All these discreet arms deals took place when the Sri Lankan forces - Army, Navy and air force were engaged in a pitched battle with the Tiger terrorists in Wanni.
The holiday party lingered on in mainland China for a little while. By the time the General and his family and friends returned home with spirits rejuvenated, Sri Lanka’s war against terrorism on its very own soil ended by the 18 May.
During the final stages of the war, as the army commander was not on hand, the Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa along with Vanni Commander and other forces commanders steered the campaign that culminated in the elimination of Pribakaran and his terrorists group.
Asian Tribune learns Sarath Fonseka used to long for power and authority like a megalomaniac.
As commander of the army, he used to beseech the Defence secretary to vest with him the authority of controlling the Navy, Air Force and the Police. His argument was that such authority would give him the freedom to marshal all resources for effective deployment for best results in the war theatre. The Secretary to Defence refused to yield to Sarath Fonseka, thereby making him nurse a grievance against the Rajapaksas.
Army officers who worked with Foneska told Asian Tribune that the General always nursed the ambition of becoming supreme power in the country.
On May 18, Government of Sri Lanka declared that the humanitarian campaign to liberate the Tamils was over and by that time more than 280,000 innocent Tamil civilians who were held as human shield by Prabhakaran ended up as internally displaced persons at the welfare centres.
However, unbelievable it may be the truth is as Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka never visited any of the theatres of war when the battle was raging between the Sri Lankan forces and the Tamil Tigers. He never ventured out into the front line until Kilinochchi was liberated.
When the troops had pushed out Tamil Tigers from Kilinochchi, President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to visit the area on April 16, 2009. He wanted to celebrate the Sinhala and Hindu New Years with the troops stationed in Kilinochchi, IDPs and other civilians.
The President invited the Army Commander to accompany him. But Fonseka showed reluctance saying that the war with the LTTE was still raging and as such on and no risks should be taken. Army Commander lacked the courage to go to the frontline.
But the President kept his date with the front line. On his arrival at the proposed new hospital complex in the heart of Kilinochchi town on 16 April 2009, morning, the President and his entourage were received by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, and Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Roshan Goonatilake. The Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickaramratne was also present. He reached Kilinochchi a day ahead of President’s visit.
That was the first time General Sarath Fonseka set his foot in the war ravaged region.
Interestingly both when the war was declared and when the war ended, Gen Fonseka was no where in the scene. When President Rajapaksa declared war on the LTTE after the Mavil-Aru incident, the star general was away in Singapore. During the final days of the war, he was away in China with his arms dealer son-in-law collecting commission money and conniving with his son-law to order for another shipment of arms and ammunition.
On 20 August 2009, the Defence Secretariat was informed of the arrival of the Mechanized Vessel Lily from China with 206, 20ft containers and 3 containers of 40 ft with arms and ammunition from China. The arrival came as a surprise. After Mahinda Rajapaksa became the President, the practice adopted is to order and regularize imports of military hardware through Lanka Logistics.
Earlier the import orders used to be placed by forces commanders in a haphazard manner. Asian Tribune learns that Defence Secretary streamlined the import procedure and set up Lanka Logistics as the agency to handle all imports of military equipment.
Lanka Logistics is presently headed by Nimal Perera. He is a former Director of Noritake Lanka Porcelain. Jayanth Wickremasinghe is the Chief Executive of Lanka Logistics.
Normally arms and ammunitions are imported after asset drill and opening up of the Letters of Credit for the ordnance factory which would send the military hardware.
Instead of going through these procedures, MV Lilly arrived at Colombo Port from China with Poly Technologists’s hardware - RPGs’ artillery ammunitions, small arms ammunitions, and spares for artilleries.
According to Lanka Logistics they have not opened up the necessary Letter of Credit for the ‘cargo’ that came. This was the hardware that was indented during Gen Fonseka’s holiday to China. His son-in-law, who was on the holiday trip, is the agent of Poly Technologists.
According to the Defence Ministry there is no need for the Poly Technologists’s hardware that came aboard MV Lilly. The ship was accordingly sent back to China.
This decision created a big wedge in the relations between Sarath Fonseka and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who are good friends otherwise. In fact it was the Defence Secretary who promoted Fonseka. . It was because of Gotabya’s insistence President Rajapaksa appointed Fonseka as the commander in Chief.
Many generals don’t think Fonseka displayed any great talent in winning the Wanni war credit to Fonseka. A retired commander of the Army told Asian Tribune that any Commander would have successfully fought the battle against the Tamil Tigers if they were blessed with a determined political leadership like that of Mahinda Rajapaksa and a caring Defence Secretary like Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Fonseka Career – The Charges
Sarath Fonseka joined the army on Feb 5, 1970 and was commissioned on June 1, 1971. He was made Commander in Chief of the Sri Lanka Army on Dec 6, 2005.
He is crazy of women. Many women soldiers were molested. A case in point is of Nanda Menike. Sarath Fonseka repeatedly raped this woman solider and fathered two children. Before leaving from the Army he arranged pension and other benefits to her.
Asian Tribune is willing to arrange a genetic test to prove the charge.
As a Lieutenant, Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted and punished. The offence: rape of a domestic (servant woman) on 25 December 1975, at the Army Training centre in Diayatalawa.
Foneska was given a severe reprimand on Feb 20, 1976 (See the document).
The order (document) reads: “WOAS (Whilst On Active Service) being an officer of the Regular Force charged for the conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline that he on 25th December 1975 at the Army Training centre at the station officers mess Diayatalawa did become in a manner unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman and thereby punished under Army Act Section 129 (1).
Names of witnesses:
1. Lieut Ham Perrera 1/SLLI (O/ 50618)
2. 2/Lieut. C.J. Kottahachchi SL AOC O/50671
By S.C. Ranatunga Colonel.”
One has to recall the allegation made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her address to UN Security Council. She spoke about allegation of rape against the armed forces. Such allegations must have been prompted by ‘sexcapades’ of General Sarath Fonseka.
It was learnt that Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted for several offences during his career. He had a serious brawl at an airport once.
Fonseka: His rise and Fall
To accommodate Sarath Fonseka as the new Army Commander the Government retired the serving commander Lieutenant General Shantha Kotegoda by giving him a two-day notice.
Fonseka’s elevation as Army Commander took place when he was packing for his retirement due in another couple of weeks. His first annual extension of service was granted on 18 December 2005.
From that day onwards up to his retirement on Nov 12, 2009, Foneska received as many four extensions.
All because the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary of Defence were very considerate towards him.
The same Sarath Fonseka has now filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court, stating that “the President is entitled to a security force of 2000; the Defense Secretary has 500; former Navy Chief has 120 and the Army commander has a security detail of 600. While so much security officers are provided to them, Gen. Fonseka whose security detail was drastically curtailed has only 10 Commando soldiers, two unofficial security officers, 50 soldiers and a bullet proof vehicle”.
In his petition Sarath Fonseka requested the Court to direct the authorities to provide him with 600 soldiers, 10 vehicles and two bullet proof vehicles as security cover. His contention was that as an Army Commander he faced with the biggest threat from the LTTE and cut backs on his security after the war was won, is ‘unjustifiable and unreasonable’.
The retired general who has filed for his ‘fundamental’ rights has a dismal track record in respecting fundamental rights of others, particularly fellow generals particularly to his immediate predecessor, General Shantha Kottagoda (2004 to Dec 6, 2009).
Within two days of his retirement as Army Commander, General Shantha Kottagoda was evicted from his quarters at the Army Headquarters. Subsequently within a month he was driven out of the General’s House located at the Bullers Road. He was deprived of his personal body guards. He was left high and dry without any security cover. Remember General Shantha Kottagoda had also fought against the LTTE. He was also a Tigers’ target.
Fonseka, as army commander, also trampled on the security of some other former army chiefs as well. He called back all the security guards and vehicles provided to General L.P. Ballagalle (2000 to 2004), General C.S.Weerasuriya (1998 to 2000), General R.De. S. Dulwatte (1996 to 2000) and many retired senior generals of the Sri Lanka Army.
Because Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted on several occasions he was denied of the USB – Uthama Serva Pathakkam and also VSV Vishita Seva Vibushana.
Subsequently when he became the commander of the army he amended the regulation in respect of the award of USB in order to qualify himself for the award of VSV and subsequently recommended for himself these very honours and received the awards.
In 2002 when Sarath Fonseka was the Commandant of Jaffna, the Government decided to allow the Tamil land owners on a staggered basis to occupy their lands that came under security zone in the Jaffna Peninsula. But he refused to implement the order. He refused cooperation. The matter went up before Ranil Wickremasinghe, the then all-powerful Prime Minister.
Ranil moved Fonseka out of Jaffna and posted him as the Wanni Commander.
As Commander of Jaffna, Fonseka was provided with a satellite phone (Sat Phone) for communication purpose.
He used the Satphone for personal purposes mostly talking to his US based daughters and friends in foreign lands. He took it along with him when he moved to Vavuniya; he took along with him the satellite phone.
The Army wanted to court-martialled Fonseka for the abuse of the official telephone.
Fonseka’s Satphone bill was a staggering Rs. 8.5 million. He settled the bill after he became the commander of the army by drawing money from the Army Welfare Fund.
(To be continued)
- Asian Tribune -