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.