Sunday, December 20, 2009

Telephone-gate showcases Foneska ‘corruption’ - JARAWA Kanno Jarawa Bonno

Colombo, 20 December, (

Two Faces: Corrupt & DeceptiveGen Sarath Fonseka, who has entered the presidential fray on an anti-corruption platform, misused the official satellite phones to make personal overseas calls to the US in particular and used Army Welfare Fund to settle the bills, Asian Tribune investigations show.

Telephone-gate, as the scam is described in army circles, related to the period when the General was posted to Jaffna and Vanni as a Major General and amounted to between Rs. 2 million and Rs. 2.7 million. Mangal Samaraweera as the posts and telecommunication minister of the day ‘gifted’ an Inmarsat Satellite phone to the General to remain in touch with Colombo from Jaffna

Asian Tribune understands that General Fonseka did not surrender the Satphone when he was transferred out of Jaffna on the orders of the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe to Vanni and that he had taken the phone to his new place of posting. This deprived his successor Maj Gen A. Wijendra of the Satphone facility, as overall forces commander in Jaffna.

This is not the first time that the Telephone-gate has come up front.

The Sunday Leader, a weekly not known to be friendly to the Rajapaksas, reported the issue on its 30 July 2001 issue under the heading ‘SLA officer accused of misusing satellite phone’. It said the highest number of calls he made through this phone was to the United States of America, the duration of one call being a whopping 110 minutes and 48 seconds that cost Rs.33, 793.84.

The Sunday Leader also gave the following breakdown of the bills for the period from July to December 2000 saying it has in its possession the ‘invoices’ addressed to the Commander of the Army, Army Head Quarters.

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