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Sajin Vass Gunawardena

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Sajin Vass Gunawardena

The Honourable
Sajin de Vass Gunawardena
MP
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Galle District
Personal details
Born (1973-05-02) 2 May 1973 (age 41)
Nationality Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Political party United People's Freedom Alliance
Spouse(s) Tiyana Dayanthie Anthonisz
Children Two
Residence Colombo, Sri Lanka
Alma mater Royal College, Colombo[1]

Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, MP (born 2 May 1973) is a controversial Sri Lankan businessmen and politician. He has been accused of and has been involved in several controversies ranging from fraud, criminal record, remand time, fraud bureau investigations, unpaid loans, spying, overstepping and unfulfilled promises. He was widely criticized for his role as CEO of Mihin Lanka and allegedly was responsible for bankruptcy and financial misfortune of the airline. A current member of Parliament of Sri Lanka,[2] he was the former CEO of Mihin Lanka government sponsored budget airline. He has also served as coordinating secretary on trade and foreign affairs to the President of Sri Lanka. Prior to entering parliament in 2010 he was a member of the southern provincial council.

Personal

Sajin's father (Abeydeera De Vass Gunawardena) was the Director General of BOI. Born in Sri Lanka, he attended the prestigious Royal College, Colombo. Sajin has reportedly been married thrice. His first wife was Charini Vilakshana de Silva. He is currently married to Tiyana Dayanthie Anthonisz.[3]

Some media reports suggest that by 2003, Sajin had been divorced thrice and wanted to get married the fourth time.[4]

Career

Early career

As per media reports, in 1995, Sajin started working as a Project Development Manager with the Grayline Group. He reportedly used his father's position to access BOI.[5] However, during an interview given to local magazine Business Today, Sajin said that he started working with Hayleys.[6]

Sajin attempted to join politics during his early working career and approached sitting Prime Minister's office for a position. He was however refused a place by Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister who was told that Sajin had a criminal track record. As per media reports, Ranil Wickremesinghe advised Sajin to clear his name first.

Sajin then migrated to Dubai to work with Trico and allegedly fell out with the management. It was during his stay in Dubai, the then Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapakse traveled to Dubai and Sajin happened to meet him and escorted him around in Dubai. Sajin subsequently returned to Colombo to join politics when asked by Mahinda Rajapakse.[5]

Political career

In 2010, Sajin contested and won elections from Galle constituency in Sri Lanka as a United People's Freedom Alliance candidate.[2] He has also served as coordinating secretary on trade and foreign affairs to the President of Sri Lanka. Prior to entering parliament in 2010 he was a member of the southern provincial council.

Controversies

Sajin has been accused of and has been involved in several controversies ranging from fraud, criminal record, remand time, fraud bureau investigations, unpaid loans, spying, overstepping and unfulfilled promises.[5] He was widely criticized for his role as CEO of Mihin Lanka and several allegations were made.

Tapes International irregularities

Interest default

In 1994, Sajin launched a company Tapes International Pvt Ltd in Free Trade Zone in Biyagama. He borrowed money from a couple (Wimalasiri and Shirani Fernando) to start the company but soon started default on the interest payments. Fernandos filed a case against Sajin in the district court of Colombo and demanded LKR 3.5 million as damages. Shirani Fernando later advised a newspaper that the case was concluded and the chapter was closed.[5]

10-day remand in Mahara remand prison

In 1997, a Korean company had invested in Tapes International. Koreans's became suspicious about the financial malpractices of Sajin and reportedly prepared to bring in lawyers from USA to sue Sajin. Sajin then brought investments from an Indian individual called Sharma. However, in year 2000, Sharma filed a complaint against Sajin in the Fraud Bureau. Subsequently, Sajin was remanded for a period of 10 days in the Mahara remand prison. He was later bailed by his father who later had to sell his house in Wijerama Mawatha to settle Sharma's dues.[5]

Account wiped out

Sajin approached his first wife's father to help him out financially and requested for LKR 600,000. Carlyle de Silva, former Senior Superintendent of Police, gave Sajin a blank cheque. Sajin wrote much enhanced amount and wiped out the account.[5]

Fraudulent sale of car

In 1996, Sajin sold a Mitsubishi Lancer car to Mano Nanayakkara & Lakmali Nanayakkara for a sum of LKR 850,000 and also issued a payment receipt. It was later discovered by the couple that the car was not owned by Sajin and that he had merely leased the car from a local car company. Sajin had also defaulted in rental payments for about four months.

Car company filed a police complaint against Nanayakkara as they were in possession of the vehicle. Nanayakkara in turn filed a complaint against Sajin who was asked to return the amount or face a jail term.[5]

Overseeing and Spying

In Feb 2006, Sajin traveled to Geneva to attend first round of peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government despite his name not featuring in any of the official lists. It has been alleged that He was sent there as a special emissary of the President himself to oversee and spy on the proceedings and the government players.[5]

Mihin Lanka

Sajin was the CEO of Mihin Lanka and was accused for mismanagement of the airline that lead to its bankruptcy. It has been widely reported that Sajin's mismanagement forced huge losses to Mihin Lanka, Sri Lankan government, Banks, creditors, fuel and oil marketing companies and loss of employment by several.[3] Reportedly Sajin misused his position in Mihin Lanka for personal gains and to that effect he appointed a company (in which his third wife was a director) in Singapore, as Passenger Sales Agent.[3]

In Jun 2008, owing to the financial problems, losses, mismanagement, controversies and irregularities in Mihin Lanka, Sajin was sacked from the post of CEO.[7]

Attack on Ranil Wickremasinghe

On 11th Jun 2013, opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe’s convey was attacked in Balapitiya. Ranil was visiting fishermen’s families who were victims of a recent natural calamity in Sri Lanka. Allegedly and as per Ranil, the attackers had received Sri Lankan government backing and that Sajin was responsible for this attack.[8]

Sajin begs forgiveness

Few days after the attack on the convey and Ranil’s subsequent allegation on Sajin for conspiring the attack, Sajin made a call to Ranil to convey his apologies and also asked for his forgiveness.[9]

References

External links

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