Sri Lanka minister unaware of tampered guns

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s outgoing law and order minister Tilak Marapana said he was unaware of ‘tampered” weapons aboard a floating armoury of his client Avant Garde which triggered his resignation ahead of his unceremonious sacking.

Marapana told reporters at his Nugegoda home that Avant Garde operation was above board and the company handled only legitimate weapons, some of which belonged to the governments of at least three European nations.

The minister, who resigned shortly before his cabinet colleagues went into a meeting to discuss his fate, said he represented Avant Garde and reiterated his defence of his client.

However, when asked if his case was undermined by the Sri Lanka navy’s audit of weapons aboard a second floating armoury of Avant Garde, Marapana said he was unaware of the findings.

An audit of weapons found that there were 59 tampered guns aboard Avant Garde’s armoury, also of the same name. The serial numbers of the weapons had been erased or obliterated to disguise the origin of the weapons. It is illegal to use such weapons anywhere in the world.

"I don’t know anything about the second ship. I don’t want to talk about it," Marapana said when asked why he thought Avant Garde had stored such illegal weapons.

The second floating armoury was seized by the navy on October 5 and the police were immediately informed. It was the police who initiated an inquiry and although Marapana was in charge of the police for over a month till his resignation today, it is shocking that he was unaware of the findings.

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