Sri Lanka’s top spies work for foreign interests after retirement

ECONOMYNEXT – The heads of Sri Lanka’s most controversial intelligence units implicated in several high profile politically-motivated murders have landed lucrative jobs with foreign organisations, official sources said.

The former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) major general  Kapila Hendavitharana is a security consultant to the Shangri-la hotels group which opens its first Sri Lanka hotel yesterday.

"Open Up to a World of Wonder where stories unfold and memories are made," said the hotel’s website announcing the opening of their Hambantota property where Hendavitharana has been involved.

Earlier last month, the retired major general was questioned in connection with the 2012 murder of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen. Several men who worked under Hendavitharana have also been arrested in connection with the killing of editor Lasantha Wickramatunga.

A top police official said Hendavitharana was likely to be questioned in connection with several other high profile cases too where the DMI is implicated such as the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Hendavitharana, who was the Chief of national Intelligence (CNI) at the time of his retirement, has not been named an accused in any of the cases, but police sources said investigations were yet to be completed and they were also looking at several people smuggling cases where the DMI’s involvement is suspected.

President Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest at the opening of Shangri-La at Hambantota. Shortly after President Sirisena cut a ribbon and declared open the 300-rommed resort, a fire gutted a structure near the pool. The hotel said the fire was caused by sparks from the fireworks display which was part of the opening festivities. A police investigation is underway.

In the meantime, the former head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) which during the former regime carried out political spy work for members of the regime, Chandra Nimal Wakishta has also found a job at JICA.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has employed Wakishta as a security consultant after he campaigned for former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory in Kurunegala at the August parliamentary elections.

Wakishta had a chequered career in the police having once been accused of extra judicially killing the gunman who killed charismatic film star-turned-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga.





His widow Chandrika Kumaratunga went onto become president in 1994 and under her rule Wakishta, despite not being formally accused of wrong doing, was side-lined for preventing further investigations to get those who ordered Vijay’s killing.

With two of the top spies under Rajapaksa regime now working for foreign organisations in the country, official sources said the attention of the administration has been drawn to preparing guide lines for officers in sensitive positions after they leave the service. There was a discussion about the need for a "quarantine period" before top officials in sensitive jobs can work for private or foreign entities. (COLOMBO, June 2, 2016)

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