The Finance Ministry has learnt that Minister Johnston Fernando has managed to take away millions of rupees earned by him through irregular means to Singapore last week.
Fernando who was on an official visit to Thailand last week made a stop over in Singapore to invest the monies and to meet with Malaysian racketeer Tyon. He had spent eight hours in Singapore. Although Fernando was scheduled to meet with former Thai Premier Thakshin Shinawatra in Singapore, the meeting had been postponed after news about it was leaked to the media.
One of the Minister’s close confidantes who has been accused of money laundering named Rizly Illiyas also known as Dida had also participated in the trip. Illiyas is also the Secretary of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.
Dida had arrived at the VIP Lounge of the Katunayake Airport with the Minister and Fernando had stopped the Customs officials who had tried to check two bags Dida had carried with him. Fernando had said the bags were his.
Although the Customs officials had informed a senior Airport official that the two bags contained money, the Customs officers had been advised to allow the bags to be taken out without going into an unwanted confrontation.
The CID had already asked Dida to come to the Department to make a statement about a similar incident where he had allegedly taken monies out of the country in an illegal manner and Minister Fernando had immediately spoken to the Defence Secretary and asked for more time for Dida to prepare the required documents. Fernando had asked that Dida be given a period of one month to make a statement to the CID.
Fernando is one of the UNP defectors who has managed to become a millionaire in a short period in the government.