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 Post subject: Multi-billion rupee USA Visa racket in Sports ministry
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:01 am 
Multi-billion rupee USA Visa racket in Sports ministry
Alaska job scam: Jeevan’s statement yet to be recorded

@ Sunday Times / March 19, 2006

Police are yet to record the statement of Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga, who had confirmed that he permitted his Ministry office to be used by supporters to provide foreign jobs which has now turned out to be a multi-billion rupee job scam.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandra Fernando confirmed to The Sunday Times that the investigations were continuing, but declined to elaborate as to why Mr. Kumaratunga had not been questioned.

“The investigation process is continuing”, he said when asked whether a statement from Minister Kumaratunga had been recorded. The prospective job seekers and their families continued their efforts to recover the millions of rupees paid to the Minister’s supporters. Seventy nine persons had paid money, varying from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 900,000 to travel to Anchorage in Alaska.

Eight of the youth were detained at the Bandaranaike International Airport on February 23 as their visas were found to be forged. Meanwhile, the main culprit involved in the racket and currently reportedly living in Nigeria, had called several persons in Colombo and claimed that it was not his fault that the visas had been forged and that they were duped by a Nigerian agent.

However he had not explained as to why they obtained visas from Nigeria when those travelling were Sri Lankan passport holders and could have obtained visas from Colombo.


Alleged US visa fraud mastermind held in Nigeria

@ The Island / 23MAR2006

Sea-food exporter Upali Karunaratne accused of masterminding the recently exposed US visa scam in which Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga’s name transpired, last night denied any wrongdoing on his part.

Speaking to The Island from Nigeria, Karunaratne said that he was in touch with the Nigerian police and the US Consulate in Lagos investigating the scam. Fielding questions, he claimed that a US company which offered job opportunities to a group of Sri Lankans directed him to a Nigerian Immigration Consultant. ‘The Nigerian was introduced as their recruiting agent responsible for securing work permits and Visas,’ he said.

‘When asked as to why we cannot get visas from the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, we were told that the US employer obtained the approval for the Nigerian consultant to secure work permit and visas through the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria,’ he said.

He claimed that he submitted the complete correspondence with the Nigerian consultant to Nigerian and Sri Lankan authorities. According to him the main culprit is in Nigerian custody and he confessed his role in the scam. The police recovered a substantial amount of USD from his account.

According to him Minister Kumaratunga opened a special unit in his Ministry to explore employment opportunities for youth locally and internationally managed and implemented under the supervision and directions of Asoka Kotalawala.

‘Since my Company is engaged in Seafood processing and exports, and as I have a large number of clientele around the world in seafood industry, I received an inquiry for employment of 79 youth in a seafood-processing factory in the U.S. We channeled this opportunity to send Sri Lankan youth for work in the U.S. through a foreign employment agency registered with the Foreign Employment Bureau,’ Karunaratne said.

Karunaratne emphasised that the China Airline staff issued the required air tickets only after verifying the authenticity of visas with the US embassy in Colombo. He said that passports stamped with the US visas were handed over to the China Airline for this purpose. The US bound workers were arrested on February 23 at the BIA even after boarding passes were issued, he said, adding that Asoka Kotalawala, who was at the airport to assist workers, informed him of the situation over the phone. ‘I was furious to hear such news as to the best of our knowledge the visas were genuine as we were advised by the China Airline. And I advised Kotalawala to appear before the C.I.D. at the airport and explain. He was, arrested together with passengers,’ he said.

He dismissed reports that he fled the country using a forged passport. ‘I am using my original, legitimately issued passport and I left on January 19, 2006 by Emirates flight EK 559 and my passport is being stamped by an immigration officer who was on duty bearing 155, a copy of the stamped page has been sent to C.I.D Headquarters in Colombo.’

‘We honestly embarked on this U.S. employment project thinking this will help our Sri Lankan youth but it turned out to be a scam in the hands of Nigerian fraudsters,’ he claimed.


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 Post subject: 11 including Minister’s staff remanded over US visa scam
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:42 pm 
11 including Minister’s staff remanded over US visa scam

@ Wimal Keerthi / The island 05APR2006

Eleven suspects who included three members of the staff of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister were remanded by the Negombo Magistrate in connection with the US visa scam, on a report filed before Additional Magistrate Miss. Aruni Attygala.

The CID reported to the Court that there was an organised group who was working with the knowledge of the Minister himself to send Sri Lankans to USA and members of the staff of the minister had taken steps to collect 800,000 rupees for each migrant to Alaska.

A suspect Indrakeerthi Sunil Dissanayaka Elibichchiya of the National Youth Service and the Sports Ministry told investigators that the Minister had instructed the suspect members of the staff not to charge anything more than 800,000 rupees from each prospective migrant,

The CID report also said the Minister had given instructions to some members of his staff to find suitable employment seekers to be sent to Alaska. A total of 6.5 million rupees had been charged from foreign visa seekers who responded, the report said.

The Magistrate ordered the suspects into remand till April 20 when the case will be taken up again, CID sources said.


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