Shaddick Exposes Gammanpila
by Nirmala Kannangara (Sunday Leader)
Brian Shaddick giving astonishing evidence in High Court No: 5 claimed Gammanpila defrauded him to the tune of over Rs. 119 million using a fraudulent power of attorney
Shaddick said that if not for the change of government in 2015, this massive fraud would have not been exposed
As the business with Sydney Jayasinghe was prospering, Shaddick’s family- wife and children had visited Sri Lanka met the Jayasinghe family and had agreed to start a business here
Startling evidence has been revealed in courts against Joint Opposition member and Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Udaya Prabath Gammanpila by his onetime boss over a massive fraud.
Australian Businessman Brian Shaddick who was in Sri Lanka early this month giving astonishing evidence in High Court No: 5 claimed Gammanpila defrauded him to the tune of over Rs. 119 million using a fraudulent power of attorney. The trials of case number HC 8395 had to be suspended as Shaddick fell sick and had to be hospitalized for 12 days. However, the dates for the trails were re-scheduled for September 18, 20 and 22 giving more time for the petitioner to get necessary medical treatment in Australia.
In addition to this the case in High Court No: 5, yet another case HC 8394 has been filed in High Court No: 3 against Gammanpila and Sydney Jayasinghe, Brain Shaddick’s one time business partner in Sri Lanka for defrauding Shaddick for well over Rs.400 million. Meanwhile two more complaints have been lodged against the MP by Shaddick and are now under investigation. “Once the investigations are over, indictments will be served against Gammanpila once again and there will be no room for him to get away from the legal net,” Lasitha Perera, who holds Brain Shaddick’s power of attorney said.
Gammanpila is accused of selling 4.1 million shares of Pan Asia Bank worth of Rs. 119 million owned by Digital Nominee, an Australian Company owned by the Shaddick family. The case which was taken up for trial early this month was postponed for September as Shaddick suddenly fell sick and had to go back to Australia for further treatments.
When The Sunday Leader met Brian Shaddick and his wife Jennet at Cinnamon Red just before they left Sri Lanka for further treatments, Shaddick said that if not for the change of government in 2015, this massive fraud would have not been exposed. “We knew that Gammanpila was working hand in glove with the former President of Sri Lanka and whatever legal action taken against him would not see the light of the day. Since I am away I gave my power of attorney to Lasitha Perera who is looking after my interest here. After the fall of the previous government, Lasitha lodged a complaint against Gammanpila and I too came and lodged two complaints against him which are to be taken up in September for trails. In addition two more complaints were lodged this time against Gammanpila for defrauding me in two of my other businesses- Ceylon Tea Garden and Metal Recyclers Colombo which the SIU has now commenced investigations and recorded my statement before I leave the country,” Shaddick said.
Although Shaddick was planning to stay in Colombo until June till the trials are over, he had to get himself admitted at Asiri Surgical Hospital under Dr. Anuja Somaratne for Necrotizing Fasciitis. “This is a rare disease and I was in hospital for 12 days. I am having pain and have to take further treatments. Hence I have to get back to Australia immediately,” Shaddick added.
According to Shaddick, the reasons for the troubles he is now undergoing was because he trusted Sydney Jayasinghe who was introduced to him by an official at the Australian High Commission in Colombo.
“I was introduced to Sydney Jayasinghe and since he was looking out to start a business I wanted him to get involved in a business in Sri Lanka. Since I was having my own company in Perth –Perth Metal Company and had lot of contacts all over the world, I sent 15,000 Australian Dollars (AUD) to Jayasinghe wanting him to purchase copper from the local market and export to a company known to me in India. Jayasinghe followed my instructions and we got a profit of 10,000 AUD. I sent him his share profit and we slowly built up the business. However I knew that I had taken a commercial risk by entering into a verbal contract with Sydney Jayasinghe but since the money I sent was used solely to develop the business, I did not suspect Jayasinghe until the worst happened to me,” Shaddick claimed. Since he started to trust Jayasinghe, Shaddick had decided to come to Sri Lanka and form a business and it was only at his arrival at the Colombo airport he understood how poor Jayasinghe was. “Jayasinghe was at the airport to receive me and I was taken to his old car with broken locks. When I got in, Jayasinghe took a rope and tied the door to the car. The car was almost falling into parts. I was in Colombo for five days and met his wife and two sons. They told me how poor they are and said how difficult it is for him to educate his son who was very bright. As I thought that Jayasinghe was humble and honest, I told them that I will spend for the son’s higher education and took him to Australia and enrolled him at Monash University. It was at Monash, Jayasinghe’s son Amila had got friendly with Gammanpila which friendship led to swindle me after they returned home completing their studies,” Shaddick said.
As the business with Sydney Jayasinghe was prospering, Shaddick’s family- wife and children had visited Sri Lanka met the Jayasinghe family and had agreed to start a business here.
“My wife believed that the Jayasinghes are genuine and formed Colombo Scrap Metal at Dutugemunu Road, Peliyagoda which started thriving gradually. Later we got this developed and became a BOI registered venture and got down shredded metal from UK, France, Germany, Holland and Italy to Sri Lanka. More than ten 40’ x 40’ containers of shredded metal came to Sri Lanka every month and got the labour force here, to separate copper, zinc, aluminum, ferrous and other kinds of metal, manually and re-exported each of them in separate containers to the world market which became a lucrative business. We then became a member of the Bureau of International Re-Cyclers. It was at this point I suspected Jayasinghe for spending money unnecessary. Once when I came here I was given a Mercedes Benz for my use. When I inquired, I came to know that using the BOI tax holiday, Jayasinghe had imported a Mercedes Benz and a Mitsubishi Pajero. When I am here only for few days what meant Jayasinghe to purchase a Benz for my use? Although I was told that the Benz was for my use, it was his family that used it,” Shaddick added.
According to Shaddick, it was during this time, Amila Jayasinghe and Udaya Gammanpila had returned to Sri Lanka and had introduced the latter to Sydney Jayasinghe. Gammanpila began working for Shaddick at his Colombo Scrap Metal Company as its Assistant General Manager (AGM), and was able to win his heart and established himself as a confidante of Shaddick, and became its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). It is from this point Gammanpila had allegedly began swindling Shaddick’s wealth.
“Gammanpila was offered the Assistant General Manager post and later became the CEO. I too believed that Gammanpila was good for the job and I allowed Jayasinghe- Gammanpila duo to continue in the business without any hindrance,” Shaddick claimed.
It was at this time Shaddick and Jayasinghe decided to list their BOI Company in the Colombo Stock Market and got the company’s name changed to Metal Re-Cyclers Colombo. By issuing shares, the company had earned US $ 4 million.
In order to invest more in Sri Lanka as his businesses were booming, Shaddick had purchased 4.1 million shares of Pan Asia Bank which had been later sold to Dhammika Perera and Vanik Incorporation by Gammanpila and Sydney Jayasinghe without Shaddick’s knowledge using a fraudulent power of attorney.
Knowing well that Shaddick’s Australian Company had purchased 4.1 million shares from Pan Asia Bank and also had several hundred millions of rupees worth of other assets, Gammanpila had got Shaddick to leave the country claiming Amila Jayasinghe had given a contract to kill him.
“When I came to Sri Lanka in May 1997, Gammanpila and Jagath Wijeratne who too worked for me, met me at the airport and drove me to the Hilton Hotel. Both Gammanpila and Jagath pleaded with me to leave Sri Lanka as Sydney’s son Amila had given a contract to kill me. I believed Gammanpila and wanted him to inform me of what was going on in Sri Lanka which never happened. It was only after several years that I found out how Sydney and Udaya were planning to steal all our assets. All our money in Pan Asia Bank was taken by Udaya with a false power of attorney. The ‘threat’ against me was obviously a scam set up by these two criminals who are engaged in frauds hiding behind his religion,” Shaddick said.
Although Shaddick was in Australia, he had been in constant contact with the Pan Asia Bank from the time he left Sri Lanka in May 1997. After seeing a Pan Asia Bank advertisement issuing shares, Shaddick had decided to sell his 4.1 million shares and had spoken to the company secretary in 2004. He was then informed that all his shares had been sold.
Shaddick had wanted the bank to inform him how the shares that had been bought under his company, Digital Nominee (Pvt) Ltd, had been sold without his approval. The bank had informed him that Gammanpila had sold the shares to two companies using Shaddick’s power of attorney given to Gammanpila. Sydney Jayasinghe was a Director at Pan Asia Bank at the time the fraudulent document had been accepted for the share transaction.
Meanwhile Shaddick alleged that Bogala Graphite which is owned by Sydney Jayasinghe had been purchased from the money that had been swindled and added as to how Gammanpila and Jayasinghe raised a loan to the amount of US $ 1 million from Bank of Ceylon mortgaging Shaddick’s assets in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile Lasitha Perera said how Gammanpila and Jayasinghe had shifted Metal Recyclers Colombo from Peliyagoda to Enderamulla after selling Digital Nominee shares and later sold the Peliyagoda property with the buildings therein for Rs.100 million.
“Since Shaddick was not residing in Sri Lanka, Gammanpila as the CEO together with Jayasinghe had showed the shareholders that Metal Recyclers Colombo was incurring losses and closed down the business fraudulently evading paying dividends to the shareholders. Shaddick had not been informed of the closure of the very profitable venture.
From Metal Recyclers Colombo alone, Gammanpila and Jayasinghe had allegedly swindled hundreds of millions of rupees. Later, Gammanpila and Jayasinghe had got Brian Shaddick’s name removed from the Board of Directors of Ceylon Tea Garden which too was owned by Shaddick, in order to sell the company.
“In the event a company is sold, a board resolution has to be taken. Since Shaddick would not give his permission to sell this company, Udaya Gammanpila had informed the registrar of companies that Brian Shaddick was no longer a director at Ceylon Tea Garden and requested that his name be removed from company documents. Later Gammanpila became an alternate director to Shaddick and together with the board of directors, sold the company to Metropolitan Resource Holdings,” Perera added. Although Perera was able to find out that Brombil Tea Factory Matugama had been sold for Rs. 190 million, so far he has not been able to find out for how much the company was sold to Metropolitan Resources Holdings. “Fifty per cent shares of Ceylon Tea Garden were owned by Shaddick and he had invested AUD 1 million. Out of the 4.1 million Pan Asia Bank shares 2.1 million shares had been sold to Vanik Incorporation soon after Shaddick left the country in 1997 and the rest, 2 million shares, to Dhammika Perera in 2002. Pan Asia Bank had accepted the fraudulent power of attorney and had not revealed the scam. From the time Shaddick left Sri Lanka, he had spoken to the Pan Asia Bank Secretary, but she had never informed him of the share transaction.
Sydney Jayasinghe was a director at Pan Asia and he is alleged to have helped Gammanpila to use the fraudulent power of attorney to sell the shares,” Perera alleged. According to Perera, although Gammanpila’s involvement in these massive scams started to unfold in 2004, neither Shaddick nor he (Perera) wanted to lodge a police complaint due to the country’s prevailing security situation. “Gammanpila was a supporter of the Rajapaksas and worked hand in glove with the then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Neither Shaddick nor I wanted to take a risk and waited in silence. It was only during the 2015 presidential campaign that I came forward and leveled these allegations to which Gammanpila responded that I was making false allegations and that he would take legal action against me. Up to now Gammanpila has never filed a lawsuit against me nor has he sent me a letter of demand but he was put behind bars for the fraud and doesn’t know what his fate would be after the trials re-commenced,” Perera claimed.
According to Shaddick, when the fraudulent power of attorney used by Gammanpila was sent to the Examiner of Questioned Documents (EQD) by the SIU, to ascertain the authenticity of Shaddick and his wife Janet’s signatures, it had been revealed that Janet Shaddick’s signature had been forged while Brian Shaddick’s signature had been cut and pasted.
Although a message was left with Udaya Gammanpila’s security officer with this reporter’s telephone numbers seeking a comment Gammanpila did not return the call nor send his side of the story till the paper went to press.
Meanwhile when contacted Sydney Jayasinghe for a comment regarding the allegations leveled against him for defrauding Brian Shaddick, Jayasinghe said that he does not want to make any comment as the matter is now before courts. “Legally it’s not correct for me to make any comment as there are cases pending on this matter,” Jayasinghe said.