The B-report submitted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court in relation to case number B48037/01/2021 states that State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage has submitted the birth certificate bearing number 6553 to obtain a Sri Lankan passport, hiding the fact of her British citizenship as well as another birth certificate bearing number 4683 to obtain a diplomatic passport during her tenure as the Chairperson of the Ranminithenna Tele Cinema Village.
The CID has submitted the relevant B-report to the Colombo Magistrate in relation to the complaint lodged by social activist Oshala Herath claiming that Gamage had obtained an ordinary passport and a diplomatic passport by submitting false information to the Department of Immigration and Emigration and that she was illegally staying in Sri Lanka while holding British citizenship.
In the B-report, which was seen by The Daily Morning, the CID informed that it had carried out investigations to ascertain whether the Immigration and Emigration Department had issued a passport to Gamage. During the investigations, it was revealed that Gamage had obtained the passport bearing number N5091386 on 24 January 2014, by providing the National Identity Card (NIC) bearing number 658534300v and the birth certificate bearing number 6553.
In addition to that passport, she has been issued a diplomatic passport bearing number OL5654794 on 7 August 2018, by providing the NIC bearing the aforesaid number and the birth certificate bearing number 4683. A request made by then-Finance and Media Ministry’s Additional Secretary Ramani Gunawardena dated 27 March 2018 to the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration and a letter issued by then-Finance and Media Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga has also been submitted to obtain the said diplomatic passport.
The B-report also contains statements made by several serving and retired public officials from institutions such as the Department of Immigration and Emigration, the Department of the Registration of Persons, the former Finance and Media Ministry and the Divisional Secretariat (DS) Office in Thimbirigasyaya, regarding the issuance of passports to Gamage and her birth certificates and NICs.
Deputy Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Champika Piyari Dinushan Ramawickrama, in his statement to the CID, has said that Gamage has applied for Sri Lankan passports while using two British passports, bearing numbers 521398876 and 094425352. He had stated that she had obtained the passport bearing number N5091386 by providing the birth certificate bearing number 6553, and the NIC bearing number 658534300v, in order to hide her British citizenship, and instead demonstrate that she is a Sri Lankan citizen. In addition, he has said that Gamage had obtained the diplomatic passport bearing number QL5654794 by producing the same NIC and a different birth certificate bearing number 4683. He has said that the Sri Lankan citizenship of a Sri Lankan who becomes a citizen of another country is abolished as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, No. 18 of 1948.
Visa and Extensions of the Immigration and Emigration Department Controller Jinani Kusumavel Atukorale had told the CID that Gamage had, on several occasions since 10 October 2004, applied for tourist and resident visas in Sri Lanka using the British passport bearing number 521398876. She had also said that Gamage had last been granted a resident visa from 27 August 2014, to 16 July 2015 and that there is no information in the relevant databases that she had obtained the visa after 16 July 2015.
The CID has also recorded a statement from Registration of Persons’ Department Deputy Commissioner Ishanka Chalani Weerakoon. She has said that Gamage had obtained the NIC bearing number 658534300v on 22 December 2022, by providing documents in which it was stated that she (Gamage) was residing at a certain address in the Panadura area. Weerakoon had also said that if a Sri Lankan becomes a dual citizen at any point, they should inform the Registration of Persons’ Department within a period of six months, after which the Department would issue a new NIC in place of the previous one. However, she had said that Gamage had, as of 2021, not notified the Department that she had obtained dual citizenship.
Retired Additional Secretary of the former Finance and Media Ministry, Ramani Padmaseeli Weerasinghe Gunawardena has said in a statement made to the CID that Gamage, who was working as the Chairperson of the Ranminithenna Tele Cinema Village, had made a request to obtain a diplomatic passport with all the required documents. She had then forwarded the relevant request to Dr. Samaratunga. After the latter had recommended that Gamage be issued a diplomatic passport, Gunawardena had sent a letter to the then-Controller General of Immigration and Emigration with the required documents and a letter of recommendation from the then Ministry Secretary Dr. Samaratunga.
The Additional District Registrar of the Thimbirigasyaya DS Office Jeewani Karunaratne has said that she had examined the birth certificate bearing number 6553 which had been submitted by Gamage to obtain a passport, using the computer data system of the DS Office. Although the Division of the birth certificate in question is mentioned as “Colombo – South”, Karunaratne has said that such a Division is not in the Colombo District, concluding that the birth certificate bearing number 6553 was fake.
DS Office Management Assistant in Dehiwala Chandani Wasantha Mangalika Fernando had said that the birth certificate bearing number 4683 is a copy of the birth certificate with the same number which is kept at the Dehiwala DS Office. She had said that the birth certificate is of a person who was born on 18 December 1965 and that the amendments had been made to the initial name mentioned in it, which is Nayana Samanmali to read as Diana Natasha Kekanadura on 11 December 2003, and as Diana Gamage on 5 February 2014.
In the B-report, the CID had stated that according to investigations that had been carried out into the matter as of early 2021, Gamage has committed offences under Section 175 of the Penal Code and the Immigrants and Emigrants Act. Accordingly, the CID has requested the court to grant approval to obtain a report from the British High Commission in Sri Lanka.
Herath has also filed two cases at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court and the Court of Appeal seeking action against Gamage for her alleged violation of the said Act by obtaining Sri Lankan passports while holding British citizenship. Allegations of producing fake NICs, passports, and birth certificates to obtain passports have also been levelled against her. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court recently stated that there was sufficient evidence to support that Gamage had obtained a Sri Lankan passport by submitting a fake NIC and birth certificate. The court also observed that the CID could take steps against her even without a court order, following which the CID has sought the Attorney General’s instructions over the matter.
Lanka Newsweek © 2024