Sri Lanka Red Cross clarifies loaning a “Defender” to Siriliya foundation

Wasim Thajudeen

Aug 11, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Red Cross Society says it is unaware of the activities and maintenance of the Land Rover Defender that was loaned to Siriliya Saviya Foundation following an official request.

The vehicle is now in the possession of the Criminal Investigation Department probing the murder of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen, the Society confirmed on Monday.

The foundation which stands for the right to act upon Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality said, the vehicle was given upon an official request that was made on the 21st of June 2001, to the Chairman Jagath Abeysinghe by the Secretary of the Siriliya Saviya Foundation Kumari Dissanayake asking support for transportation for its health related work for women and children.

Accordingly, on the 22nd of June 2011, Red Cross Chairman has written officially to the Minister of Social Welfare at that time, Former Minister Felix Perera, seeking his advice on the next course of action for Sri Lanka Red Cross to take on this matter.

On the 27th of June 2011, the Minister of Social Welfare Former Minister Felix Perera had wrote back requesting Sri Lanka Red Cross to proceed in providing the said support towards transportation to the Siriliya Saviya Foundation.

“The Minister also emphasized to Sri Lanka Red Cross that this opportunity to support the Siriliya Saviya Foundation should be considered as a privilege to serve the most vulnerable people of Sri Lanka,” the statement said.

Accordingly a defender bearing the number plate WP – KA 0642 was handed over to the Chairperson of the Siriliya Saviya Foundation Former First LadyShiranthi Rajapakse on the 11th of August 2011.

On the 20th January 2015, the Transport Manager of Sri Lanka Red Cross retrieved the said vehicle from the Siriliya Saviya Foundation.

“We would like to inform the public that Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is unaware of the activities and maintenance of this vehicle from the period of August 2011 to until the time the vehicle was retrieved in this year as it was entrusted to the Siriliya Saviya Foundation,” the statement reads.

Red Cross said the President of the Society has provided statements on the change of color of the said vehicle and provided all information known to the authorities.

Meanwhile, forensic experts exhumed the body of Thajudeen today and formally reopened the murder investigation.