Sinhala  Tamil    Seperate    
Governtment of Sri Lanka


Bradman Weerakoon

I was vastly amused to read that the United National Party, under its present leadership, has set up a committee under Mr Bradman Weerakoon to report on the findings of the Darusman Panel.


I was reminded by this of Mr Weerakoon’s previous official involvement with the UN when, as Secretary to the Prime Minister, he approved a Project which provided a massive sum of money to the LTTE Peace Secretariat.


Much of this was used to develop its website, which was subsequently used to glorify suicide bombers. I must confess I was disappointed when the UNDP Resident Representative at the time – who was not responsible at all for the Project – refused to remonstrate with the LTTE about this. Conversely, the Norwegian Ambassador, Tore Hattrem, did so, and this contributed to my view that, whatever one thought of Mr Solheim’s relationship with the Tigers, there were Norwegians in their Foreign Ministry who would have liked to have had no truck with terror.


I append below extracts from my letter to Neil Buhne of November 24th 2007  regarding that preposterous project. Needless to say, he did not answer my questions, and it was clear that the UN had not monitored this Project at all, but had simply dished out money to the LTTE as well as to several Civil Society organizations. The Board that decided on who should get the money was one of the usual incestuous organizations, with staff from the CPA, which Bradman had helped set up, playing a prominent part. It should be noted that UN personnel were also paid through this project, which one must assume would have been in breach of some regulation (unless the UN is particularly lax) since the money was meant to promote the peace process, not subsidize UN staff.


Neil Buhne

Dear Mr Buhne,


Thanks very much for your letter of 21st November regarding assistance provided by UNDP to the LTTE Peace Secretariat from 2004 onward…


I am glad that, as anticipated, you were able to confirm that the Project was with the approval of the Sri Lankan government, through Mr Bradman Weerakoon as Secretary to the Prime Minister at the time and Commissioner General for the Coordination of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, and also External Resources. I have since been able to discuss the Project with my predecessor who held office during the main period in which the Project was in operation, and I gather he was aware of it, though was not involved in its implementation.


I will seek within SCOPP for further clarifications, but meanwhile I would be grateful if you could give me further information with regard to the following –


1.     You mention ‘equipment notionally agreed upon to SCOPP and the Muslim Peace Secretariat’. What was meant by ‘notionally’, since what was supplied to these two was much less than that given to the LTTE Secretariat? In this context, would you know who were meant to be the Muslim beneficiaries at the time the Project was signed? The project document notes there was only a ‘Muslim Peace Advisory Unit under the Prime Minister’s office’ in existence at that time (Page 9 of the document, which may have told us more about this Unit, is missing from the copy you sent me)….


2.     The combined review envisaged did not take place. At the bilateral review with SCOPP it was noted that the minutes of all reviews would be shared with all partners. Could I please have copies of the other minutes, since they do not seem to be available in this office?...


3.     Under what authority were UNDP personnel able to function in a coordinating capacity, and be paid as recorded, over the three year period?


4.     How was the steering committee (or committees) for the Small Grants (or Small Grunts, as endearingly described) component established, and how was SCOPP represented on this committee (it should after all have been set up in consultation with SCOPP, but there is no record whatsoever of such consultation) Who were the other members of this committee?...


5.     Even though the project document records that, at the time it was signed, there was ‘an impasse in the negotiations’, the review keeps saying that the LTTE withdrew from negotiations during the period of the project. Is there any reason for this obvious prevarication, given that the LTTE had categorically withdrawn from negotiations in the middle of 2003 and the project document seems to recognize this?


6.     What were the joint activities that took place between the three secretariats? $14,000 seems to have been spent on this in 2006, through grants to institutes and other beneficiaries, and $25,000 earlier through Svc Co-Social Svcs. Were there any joint learning experiences or joint workshops?


7.     Were any study tours arranged for the LTTE? What was their travel allocation spent on? And what was the need for a large sum for transportation of equipment?


8.  Who were the other beneficiaries of the sums disbursed for a ‘sub contract for street theatre production’ that was supposed to be a SCOPP responsibility? A total of $77,000 seems to have been disbursed for this, though your letter suggests that some of this may in fact have been used for ‘the training provided to the negotiations team of the incumbent Government’. Do you have detailed accounts of this last? A sum of $11,000 for sundries seems excessive.


9.     The document refers to ‘the project’s strategy in working with civil society’ but I presume it should have been the Peace Secretariats rather than UNDP doing this for the purposes of the Project. What involvement was there of the Secretariats with civil society through the project, and what were the partnerships that the review claims were built up? You will note that the section in the review on ‘Facilitating partnerships between the Peace Secretariats and Civil Society Organizations’ does not once mention the Secretariats...


10.  Has the UNDP monitored the work of the Communication and Media Unit of the LTTE Peace Secretariat? Is it aware that the website of this Secretariat, which UNDP funds have helped build up, glorifies suicide cadres? Will UNDP, as other donors to that Peace Secretariat have done, indicate to the LTTE Peace Secretariat that such an outcome based on international support for peace is inappropriate, and urge that such items be removed from the website?


11.    What records are there of the regular monitoring and evaluation that the UNDP country office undertook during the lifetime of the Project? Has there been a formal review at the end? Could you please make available to us, as indicated in the project document, the works plan as well as the progress report and evaluation if anything exists apart from what has been sent already?


12.   Why was the Steering Committee envisaged in the project document not set up? It was supposed to have quarterly meetings, facilitated by UNDP, but these do not seem to have occurred ever. What mechanism does UNDP have to ensure greater reliability and accountability with what after all are public funds, however distant they may be from their sources? It seems to have been replaced by a wholly unaccountable ‘project team’. Who was in this team, how was it set up, and to whom did it report?


13.     What is the ‘host country implementing agency…the government cooperating agency’ referred to in the first paragraph of Part IV of the project document? Were there any revisions made to the project document on the signature of the then UNDP Resident Representative? If so, please let me know what they were and how they were authorized. If not, how was funding provided, as you mention, for a SCOPP negotiating team?


14.    Who were the various consultants provided to the LTTE Peace Secretariat? Were they all under the TOKETN programme? For how long were they here, and why were such large sums required as sundries?


15.     Why were Medical products required for the LTTE web development component of the project? What was the office machinery obtained for that component in 2004, and what was the office machinery obtained for Activity 10 in 2005?


16.     Who was the beneficiary of the Individual Service Contract under Management in 2004. and why did the cost go up so much over the next two years despite the fall off in activity? Why was so much spent on subsistence, and are any reports available following local travel?


I hope this is not too much of a worry, but I am sure the staff who were responsible for the project will not have difficulty finding the required information in the files. I would be happy to look through the files with them if you thought it would be easier. I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely

c. Secretary to the President

     Secretary, MFA

     Sujatha Cooray, ERD


Since there was no reply, I wrote again in March – ‘I should note that of the funding for what were termed peace promotion activities.’ I did then finally received a reply in May, but basically to say my queries could not be answered and that we should have a joint meeting to find out more. My ready acceptance of this offer was then ignored.

Island 7 May 2011



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