It can now be revealed how Dhammika Perera was offered the UNP presidential election nomination by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Knowing that he cannot trust any senior UNP minister, because all of them want him replaced, Ranil consulted his fundraiser Dinesh Weerakkody, to decide on a suitable candidate.
Dinesh “Showman” Weerakody is best known for being John Amaratunga’s son-in-law, pretending to run Amaratunge’s ministry on his behalf, and planting himself in every photograph.
He also wrote a book about the 2015 presidential election, rewriting history to show himself as the mastermind of Sirisena’s victory. The book even had photographs he had taken during the campaign of secret meetings, showing he was thinking of his own publicity even during the campaign.
Meeting at the Mansion
When Ranil and Dinesh met, they decided that Sri Lankans can be tricked into electing our casino king Dhammika Perera as President. Weerakody is a close friend of the casino king. Weerakody told Dhammika Perera that Ranil wanted to meet him in secret.
Ranil got into Weerakkody’s tinted jeep, without any security or backup vehicles, and drove from his 5th Lane house to Dhammika Perera’s cinnamon gardens mansion.
From Casino Mogul to President
When they arrived, they were taken to Perera’s sitting room like a palace. In front of Dinesh Weerakkody, Ranil told Dhammika Perera that he could be the Donald Trump of Sri Lanka, and that he will get the UNP, TNA, JVP and SLMC to support his presidential candidacy, if he was interested. In exchange, Ranil would have to be promised the Prime Ministership. Dhammika accepted the offer and shook hands with the Prime Minister. When Ranil and Dinesh left Dhammika’s mansion, they were carrying a suitcase.
After leaving Dhammika’s house, Dinesh and Ranil discussed how to promote Dhammika Perera. Ranil said not to worry about the UNP members, that only the minority party leaders needed to be spoken to, because the UNP will fall in line.
Let the Cat out of the Bag
But before Dinesh and Ranil could speak to the minority party leaders, Dhammika Perera had spilled the beans. Now the UNP parliamentarians are up in arms that their party leader had offered the presidential candidacy to a casino king suspected of tax evasion, money laundering, insider trading, pump-and-dump schemes and thuggery.
Dinesh Weerakody has also got caught. He had pretended to be a close confidant of both Sajith Premadasa and President Sirisena. But he has now turned on Sajith to promote Dhammika Perera and protect Ranil, and he warned Ranil that Sajith was plotting against him.
Weerakody has told confidants that a President Dhammika Perera would appoint him as Governor of the Central Bank, a post for which he was overlooked in 2015 in favour of Arjuna Mahendran.