I live in a swamp, in the country. Its quiet out there, just fresh air, and buffaloes and marsh birds. If you'd like to wake up and smell the wood fires, if you'd like to bathe in cold well water and eat good healthsome stuff that just grows wild, come stay with me...but leave those gadgets behind, please
Thursday, July 06, 2017
The Truth about Vajira Houses
I wonder if every Sri Lankan has a story like this, a sort of coming of age where they invested money with the innocent thought of receiving a decent return, only to be defrauded roundly.
Ten years ago, I managed to claw together a small amount of savings from my humble librarian-salary and looked around for a place to invest it.
There were banks offering 18 %, and I placed an FD in one. Then there were debentures from a local company advertised in the newspapers offering 24%.This was not one of those too-good-to-be-true investments that should alert you, this was debentures issued by a widely advertised company.
I invested a humble amount in Vajira houses debentures, which promised to return the capital and the interest in 4 years time.
I will cut a long story very short - I was paid the interest for a measly six months and then the company claimed that they could not pay me. I was just one of the debenture holders, there were a number more who had made substantial investments, running into millions. the COURT ORDER was given in 2009 and yet there was no payment to me, so you have a company in violation of the Court of Sri Lanka. Ive called and visited their offices practically twice a week since December 2013, to get the money. General manager Harendra politely gave various dates .One time I was ill and didnt call him for a week or two and when i next called he cheerfully said " oh you havnt called me for sometime" so I can imagine what a joke we depositors are. I called the Marketing manager August 4th and told him that Im doing every thing i can in my small way to tell people the truth about their company. A small action was then taken and the lawyer Harshani (0718688261) phoned me and said a deposit would be made 29th August 2014. It didnt happen and seven years after the investment, I finally gave up...
The above sob story was sent to depositors in spite of the fact that they were running full page advertisements in all the papers and had practically taken over the internet through extensive SEO and far reaching advertising.
In 2011 Neth FMs Balumgala programme conducted a one hour expose interviewing a number of clients, and construction workers, as well as investors, and placed it on their sound cloud and youTube channels subsequently shared in a number of sites. By 2013 this had been taken down in all the sites where it had been uploaded. This is sinister in the extreme, and tells you what kind of reach this company and its cohorts have.
However there is one downloaded copy and it is here. Have a listen. Housemaids who sent money from abroad, construction workers who worked on Vajira House properties, people who invested in the company- all have the same thing to say about this company.And yet it continues its trumpeted 98 years in the construction business, fleecing innocent people, investors and customers alike. How is that possible? I dont know and I dont care. They owed me 95,000 and they didnt give it to me either, because if they can cheat swarthy drunk local businessmen out of millions, it isnt much of a deal to double cross one poor ratty housewife/librarian.
But I did promise them that I would spread this story and through that at least a number of large deals, where they would have taken millions in other peoples' money,would be thwarted. Please feel free to share my story.