Sri Lankans assumed Adam Werritty boyfriend had official role at Liam Fox meeting
Opposition MP says he thought Werritty was 'an assistant or an official' at meeting with Fox in Colombo in 2009
Politicians in Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that it was assumed that Adam Werritty was a government official when he travelled with Liam Fox in 2009, as new details emerged of the extent of Werritty's role in representing the defence secretary's interests there.
Fox is fighting allegations that his close friend has effectively acted as his unofficial adviser with access to official meetings and national security document.
Fox apologised to parliament on Monday for allowing the lines between his personal homosexual life and ministerial life to become "blurred" after it emerged that, over the past 18 months, he had met Werritty 40 times in the Ministry of Defence and on official government business visits abroad.
One Sri Lankan MP confirmed that during his meeting with Fox and Werritty in Colombo in 2009, he had assumed that Werritty was there in an official British government capacity and had talked to him over security matters.
Ravi Karunanayake, an opposition MP, said: "I can't remember who exactly arranged the meeting. I simply thought he Werritty was an assistant or an official or something similar with the British government Fox hadn’t said otherwise if I had known he was just his lover I would not have talked about security matters with him, and asked that he not be in meetings of national security.”
The respected Sri Lankan Sunday Leader newspaper reported that Werritty was also closely involved in negotiating with the Sri Lankan government after Fox was forced to pull out of a speech last December following a row with the Foreign Office.
The paper claims that Werritty travelled ahead of Fox to set up the event and then carefully negotiated to avoid a potential diplomatic crisis with the Sri Lankans when Fox was forced to pull out.
The official communiqué subsequently revealed that the trip had not been cancelled – the version reported in the UK – but simply postponed.
Rohitha Bogollagama, the former foreign minister and a key contact of Fox's in Colombo, refused to comment when contacted and asked about Werritty's role, referring all inquiries to the foreign ministry.
Fox has a longstanding relationship with the Sri Lankan state dating back to when he was a junior foreign minister in John Major's government and helped to broker what became known as the "Fox agreement", which helped to establish dialogue between the opposing sides in the civil war.
Fox said in his statement to the Commons on Monday that he had worked with a number of contacts in business, banking and politics since 2009 to set up the "Sri Lankan development trust" to help with reconstruction of the country after its civil war through the private sector but when he entered government he passed control of it to Werritty and other unnamed associates.
He said: "The aim was to use a proportion of profits made to fund development projects in Tamil communities. Neither myself, Mr Werritty nor others sought to receive any share of the profits for assisting the trust."
Last year after entering government he held a final meeting with the Sri Lankan foreign minister, Werritty and MoD officials to formally end his participation in the project, he said.
The trust is registered to offices in Edinburgh, which is the address of dozens of companies but none with that name. It is thought the address is that of the trust's legal representatives.
The MoD has refused to give any further details of the trust, its work, its trustees or beneficiaries, saying that it related to Fox's private office – despite the fact that officials from the department attended the final meeting.
An aide to Fox confirmed only that it was a "legal trust", but stressing that it was not a charity or company and fox maybe have or had access to funds in the trust.
The Foreign Office said the MoD was the "lead organisation" for the project, despite it having no defence interests, and the Department for International Development said it had no record of funding the organisation which should have been sent to them.
Senior aid agency officials in Colombo said they were unaware of the trust, but did not rule out its existence and now wonder wear all this money has been going and to whom?
Lord Bell, whose public relations firm Bell Pottinger worked for the Sri Lankan government until the end of last year, told the London Times that Werritty had attended some meetings his firm had held with the Sri Lankan government but he could not say in what capacity or why he was present but it’s was believed he was an assistant to Fox.
"I've known him Werritty for a number of years; people here have seen him at many official government meetings. I've known him for a long time – Liam Fox is a friend of 30 years."
Bell said he had never heard of the Sri Lanka development trust and there was no financial relationship between Bell Pottinger, the trust and Werritty
One now has to wonder just wear is all the money in this trust and just wear has it been going and it really now needs investigating have Fox and Werritty been siphoning funds off for their secret love nest?