Gotabaya Rajapaksa

From TobaccoUnmasked


Gotabaya Rajapaksa, born on 20th June 1949 at Weerakatiya Sri Lanka, is a retired officer of the Sri Lanka Army, and a former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of Sri Lanka.[1]

He had the formal education at Ananda College, Colombo 10. He is the younger brother of the 5th Executive President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and the son of the parliamentarian and former Deputy Speaker of Parliament DA Rajapaksa. He has a Masters’ degree in Defence Studies from the University of Madras and a Postgraduate degree in Information Technology from the University of Colombo. Gotabaya served in the Sri Lanka Army through the early years of the country's civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and retired in 1992 after 20 years of service. He immigrated to the United States of America after his retirement and with the election of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Executive President of Sri Lanka, he returned and got appointed as the Secretary of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.[2][3][1] His other two brothers Chamal and Basil Rajapaksa are active in politics too. Both served as members of parliament during the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidentship, in which Chamal was the Speaker of the Parliament and Basil was the Cabinet Minister for Economic Development.[4][5]

On 11th August 2019, he was named as the Presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.[6][7] Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as the 7th Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka by a majority vote of 52.2% in the presidential election held on 16th November 2019[8]

Image 1: Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Image courtesy Google Images)

Political/Government Positions held[1][3]

  • Executive President of Sri Lanka - November 2019 to date
  • Sri Lanka Army - 1971–1992
  • Deputy Commandant of Sir John Kotelawala Defence University – 1991 - 1992
  • Secretary of Defense and Urban Development - November 2005 to January 2015

Tobacco Related Activities

Receiving Sponsorships

For Construction of Police Stations

In July 2014 Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), a subsidiary of the British American Tobacco (BAT), made a financial donation for the construction of a new Police station at Weerakatiya in the Hambanthota District. The donation was handed over to the Secretary of Defence despite police coming under the purview of Ministry of Law and Order (Image 2).[9] According to the CTC annual Report 2013, that construction was done at the request of Ministry of Defence and was the third such police station constructed with CTC funds. Mankulam and Kilinochchi police stations being the first and the second, were in the Northern part of the country and Weerakatiya was the only station in Southern Sri Lanka reported to be reconstructed by CTC funds.[10] For more details please visit the TobaccoUnmasked pages Weeraketiya Police Station and Reopening of Kilinochchi and Mankulam Police Stations.

Image 2: CTC Managing Director and Chief Executive Felicio Ferraz handing over the donation to the then Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at the Ministry of Defense in July 2014.[11]

For Construction of Army Welfare Shops

According to CTC Annual Report 2016, they funded the construction of Army welfare shops between the year 2006 and 2011.[12]

For Construction of 'Api Wenuwen Api' Cafeterias

'Api Wenuwen Api' is a fund for a housing project for military service men and women in Sri Lanka, implemented in collaboration with Ministry of Defence and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. A cafeteria, affliated to 'Api Wenuwen Api', built at Madiwela, Colombo was declared open by Gotabaya as the Secretary of Defence and Urban Development on 05th November 2012 (Image 3).[13] CEO of CTC James Yamanaka and CTC directors including Dinesh Dharmadasa were also present at the occasion.

Image 3: Gotabhaya at the opening of Api Wenuwen Api cafeteria constructed by Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) at Madiwela on 5th November 2012[14]

Receiving sponsorships from the tobacco industry is a against the recommendations of both Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 13 and Article 5.3.

Participation in CTC Events

A rest room for pilgrims at Girihandu Seya was constructed with financial aid from the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC). Gotabaya was the Guest of Honor at its opening ceremony (Image 3 and 4).[15][16][17][18] The construction of the pilgrims’ rest room was a combined project of the John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) (John Keells Foundation) and CTC. Susantha Ratnayake was the chairman of both companies at the time. To read more visit the TobaccoUnmasked page Rest Room for Pilgrims at Girihandu Seya.

Image 3: Opening of Girihandu Seya Pilgrims’ Rest by the Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksha. Milinda Moragoda is also in the photograph.[16]
Image 4: Commemorative plaque displayed on the pilgrims’ rest announcing the sponsorship of CTC[17]


As of 2020, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the President of Sri Lanka, the most powerful political position in the country.

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka. Former Defence Secretaries, Accessed January 2019
  2. R Somarathna. Ananda Icons: Meteoric rise of Ananda's patriotic sons, Daily News, 3 July 2009, Accessed June 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 Singapore International Water Week Pte. Ltd. Speakers – Participants, Water leaders’ platform, 2007, Accessed June 2019
  4. Facebook. Basil Rajapaksa, undated, accessed November 2019
  5. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Biography, undated, accessed November 2019
  6. [ UPDATE: Gotabaya Rajapaksa named the Presidential candidate of SLPP, 11 August 2019, Accessed August 2019
  7. ColomboPage. SLPP names Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as presidential candidate, 11 August 2019, Accessed August 2019
  8. Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. [1], 18 November 2019, accessed November 2019
  9. Daily FT MNCs extend support for ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ fund, 6 July 2013, Accessed January 2019
  10. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2014, Accessed January 2019
  11. Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka Website. CTC assists for the new police station in Weeraketiya accessed on 04 October 2018
  12. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2016, 2017, Accessed January 2019
  13. Ministry of Defence and Urban Development 'Api Wenuwen Api' cafeteria opens for public, Accessed January 2019
  14. Ministry of Defense and urban Development, ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ cafeteria opens for public, 5 November 2012, Accessed August 2018
  15. Asian Tribune. Secretary Defence declares opens Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya, 21 July 2014, assessed August 2017
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Island. Secretary Defence declares open Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya,27 July 2014, assessed August 2017
  17. 17.0 17.1 K.A.D Fonseka. Commemorative plaque, 02 October 2015, assessed December 2017
  18. Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Sri Lanka. Secretary Defence Declares Open Pilgrims’ Rest at Girihandu Seya, 19 July 2014