The External Affairs Ministry last week justified the appointment of Swarna Pushpa Kanthi Gunaratne, aunt of MP Hirunika Premachandra, as Consular General of Sri Lanka to the USA, based in Los Angeles.
Allegations of nepotism were levelled against the Government following the appointment last week.
Acting Director General of the Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Satya Rodrigo said several factors were taken into consideration when making appointments to foreign diplomatic missions.
He confirmed that Gunaratne has been appointed as the Consular General of Sri Lanka to the USA, based in Los Angeles. “Sometimes the appointment depends on the country. Sometimes appointments are made from outside. Sometimes appointments are made from the private sector. Sometimes they involve individuals with a business background,” the official mentioned.
She took over duties as of March 14, the official noted.
Gunaratne is the sister of late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, who is Hirunika Premachandra’s father. Rodrigo also said that Gunaratne was a non-career diplomat.
Hirunika Premachandra was not available for a comment.