The Government’s move to appoint two high profile figures of the previous regime, who have since been indicted on charges fraud, bribery and corruption, has come under heavy criticism by the civil society.
Former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, Anusha Palpita has been appointed as an Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs while former Director General of the Divi Neguma Department, R.A.A.K. Ranawaka has been appointed as an Additional Secretary (Admin and Finance) to the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Home Affairs had requested that Palpita, an accused in the infamous ‘Sil Redhi’ case, be appointed as an Additional Secretary to the Ministry.
Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, J.J. Rathnasiri said that there were vacancies in the Ministry that needed filling and therefore the Ministry had made the said request.
He declined to comment when queried as to whether it was Minister of Home Affairs, Vajira Abeywardena who had made the said request.
Rathnasiri on May 24 obtained the number (mobile phone) of the author of this article and said that he would call the author back in five minutes. The author has yet to receive the said call.
Previously, the Attorney General had filed indictments in the Colombo High Court against Palpita and former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge on charges of involvement in the criminal misappropriation of funds of the TRCSL during the 2014 October to 2015 January period, to the tune of Rs. 600 million (Rs 0.6 billion). The accused are said to have spent the said amount on a ‘Sil Redi’ distribution programme, which was part of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s last Presidential Election promotional campaign.
It was previously reported on a web report that Palpita had assumed duties at the post on May 23.
Meanwhile, Advisor to the Anti-Corruption Front, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that Palpita, during his tenure as the Director General of the Government Information Department, had had numerous allegations levelled against him.
It was the Ministry of Home Affairs and Abeywardena who allowed former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Damayanthi Jayaratne, involved in the controversy surrounding the Avant Garde floating armoury, to leave the country, he noted, adding that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Abeywardena, had been involved in the covering up of the Avant Garde issue.
Meanwhile, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) informed that the appointment of Ranawaka, who has been indicted for financial irregularities including the misappropriation and misuse of funds, as an Additional Secretary (Admin and Finance) to the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, constituted a violation of Section 27.10 of Chapter 48 of the Establishments Code (“Where legal proceedings are taken against a public officer for a criminal offence of bribery and corruption the relevant officer should be forthwith interdicted by the appropriate authority.”).
Dadallage explained that the appointment of Ranawaka had been made by the PSC.