Recall Cabinet Paper and Gazette Notification regarding SLIIT – COPE Chairman
Removing SLIIT from the Government’s ownership is a classic example of systematically acquiring state resources, COPE Chairman Professor Charitha Herath stated in Parliament yesterday (22).
The COPE Chairman made this observation during the Adjournment Debate moved by the Government on COPE reports submitted to the House respectively on March 10, 2021 and April 06, 2021.
Professor Herath pointed out that a Cabinet Paper was passed and a Gazette Notification issued during the Yahapalana regime which totally removed the Government’s involvement in the SLIIT campus. The was done via a systematic operation which is a serious case of misusing state resources, Herath noted. Thus, the COPE Chairman requested the Government to recall the said Cabinet Paper and the Gazette Notification as a step forward to securing state resources.
According to the special COPE report submitted to the House on April 06, 2021, the Government approved the establishment of the SLIIT through the Cabinet Memorandum (98/995/11/052) presented on 01 April 1998 under the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarships Trust Fund (Act No. 66 of 1981). It furthered that the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarships Trust Fund has given Rs. 500 million and its 25-acre land situated in Malabe as initial capital of the Sri Lanka Information technology Company.
Professor Herath pointed out, “This establishment was expected to stay a limited liability company which would not be profit oriented until it is solidified via an Act. It was expected to become a leading and reputed Government educational institution in the IT field. The expectation was to make SLIIT a part of the Moratuwa University.
In 2015, one Dr. Wickreme Weerasuria, who was the leading figure in the Mahapola Director Board made a move which paved the way to removing the involvement of the state in SLIIT campus. The Representatives of the UGC, BOI and Moratuwa University who were in SLIIT Board of Directors have removed SLITT out of the Government and are acting as its owners. This is an act of stealing government resources in broad daylight.”
Professor Herath further said, “Then a Cabinet Paper was approved in 2017 totally removing the Government’s involvement in the SLIIT campus. A Special Gazette Notification was also issued in this regard. It is evident that a very systematic operation was carried out to remove the SLITT campus from the purview of the Government. This is a matter of not ruling parties but the state itself. SLIIT belongs to the state. The COPE committee proposes to recall the Cabinet Paper and the Gazette notification aforementioned.”