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Sajith stumped by audit report

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SLPP Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage quoting an internal audit report of the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) alleged in Parliament yesterday that Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has caused a loss of Rs. 42 million to the Government when he was Housing and Construction Minister from 2016–2019, by deploying SEC security personnel for his personal security, political activities and the beauty salon believed to have been owned by his wife.

MP Aluthgamage said during yesterday’s debate that 10 security personnel paid by the Government had been deployed for the wife of then Minister and present Opposition Leader Premadasa. In response, the Opposition Leader said he would resign if these allegations against him were proved beyond any doubt. MP Aluthgamage challenged the Opposition Leader to explain the security allegedly provided to his wife and her beauty salon.

He urged Parliament officials to give the relevant audit report to the Opposition Leader.

The internal audit report issued by Internal Auditor N.V.T. Dhammika in 2022 stated that the SEC has released 19 personnel for the political activities of then Minister Sajith Premadasa and to the business place that belonged to his wife, deviating from their usual duties for the SEC.

As per the audit, the SEC security department had official documents only for 2018 and 2019. Although they were mentioned as Ministerial duties, according to the statements received, some employees has been involved in providing personal security while some others had participated in political affairs of the former Minister of Housing and Construction during the above period.

It has been revealed that they had worked in his election offices on public days and in the beauty salon. The report mentioned that the SEC has incurred a total financial loss of Rs. 42 million due to the non-reimbursement of wages and overtime paid to these 19 employees.

Out of these 19 security employees, eight employees are still in service.Then Housing and Construction Minister Premadasa’s Coordinating Secretary Nuwan Siriwardena, Media Secretary Mahilal M. Seneviratne, Coordinating Secretary Lalith. D. Kahapola, Public Relations Officer Aruna Dahanayake and Private Secretary P. Samarasinghe have certified with their signatures and official seals that they were employed in the former Minister’s office during 2018-2019.

The report said that former Working Director of SEC Sarath P. Jayathilaka has given written approval for the deployment of these security personnel for private and political requirements of Premadasa. He had given instructions to the Deputy General Manager to prepare and pay salaries and overtime allowances for them.

Accordingly, the security personnel have been released for these purposes on the written and oral instructions of Deputy General Manager (Human Resources) H.A.S.P.Hathurusinghe and former Working Director Sarath P.Jayathilake.

It has also been disclosed that some of the employees deployed for political activities have been given service extensions. Administrative Officer N.W.C.Kudahetty has been instructed by the former Working Director to extend their services without a written request.

The report has suggested that action should be instituted against former Working Director Sarath P Jayathilake, Former Deputy General Manager Hathurusinghe, Chief Security Officer E.S.S.De Silva and R.G.G. Wickremasinghe for causing a loss of Rs.42 million to the Government by deploying these employees for private services in contravention of the Public Property Act.

From 30/11/2017 to 21/02/2019, salary and overtime payments have been made to these employees without an extension of service for a period of 14 months. It has been proposed to take legal action against the former administrative officer Kudahetty for giving three service extensions for these employees and sanctioning a sum of (approx) Rs.3.26 million as salaries, overtime and other allowances. As the said amount has been paid to those employees, it has been suggested that disciplinary action should be taken against former accountant Silva as well.


I will resign if audit report is proven – Sajith

Swarna Wijekoon and Sandya Karunarathne

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said in Parliament yesterday that he would resign if the audit report proves that public funds under his Ministries in the previous administration were used for private purposes. A controversial situation was created yesterday in Parliament when members of the Opposition and ruling party expressed their opinions regarding an alleged financial fraud occurring in the Central Cultural Fund.

SLPP MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, said that he challenges the Opposition Leader to prove the audit report which has mentioned that Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has embezzled nearly Rs.10 billion while he was the former Housing Minister is false.

Then,Opposition Leader Sajith Preramadasa, challenged MP Aluthgamage to prove the relevant facts and also announced that he would resign if he proved them.

Accordingly, MP Aluthgamage tabled the relevant report, and later the Opposition Leader protested that the Auditor General had not submitted it. At this time, the heated situation arose in Parliament, and it was also seen that members of the Opposition and the government were accusing each other.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa:

If it is proved that I have given a written order to release Rs.1.6million from the Central Cultural Fund or any other government institution to repair Sirikotha, then I will definitely resign on that day.

MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage:

It is one of the biggest help to the opposition. That is the biggest help to this Parliament as well.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premamadasa:

Why should I be afraid of it? Please submit the report to Parliament. The report is very clear, I am saying it responsibly.

MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage:

I have the internal audit report.

MP S.M.Marikkar:

If you have the audit report, please table it.

MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage:

He said that an audit report revealed that ten bodyguards were assigned to the former Minster Sajith Premadasa’s wife and they were paid by the government and 16 others were also employed in her beauty salon. Explain that too. Give this audit report to the Leader of the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa:

If such a thing has been mentioned in the audit report, please table it. I will resign if the audit report mentioned that I have used government funds and used them personally for business purposes.

MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage:

It is the best news for this country and the SJB. He said that he would resign if I presented this report.I gave him the report.He read it but did not say a word.If he is an Opposition Leader with a backbone, he should resign today. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa:

A fake internal audit has been done in favour of the rulers in 2022, This has been made to sling mud to me. This report is not from the National Audit Office. This was not sent by the Auditor General.

Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister Vidura Wickramanayake:

Now the request has been made to table this report. That report was submitted to the COPE committee on 07.08.2022. Now the COPE Committee can table that report. Also, the approval of the Cabinet has been requested for the work done in November 2019. But the approval has not been received yet.

 

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