Muhunthan Canagey’s exit paved with irregularities, failures and cries for investigations

Muhunthan Canagey’s exit paved with irregularities, failures and cries for investigations

By Keshala Dias

14 Aug, 2017 | 9:19 pm

Muhunthan Canagey, the CEO and Managing Director of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), announced today that he is resigning from his position.

History in brief…

In 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena recommended that Muhunthan Canagey be appointed only to the Board of Directors of ICTA and not as the organisation’s CEO.

However, this recommendation was undermined by a short-sighted force at the time, whose intervention and influence resulted in Canagey being appointed the CEO and Managing Director of ICTA.

While ICTA falls under the purview of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, by virtue of being the majority shareholder, appointments to major positions in the organisation are made by the Treasury.

Then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake intervened to ensure Canagey was appointed as the CEO.

Not only was the President’s recommendation ignored, Canagey’s contract was subsequently extended for a second term.

Nevertheless, public response to projects spearheaded by Canagey, have not been positive.

It was evident that the directors of companies selected to implement ICTA projects were either the same people, friends or family.

The Google Loon project was introduced, claiming that it would provide low-cost internet access to the entire country, but beneath the veil of this project, it was revealed that plans were afoot to secure a valuable national resource in the form of spectrum via a mushroom private company known as ‘Rama’.

While an E-NIC project was also in the pipeline, it was later revealed that plans were afoot to defraud billions using friends.

However, the E-NIC project was failed.

The National Payment Platform project spearheaded by Canagey, also paved the way for a very serious irregularity.

By granting digital instruction rights for the National Payment Platform project to an inexperienced company, which had only been in existence for about a year, an attempt was made to collect the sensitive financial data of citizens and store it insecurely.

This effort was undertaken disregarding the regulatory and supervisory powers of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

When Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayaka spoke on this controversial subject in parliament last week, focussing attention on the displeasure of and the doubts raised by the people, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva responded.

A few hours after the debate in parliament, the Deputy Minister said that parliament had been misled by the response provided by the ICTA, adding that action would be taken following an investigation.

When individuals maintained at public cost at publicly funded institutions commit irregularities, does their resignation suffice?

Shouldn’t those who fail to fulfill public expectations be subject to a proper investigation?

Doubtless, the people who intervened to prevent this large scale fraud including the Chairperson and Board of Directors of the ICTA and Ministers and MP’s including Mangala Samaraweera, Eran Wickramaratne, Dr. Harsha de Silva and Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, will be praised by the people.

The information that was provided to us was given by brave whistleblowers in the ICTA who stood against corruption in the senior management.

With their courage and the trust they placed in us, we guarantee that we will see this through to the end, until justice is served.

Information and Communication Technology is the future of Sri Lanka.

News1st pledges never to allow anyone to destroy this future with fraud, lies and deceit.