PM informs PCoI that he is unable to appear before the commission

PM informs PCoI that he is unable to appear before the commission

Written by Staff Writer

11 Sep, 2019 | 9:36 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Fraud and Corruption in the current administration that he is unable to appear before the Commission tomorrow (September 12).

A spokesperson for the Commission stated that the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Saman Ekakanayake, had informed of this in writing. The Prime Minister was summoned to appear before the Commission tomorrow to testify on the questionable dealings surrounding the lease of a building in Rajagiriya to carry out the operations of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The secretary to the Prime Minister has informed that the Prime Minister will be in Mannar tomorrow to attend a number of events, and hence unable to appear before the Commission. As a result, the Commission has reissued summons to appear before the commission at 9.30 am on Monday, September 16th.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam appeared before the Commission once again. The Minister appeared to testify on investigations into an issue surrounding a decision to print colour photographs of the Minister on textbooks and disciplinary action taken against the Director of Distribution, I.K.M. Ilangasinghe. The Minister testified for a period exceeding one and a half hours.

On previous occasions, the Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentarian Duminda Dissanayake the former Minister of Agriculture were summoned before the Presidential Commission. One of the facts which were revealed at the commission was that, when Duminda Dissanayake had submitted the cabinet paper, it had mentioned that this was done based on a recommendation made by the Prime Minister. That has served as the basis to summon the Prime Minister to the commission.

Further, when Saman Ekanayake was being questioned, the commission had pointed out that although the Government had estimated the rent of this DPJ building in Rajagiriya was Rs 13.5 million, however, Rs. 21.5 million had been paid to acquire the building. The building had also been unused for a period of one and a half years, and all the while the rent was being paid. Another Rs. 466 million had been incurred to furnish the building. Moreover, an excess of Rs. 50 million had been allocated to sign rental agreements.

After considering all these expenses, the commission had questioned the Secretary to the PM as to whether it was possible to purchase this building outright, rather than acquiring it on rent. At that point in time, even the Secretary to the PM had agreed with the members of the commission regarding that fact.

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