Funds for Batticaloa Campus illegal

A Parliamentary Committee has found that all the funds received for the construction of the controversial Batticoloa Campus are illegal.

Member of Parliament Professor Ashu Marasinghe who was a Member of the Sectoral Oversight Committee that investigated the establishment of the university revealed this to the House this morning (21).

The committee recommends that the government “acquire all assets and buildings of the Batticaloa Campus Private Ltd., and operate it as a campus of the Eastern University,” Marasinghe said.

The Committee also observed that considering the present problems in the country “the emergence of such educational institutes of Sharia Law, or fundamentalist teaching is a threat to national security and permission should not be given to these institutions under any circumstances.”

He went on to say that politician M.L.A.M Hizbullah using his powers as a Deputy Minister had fraudulently submitted a letter to the Ministry of Higher Education seeking the approval to establish the Batticaloa campus as a higher educational institute.

He also said that on 15 August 2013 Hira Foundation Sri Lanka, which built the campus and the Ministry Youth Affairs and Skills Development had come to an agreement which was signed by then Minister Dullas Alahapperuma and Deputy Minister Hizbullah.

“But it is a problematic issue that Hizbullah being a deputy minister signing a government document,” he added.

Marasinghe also said that at the time the Batticaloa campus had applied seeking approval from the ministry it was not registered as a company at the Registrar of Companies.

Regarding the source of funds to the campus, Marasinghe said that when Hiraz Hizbullah the son of the former governor was called to the committee meeting on 14 March he had said that they had received the money as a donation.

However but later he said that they got the funds as a loan,” but no loan agreement was presented by them.”

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He also said they had presented five loan agreements mentioning to the source of funds only on 19 May, but there is a questionable issue about these loan agreements and their money in Bank of Ceylon.

“Central Bank clearly said to us that they if they had got it as a loan then it had gone to the wrong account through which they cannot repay that loan again,” he added.

Marasinghe also said that the committee requests the Ministry of Foreign affairs together with the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to conduct a full investigation about the source of the funds.

“We also request the government to conduct an investigation relating to serious financial frauds,” said Marasinghe.

Further, he said that the campus had also illegally taken over 8 acres of land apart from the 35 acres owned by the campus.

“They haven’t even sought approval to raise buildings by the relevant local authority,” he said.

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