ECONOMYNEXT – A three-member committee that probed alleged misappropriation from the Central Cultural Fund has found that the fund had lost Rs11bn during the period from 2016 to 2019, the Prime Minister’s office said.
In a statement issued last night July 28, the PM’s office said that a 142-page report by the committee headed by retired High Court Judge Gamini Sarath Edirisinghe had found inconsistencies and financial misappropriation in the activities of the fund.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the investigation shortly after he came to power as Minister of Buddha Sasana.
The leader of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Sajith Premadasa was the minister responsible for the Central Cultural Fund during this period. At the time Premadasa was Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs.
An inquiry into these same allegations was first ordered by Ranil Wickremesinghe when he was Prime Minister at the time that Premadasa challenged him for the Presidential nomination in 2019.
Wickremesinghe appointed a committee to inquire into allegations that Rs.1.2 billion had disappeared from the Fund.
This matter was raised by Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake. No result of that probe was ever revealed.
Premadasa has consistently denied these charges.
The SJB is posing the strongest challenge to the governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in next week’s Parliamentary General Elections. (Colombo, July 29, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana