President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother, who is the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), had awarded the insurance deal of Mobitel to a company owned by someone close to him causing Rs. 3 billion loss to the Government, the Voice Against Corruption (VAC) charged today.
AC Convener and JVP Provincial Councillor Wasantha Samarasinghe claimed the SLT Chairman was receiving a monthly allowance of Rs. 750,000 as his house rent. He said that he had also increased allowances receiving from the companies to Rs. 1 million from previous Rs. 500,000.
“This is the highest in the history of allowances received by an SLT Chairman. Also, the advertising of the company had been awarded to an advertising firm owned by President Sirisena’s son-in-law.
“Both the President and the Prime Minister are promoting nepotism instead of putting an end to it as pledged during the election,” he charged.
“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed his friend Arjuna Mahendran as the Central Bank Governor and today he is in the centre of a heap of allegations,” he said. He said nepotism was one among many allegations levelled against former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and had even cost him his Presidency.
“Today, President Sirisena and Prime Minister are following the same footsteps,” he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Samarasinghe said large scale corruption was taking place at the LTL Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), similar to the Avant Garde Maritime Security Service.
“The LTL Holdings also administered by retired CEB officials -similar to Avant Garde operations handled by retired naval officers. This is the company, which had funded previous Power and Energy Ministers during their elections.
All Power and Energy Ministers are responsible for the corrupt deals, which had taken place at the LTL,” he said. He said the CEB owned up to 63 percent of shares of the LTL and when the company was to be brought before the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) to probe corrupt deals, the officials tried to reduce the shares to 49 percent.
“When the percentage of shares owned by the State in a company is less than 49%, that company can get away with facing the COPE. This is what the LTL officials are trying to do. However, this had not yet been successful due to the objections of the engineers,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)