In a shocking case showcasing gross abuse of ministerial powers, Lanka Sathosa Chief Engineer K Ariyawansha, whose services was terminated over a multi-million rupee fraud has been re-appointed to a top-post in the Industry and Commerce ministry by minister in charge of the subject Rishard Bathiudeen.
Lanka Sathosa too comes under the same ministry. Ariyawansha has been appointed as a senior consultant to the ministry.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC), which investigated the scam of over Rs 20, 000 million in Lanka Sathosa ordered Ariyawansha to be sacked and also to keep him out of employment from any state institution in the future.
Despite this order he has been recalled to duty by Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and Ministry Secretary T N Tennakoon. He has been appointed to a top post in the ministry.
A group of Sathosa employees last night petitioned the PRECIFAC against the minister’s decision to recall Ariyawansha.
Auditors and senior officers of Sathosa in a petition to the commission stated that Ariyawansha had been involved in several financial frauds at Lanka Sathosa which was proved during presidential commission’s investigation.
Instead of filing action against Ariywansha who was under an affiliated institution under the Industry and Commerce Ministry, Bathiudeen has re-appointed him directly to the ministry staff.
Sathosa officials now say that Ariyawansha is resorting to threats against Sathosa officers who gave evidence before the commission in connection with the case.
Sathosa officers in their petition further state that billionaire businessman Sathasivam Rajan is also involved in these frauds. Sathosa officer say that Aryawansha and colleagues are trying to sweep related frauds under the carpet with the help of Bathiudeen.
Meanwhile, PRECIFAC Secretary Lacille De Silva has warned that the commission will take strict action against anyone who violates their orders or recommendations.
He has promised the Sathosa employees a comprehensive probe.