Senior minister of the Yahapalanaya Government, Duminda Dissanayake has admitted that he is wasting a colossal sum of public money on a luxury building in Rajagiriya, for which he has signed an agreement to pay Rs. 21 million a month, even though he is yet to occupy it despite it being nearly a year since signing the lease agreement.
Dissanayake, who is the Minister of Agriculture and the secretary general of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has however in an attempt to justify the waste, has blamed ‘delays’ in carrying our repair work for the building, which according to him was the reason why the building has still not been occupied by his ministry.
He had said that there has been a delay in carrying out a proper tender procedure for necessary repair work for the building, and thus there has been a delay in occupying the building.
Dissanayake had further claimed that even though his ministry wanted to immediately occupy the building, as the respective officials were not geared for a speedy occupancy, there was some delays. He had instead expressed hope of calling for tenders within the next three months, which will permit him and his ministry to occupy the new luxury building once the repair work is carried out.
However sources pointed out that the building was new and therefore it was unlikely that such a building required any serious repairs as claimed by Dissanayake, who is also a very close confidant of President Maithripala Sirisena.
In August the Colombo Telegraph reported how Dissanayake had signed an agreement for the building for a period of five years at a cost of Rs. 1 billion as lease of the building. According to sources, there was no proper tender procedure to select the building, and the Rajagiriya building is owned by Upali Jayasinghe, the husband of a popular actress.