By Colombo Telegraph –
The BBC’s London employee who applied for the Sri Lankan government’s RS 1.2 million ten year interest free vehicle loan, has been receiving around Sri Lankan Rupees 8,528,200 as his annual salary the Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal today.
The letter issued by the Head of the BBC Sinhala Service Priyath Liyanage confirmed that Chandana Keerthi Bandara‘s annual salary is £41,000/- (Forty one thousand pounds). In the letter dated September 10, 2012 under the subject ‘Interest free loan for senior media workers’ addressed to the Director General, Government Information Department of Sri Lanka, Liyange said; “Mr Bandara is a permanent employee of the BBC World Service. He had been working in our London office as a permanent member of staff since 1995. His annual salary is £41,000/- (Forty one thousand pounds)” (Read the original letter below)
“This is absurd, forget about compromising integrity by applying for this loan or accepting some sort of bribe from a suppressive government, how on earth can anyone in this salary scale apply for this interest free vehicle loan paid by the state banks where the interest is by the Treasury using tax payer money?” an anti corruption activist who prefers to unnamed asked.
“I’m also investigating this whole loan and free laptop saga, but this is the first time I heard a person receiving such a massive salary applying for this loan. I’m fully aware of Sri Lankan journalists’ and editors’ salaries, but none of them receive anything close to this,” the activist further told.
“The issue is larger than media ethics. Sri Lankan journalists receive paltry salaries, usually between RS 10,000 and 40,000. Only few high profile editors receive higher salaries. The highest salary is even less than RS 4.2 million a year,” she added.