28 September, 2020

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Gota’s Meritocracy Appointments In Question: Derana Varuni’s “TEA Man” Appointed As Chairman Telecom

Contrary to appointing people on meritocracy to top governmental positions, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s buddy Dilith Jayaweera‘s Derana Group business partner Varuni Amunugama‘s husband Rohan Fernando has been appointed as the Chairman Sri Lanka Telecom.

It can be confirmed that Rohan Fernando has absolutely no professional knowledge or experience in the Telecommunications business.

Incidentally Rohan Fernando is the Son-in-Law of Senior Politician and parliament front row member Sarath Amunugama, who has held several Ministerial positions over the years.

Meanwhile Rohan Fernando’s wife Varuni Amunugama taking to her Derana Group’s newspaper The Sunday Morning, went on to embellish her husband’s professional profile in her hope of seeking justification for what is now viewed by many as yet another nepotistic appointment by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa led government.

“Rohan Fernando has 40 years experience and is a veteran in the tea trade,” Varuni Amunugama’s newspaper went on to gloat.

The newspaper further wrote “He has also served as the Chairman of the Tea Exporters Association of Sri Lanka and as a Director at Sri Lanka Tea Board. Beyond the tea industry, he has served as the President of the National Chamber of Exporters and as a Council Member and a Management Committee member representing the board of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka. He has also served as a Director at several organizations including Ceylinco General Insurance Ltd. and Industrial Technology Institute.”

Varuni Amunugama’s desperation in singing hosannas about her husband is quite understood, as her husband’s professional acumen was exposed earlier in an article published by the Daily Mirror on the 1st of November 2017 titled “If government needs a backbone, TEA needs a brain

In that published article the then Chairman Sri Lanka Tea Board Rohan Pethiyagoda exposed the Tea Export Association Chairman Rohan Fernando’s incompetence in handling finances.

However more shockingly he unveiled his disloyalty to the then ousted Rajapaksa family.

The Chairman Sri Lanka Tea Board wrote “But it seems Rohan Fernando has belatedly chosen to set himself up as a critic of the previous administration, of which he was very much a part. How quickly loyalties fade! Indeed, he was a Director of the Tea Board at the very time these “ad hoc” expenses were incurred. I have checked the minutes of board meetings of the time and can find no record of any objection or reservation being voiced by Fernando on these matters.”

“He did not even call for a vote at the board, which is the minimal expression of dissent. The waste he refers to is therefore as much his responsibility as anyone else’s. He was very much part of the problem for which he now presents himself self-righteously as the saviour. He claims the present government lacks a backbone. It was the present government which, however, had the backbone to bring the SLC sponsorship to an end and also to close down the “tea café” he refers to. The present administration found the backbone to do the right thing. Where was Fernando’s backbone when he was party to the decision to “waste” these hundreds of millions of rupees?” Pethiyagoda wrote.

The following day Rohan Fernando responded to Rohan Pethiyagoda’s story in a subsequent article titled “TEA Rohan responds to Tea Board Rohan”.

Meanwhile commentators on several social media platforms have begun expressing their displeasure as several governmental top positions have been granted to extended Rajapaksa family members and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s California buddies.

Rohan Fernando’s appointment is nothing short of a reward for the good work his wife Varuni Amunugama and her Triad Advertising Agency team played in running a very successful Presidential Election campaign for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Earlier in November 2019, the government had earlier made it public that in order to maintain transparency, it was appointing a four-member selection board to screen the persons nominated by ministers to head state enterprises operating under them.

The board consisted of former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, former John Keells Holdings Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, Prof. Jagath Wellawatte, Dr Prasanna Gunasena and the Cabinet Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe.

Meanwhile sources close to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Security detail speaking to Colombo Telegraph said that the government is fixated on intercepting, tapping and monitoring phone calls of Journalists, rights activists, intelligence officers, NGO’s and also several of its citizens.

If that may be the case, then Rohan Fernando’s cherry picked appointment to the post of Chairman Sri Lanka Telecom could be the perfect foil to support the currently appointed Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne who also is the Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. (By Dasun Jayakody)

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Latest comments

  • 5
    10

    The People of Sri Lanka coming to decision that UNP has ruled by political vandalism and by replace of Democratic mode of politics last FIVE Years from 15/1/8 by Ranil Wicks of UNP !@

    Indeed the UNP was most overwhelming corrupted govt in Island since 1948 came being into political-power. 15/1/8.
    MS and CBK played that joint venture role of that same partner role of corruption by Two of them. Both them (MS+CBK) are Not that seconded to corruption that leadership ….UNP!
    GR also representatives of SLPP set of policies which are order of that political-economy-social elements.
    Yes system of political class is SLPP is Not that socialist,it is system of working for sustainability of that Capitalism .These all appointments may be having nepotism of family of that Corny capitalism which that cannot be avoided under ongoing system .

    We have lost of Political vision of Democratic Revolution led by leadership of People’s orientated political Party guidance .

    There is NOT a Socialist Political Party in Island of which programmed has been an embodied by Democratic revolution led by that Marxist Political party .
    The working classes and oppressed classes of majority voice of People in an Island has become voiceless in the Parliament and as well as outside Institutions in Island wide . So that what happen the ugly head has rise again ? @
    What we talk of all mismanagement of system that cannot be redress by without New Political force of People’s Political Party in an Island.

    • 4
      8

      You cannot change the culture of a country overnight even by a great. Ground situation is different from idealism. It takes time. But in fairness GR is trying to move on that direction, it is a new territory. I am not aware whether these same yardstick was used by this paper when earlier Presidents made appointments. I do not think.

  • 10
    18

    To a strong man all the complaints are blessings for success. Congrats and best wishes to you Mr. Fernando

    • 16
      1

      Hello Kamini
      I do not think this guy knows the difference between data, audio and video
      Regards
      Ragu

  • 14
    0

    This is very pathetic Tea tasters to run a most important institute in the next 5 to 10 years , with AI algorithms, tele technology and data, in the future. I am sure he has not even heard of them yet

    • 6
      6

      “nest 5 to 10 years”
      Thank you for accepting, that UNP is going to loose all elections even in 2025. 😊

    • 8
      1

      Absolutely shocking. The Tea man should handle tea and a Telecom man should handle telecom that is pure logic. When the Tea man starts handling Telecom we will soon see the emergence of a “the(tea) kade” concept, a concept that will neither brew tea nor let the organisation the Telecom survive.(plain tea) Why are Sri Lankan politicians dead against appointing suitable qualified people for higher positions ? If they cannot get anyone then they should offer to Sri Lankan expats and encourage them to return to the country. Gotta has proved himself that the adage “New brooms sweep well” is spot on he is almost an old “gevichcha” broom. Visiting Govt Departments and throwing his weight around is creating more confusion and the public servants are justified being away for a cuppa of well brewed tea to scratch their heads

  • 3
    9

    The People of Sri Lanka coming to decision that UNP has ruled by political vandalism and by replace of Democratic mode of politics last FIVE Years from 15/1/8 by Ranil Wicks of UNP !@

    Indeed the UNP was most overwhelming corrupted govt in Island since 1948 came into being of that political-power. 15/1/8.
    MS and CBK played that joint venture role of that same partner role of corruption by Two of them. Both them (MS+CBK) are Not that seconded to corruption that leadership ….UNP!
    GR also representatives of SLPP set of policies which are order of that political-economy-social elements.
    Yes system of political class is SLPP is Not that socialist,it is system of working for sustainability of that Capitalism .These all appointments may be having nepotism of family of that Corny capitalism which that cannot be avoided under ongoing system .

    We have lost of Political vision of Democratic Revolution led by leadership of People’s orientated political Party guidance .

    There is NOT a Socialist Political Party in Island of which programmed has been an embodied by Democratic revolution led by that Marxist Political party .
    The working classes and oppressed classes of majority voice of People in an Island has become voiceless in the Parliament and as well as outside Institutions in Island wide . So that what happen the ugly head has rise again ? @
    What we talk of all mismanagement of system that cannot be redress by without New Political force of People’s Political Party in an Island.

  • 10
    0

    The Government issued a Notice of Expression of Interest in selecting Chairman and Board Directors. There is also a selection Panel to select experts under that notice. Hope these selections were made with due process as discussed and recommended by the said Selection committee. When issuing such selections it is better to state these names were approved by the Secretary’s Bureau of Presidential Secretariat as Openness and transparency are key ingredients to build accountability and trust.
    Is this procedure applies to Mr. Rohan Fernando of SLT. For openness we would expect fair play in selecting new Chairman and Board of Directors of SRI LANKA TELECOM. What is academic qualifications in telecom and electronics. Is he a Economist, Accountant , engineer, lawyer or a Tea taster? He is just having 40 years experience in Tea industries. Word “T” is a qualification as former Chairman of SLT is from Timber Corpotation

    What is the criteria in appointing Mr. Oshada Senanayake, as Director General at Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) who has no academic qualifications and professional experience in Telecommunications and mass media in accordance with the Telecommunications Act 1991 .We believe he may be good just as a board member in ICTA (if really needed) as he has claimed experience only in computer Software Development and Delivery. We are also not aware of other members of TRC.

    As a rule of thumb, we anticipates that Members of the Board of Directors shall be appointed by the PSC from among persons appearing to PSC to be qualified for the relevant Institutions. when viewed collectively, be persons who possess proven academic qualifications, expertise and experience in the relevant field and /or one or more of the following fields- (i) law; (ii) economics, finance and business; (iii) engineering; (iv) public administration; and (v) competition and consumer affairs. Etc etc

  • 4
    7

    why criticise rohan
    after all prime minister modi started life as a tea boy

    • 6
      1

      Very true Narendra Modi was a tea boy but he is an intelligent man and has appointed the best people for the top jobs. Unfortunately our leaders are all on” Machchan machchan”terms and they, whether qualified or not appoint people according to their whims and fancy. Classic example the kind of people who fly out as heads of missions, I doubt very much even one of them is a career diplomat. The country is doomed to go down the drain and may be some influential kattadiya with direct communication to the “Gods” have to be called to stage a Thovilaya with much fanfare and get Xi Ping the China man to do the devil dance. Deiyo Saaki !!!

  • 13
    1

    ONE TEA MAN RAN DOWN THE SRI LANKAN AIRLINES A RAJAPKSA BROTHER IN LAW LOTHARIO. YES A HEFTY 27 THOUSAND MILLION LOSS WHEN HE FLED FOR HIS LIFE,
    NOW ANOTHER TEA MAN COMES TO RUIN TELECOM A HIGH TECH INDUSTRY. GREAT GOTA THATS NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED FROM YOU.
    THERE ARE MEN GOTA PROF ROHAN SAMARAJIWA OR DUMINDA RATNAYAKE WHO WAS WITH CELL TELL FOR YEARS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE RIGHT ME
    .
    ROHAN FERNANDO’ S TEA COMPANY WAS BANKRUPT AND HAD TO PAY THE PEOPLES BANK THREE HUNDRED MILLION AND DHAMMIKA PERERA BOUGHT. THEN THE LOKA HORA DILITH JAYAWEEERA WHO PLAYED PANDU WITH EPF FUNDS JOINED AND USED THE POMP AND DUMP TECHNOLOGY AND MINTED MONEY AS THE WIFE VARUNI AMUNUGAMA HAD THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS.
    SO ITS CHANGING PILLOW TO CURE A HEAD ACHE
    THIS COUNTRY WILL NEVER COME RIGHT TILL THERE WILL BE BLOOD BATH AS GREENS AND BLUES ARE ROGUES
    IF THIS IS GRATITUDE FOR THE LOKA HORA DILITH WHO FUNDED YOUR CAMPAING ITS A SHAME YOU HAVE LETS US DOWN

  • 3
    1

    this is nothing. if a vet. surgeon (chairman, NEC), and dental dr.
    (secretary, education)could serve as custodians of SL education system-some time back- this is also possible.
    dayala

  • 3
    0

    Former Chairpersons of SLT are professionals like FVV Watson and Professor KKYW Perera and thereafter useless ones are Hemasiri Fernando and Thilanga Sumathipala

  • 4
    3

    Varuni’s sister appointed Ambassador to Germany

    • 2
      0

      This is what Gota promised at the presidential elections.Out foolish people couldnt understand.Even the socalled viathmaga pundits.

  • 3
    1

    I think the SOE business model has hit a snag. the IMF model does not work. That model works for western companies. Sri Lankan SOEs work for politicians as they make way for it’s bankruptcy and eventual buyout by their friends for One rupee for the whole business. Eventually, foreign businesses buy out and take it to the Stock market which make the employees lose. So, revamp, reform and restructure the whole business model. There should be an authority under the Treasury which monitors all these SOEs every three months by looking at their progress reports. If not chairperson and some directors should step down. There should be another authority which makes appointments to these SOEs. If SOEs fail continuously, the Appointing authority must be responsible too. Chairperson only takes the final decision. directors (maximum 10) should cover every field of expertise that the SOE needs. that should include Lawyer, Accountant, Human Resources person, Sales person, Technical people each, Trade union person (too many employees then he is responsible). Politicians should never come close except a Parliamentary committee. ALUTH PARLIAMENT DISCUSSED IT, BUT THE SOLUTION IS PARTIAL.

  • 2
    2

    I think, getting loans from IMF should be stopped. Credit card companies for the smaller countries never work for the one who gets LOANS. They are always for the lender, generally a western bank or a financial institute. I think Mrs B lost because, she did not inform her battle and the war to the people so, she made way for JRJ’s 5/6th. Even People knew LTTE so MR could win 2/3ed easily.
    I think, IMF loans can be stopped and can make the country progressing by informing people.
    Need new mentality.
    Once, IMF hand is removed, once Career politicians are removed, the country will progress. Officials who are used to this should be reminded. I think, they will change.
    Country needs only 50 politicians (2 for district)

  • 8
    0

    SLT = SLTEA

  • 7
    6

    Gota you came to power thanks to Sinhala Buddhist you cannot forget them please look after Sinhala Buddhist to important positions appoint Sinhala Buddhist don’t trust others they will stab you from behind Rohan is not qualified for the job also he is from the tea industry is he a Buddhist?

  • 6
    0

    What is the criteria in appointing Mr. Oshada Senanayake, as Director General at Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) who has no academic qualifications and professional experience in Telecommunications and mass media in accordance with the Telecommunications Act 1991 .We believe he may be good just as a board member in ICTA (if really needed) as he has claimed experience only in computer Software Development and Delivery. We are also not aware of other members of TRC.

  • 0
    1

    Your kind attention is invited with regard to the Notice of Expression of Interest (EOI) dated 22 November 2019, issued by the Presidential Secretariat, requesting persons to make EOI to serve as Chairpersons/Board members. Is this procedure applies to Mr. Rohan Fernando, tea industry expert. For openness we would expect fair play in selecting new Chairman and Board of Directors of SRI LANKA TELECOM. What is academic qualifications in telecom and electronics. Is he a Economist, Accountant , engineer, lawyer or a Tea taster? He is just having 40 years experience in Tea industries. Why Malaysian stakeholder with 40% shares is silent on this appointment

    What is the criteria in appointing Mr. Oshada Senanayake, as Director General at Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) who has no academic qualifications and professional experience in Telecommunications and mass media in accordance with the Telecommunications Act 1991 .We believe he may be good just as a board member in ICTA (if really needed) as he has claimed experience only in computer Software Development and Delivery. We are also not aware of other members of TRC. We are missing great officers like late Mr. Maniccawasgar one time DG of TRC. It is better that Members that serve as ex-officio members have all the rights and obligations of the board or committee that they serve on

  • 5
    0

    As a rule of thumb, we anticipates that Members of the Board of Directors shall be appointed by the PSC from among persons appearing to PSC to be qualified for the relevant Institutions. when viewed collectively, be persons who possess proven academic qualifications, expertise and experience in the relevant field and /or one or more of the following fields- (i) law; (ii) economics, finance and business; (iii) engineering; (iv) public administration; and (v) competition and consumer affairs. etc etc

  • 1
    0

    Much as though I respect those who try their best to promote our Tea – What the hell is the relevance of 40 years in the Tea Industry in running the national telecom? Someone who has knowledge about Fibre optics, telecommunications and infrastructure should be appointed. This is extremely disappointing. PSC should give a explanation

    • 0
      0

      They should have appointed Varuni as she is a London school of Economics Graduate. Head of the organisation can appoint few wisemen/women with good Telecom technology abilities to advice.

  • 2
    0

    Sri Lanka does not have Laws regarding Election donations and how much each individual or organization has given. In this case, It seems Mr. Sarath Amunugama and his family members, in Laws all are UNEMPLOYED, SO THEY GIVEN EMPLOYMENT. I here, Lot of Laws had been changed. So the Prime minister can act on his own even though what ever President talks. I remember YAHAPALANAYA, Ranil and and Mangala Kamba adilla. Finally RANIL ETERNAL WINNER WON. he is still in the PARLIAMENT, and the PARTY LEADER, President is on retirement until April.

  • 0
    0

    When applications were called, it did not mention about honesty and Integrity.
    The Government issued a Notice of Expression of Interest in selecting Chairman and Board Directors. The closing date was 18/12/2019. There is also a selection Panel to select experts under that notice. Hope these selections were made with due process as discussed and recommended by the said Selection committee. When issuing such selections it is better to state these names were approved by the Secretary’s Bureau of Presidential Secretariat as Openness and transparency are key ingredients to build accountability and trust, which are necessary for the …

    Is this applies to Mr. Rohana Fernando ??. We are not sure even this guy has made an application before the closing date. For openness we would expect fair play in selecting new Chairman and Board of Directors of SRI LANKA TELECOM. It would be better that SELECTION PANEL (PSC) to issue an official statement with regard to this appointment related to his academic qualifications and professional experience in telecommunications, electronics and mass media

    • 0
      0

      Don’t think that the panel was serious. It was an eye wash to satisfy the voters who voted for Gotabaya. Even EOI was flawed and failed to list the SOEs . where the vacancies were created. This would have enable the candidates to be interested on institutions where his background and skills could be of some value..

      If the govt was sincerely interested in attracting overseas candidates they could have used foreign missions and newspapers to carry the message.

  • 0
    0

    This was how the performance of Rohan Fernando’ s company , HVA FOODS PLC

    ……………………………………………EXCERPT…………………………………………………………………………

    HVA Foods (HVA) under threat of trading suspension next week
    Author LBO
    Posted on March 12, 2019 | Companies, Economy & Markets

    March 12, 2019 (LBO) – Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) listed HVA Foods (HVA) has been informed by the CSE that their stock will suspended from trading on March 21st if they do not rectify the modified audit opinion in the latest audited financial statements dated March 31, 2018 by March 19th next week.

    HVA came public during the peak of Sri Lanka’s stock market bubble raising Rs300mn at Rs16/share. The stock currently languishes close to Rs3/share. When taking into account devaluation of the Sri Lanka rupee, in dollar terms those who invested in HVA’s IPO and held on have almost been completely wiped out.

    The company has a suspect balance sheet with amounts due from related parties near the total equity in the company. For shareholders and banks who have exposure to HVA shares in margin accounts, a trading suspension could be a financially destructive event.

    HVA is a tea company that has been continuously losing money, and subject to a significant debt burden. Analysts say future prospects for the firm don’t appear bright.

    ………………………………….

    • 4
      0

      Lamaya,

      Two people accused of stock market manipulation during MR’s time are now part of the famous Gota’s committee to select top people to the state institutions. How could the citizens have faith in a bright future.

  • 2
    0

    Can we ask Mr Gotabaya the President to explain the rationale behind this appointment as he promised all the appointments will be based on merit ONLY

  • 1
    0

    Bond scam Forensic report is out Aloysias family, Cabral family, Karunanayke family , Mahendra Family are involved PM economic adviser the brain behind the the treasury bond robbery, no future for sri lanka with the existing political system people have no choice they put these rouges into power UNP and SLPP between them two parties have a good understanding power is shared between these parties and rouges continue to be in power

  • 1
    0

    Dave, EVA is appointed to France, Where is our fake journo Rajeewa . I am sure he will be pleasantly surprised and may have a few words to say. The report says she was hand picked by GR and not MR. Just a few days ago ,Rajeewa was trying his best to boost GR,s ego for the same. Myanmar went to Nalin. Dont loose heart Rajeewa. I hear Yeman ,Sudan and Syria are still unfilled..

  • 0
    0

    Guy….i’m sure I know him.

  • 6
    0

    Jeez… why you guys waste time complaining. This is Sri Lanka guys.. Sri Lankan’s voted Gota as their president.. his qualification is what???? Now what’s wrong with Rohan… ??? He is suitable to lead telecom in Sri Lanka … it’s Sri Lanka guys …. come on. Not Japan ha ha ha

  • 0
    0

    my ex would probably dreaming of sending a parcel bomb without hugging me like this.I get very jealous when i see this photo.However i think i have only myself to blame for that.

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