The Prime Minister’s office has commenced a special investigation into Felix Rodrigo, a Senior Advisor to Tourism Development And Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, over an alleged attempt to pay over Rs. 6 million to a company owned by his brother for an event hosted by the Ministry.
The event “The Royal Wedding Ceremony of Sri Lanka” (RWCS 2017) in which 100 Chinese couples got married in Sri Lanka was partly initiated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau (SLTPB), in December, last year. At a press conference held in this regard, Udaya Nanayakkara, the then Chairman of the SLTPB, said the Sri Lankan government did not have to pay “a single cent” to organize the event as private partners would take care of the expenses.
Soon after the event however, Nanayakkara had received a directive on Rodrigo’s recommendation to pay Rs. 6 million to a private company for “handling” the event. Upon inquiry, Nanayakkara had found that the company was owned by a brother of Rodrigo who was instrumental in the sending the directive.
Sources from the Prime Minister’s Office said Nanayakkara, at that point, had flatly refused to pay the money as he thought it was ‘suspicious’. Nanayakkara had also stated the SLTPB was not in a position to pay a private company over the event as he publicly stated that the ‘government money’ would not be used.
Nanayakkara had told his staff that he did not even know about Rodrigo’s company until he saw the Ministry’s directive.
“Interestingly, just weeks after this refusal, Nanayakkara was summarily sacked from his job by the Minister,” a source close to the former SLTPB Chairman said, adding that Nanayakkara had complained to the Prime Minister’s Office over this ‘strange bill’ and his sudden dismissal.
A spokesman from the Prime Minister’s Office as Nanayakkara had refused to pay the bill, the money had not been paid to the company owned by Rodrigo’s brother. Therefore, the matter has not been sent to the Bribery Commission but we understand that it is clearly a suspicious attempt. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s Office will inquire into the conduct of the officer,” a spokesman from the Prime Minister’s office said.
He also added that the report of the inquiry would be sent to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for necessary action.
When Colombo Telegraph attempted to contact Rodrigo to get his comment on the matter, an official from the Tourism Ministry refused to share his personal contact details. (By Thilini Karunarathne)
MM / May 17, 2018
The tourism ministry cannot get the best advisors when it come to business strategy, marketing or advertising because of the wide scale corruption which has been happening for years in this ministry. Sri Lanka has such a fabulous and a highly competitive tourism product but nobody can ever remember a great international campaign for Sri Lanka.
Wherever there is money to be made illegally, there is a Sri Lankan lurking in the background somewhere .
Advertising agencies send some of the best professionals in the world to meet with downright bloody rogues in this ministry and what you see is some shit work done for a great brand.
What a shameful country we are
Ben Hurling / May 18, 2018
Mr. Prime Minister,
Why not appoint 3 UNP legal stooges to write a report on this grave matter? They will promptly establish no wrong-doing by corrupt BIG JOHN. Please use 3 years to handle this affair, that should, in reality, take only 3 minutes.
Leonard / May 18, 2018
Please have bit of compassion for Johnny he is suffering from very traumatic disorder that is been very HARD to get rid of. This all happen after he tried a experimental drug for bit of EXTRA STIFNESS in turn the designer drug went on to give him real hard time.
shankar / May 20, 2018
you are speaking like in world war 2 german code that the brits cracked.Who is johnny and what is he doing?You mention ‘hard’ in capital letters.The only thing that gets hard in me at 98 is my piles.’stifness’ also in capital letters.Are you tying to tell in code language that johnny works nightime as a beachboy and has to be stiff.
i also notice the word ‘extra’ in capital,but unable to decipher it.will call in the brits.
chiv / May 17, 2018
You got it all wrong, The tourism ministry arranged the event with a title ” visit Lanka to get married and learn a few tricks”. Poor Chinese they them selves have enough of graft and corruption to deal with.But then again there is always something new and indigenous to learn from the Lankans.Long Live Lankawe
chiv / May 17, 2018
Addendum please do not miss the lecture on economy given by the renowned economist MR. He may be able to give few tips on how to organize events by getting loans.
K.Pillai / May 17, 2018
Corruption/nepotism/impunity is the ‘New-Terrorism’. Once established, it is difficult to defeat.
Johny Cena / May 17, 2018
This man previously worked for a private company in a managerial position and got sacked. Then got close to John A by doing you-know-what.
Percy / May 17, 2018
This is Yahspalanaya. What has the gamarala got to say? What have the buffoons who call themselves the Friday Forum got to say.? Is this another case for Padu beheth? AWait what the big hora Ranil will now say. Wait with bated breath.
Native Vedda / May 17, 2018
“What has the gamarala got to say?”
Will it please you and your fellow racists if gamarala send in the uniformed war criminals with absolute impunity to rape, maim, kill, rob, …………. more innocent people just to amuse you if you are looking for amusement?
Estate Labourer / May 17, 2018
What has the Friday Forum got to do with this? Explain please!
Steve / May 17, 2018
Tourism is highly dependent on Reputation, Image, Honesty, Standards, and Services etc. As a country Sri Lanka needs to uphold the key elements to be a successful destination. It is vitally important to avoid at all costs bad publicity domestically and internationally.
Melbournean / May 17, 2018
What a cursed, corrupt, ugly country Sri lanka is becoming through all these allegations thrown from one to another. When are Sri lankans particularly the politicians going to open their so called shit stuffed brains and realise that very soon they will looked down upon by a good honest society in the world.
When you go about in Sri lanka you can see the ugly features of corruption and lethargy permeating from every corner of civilian and even religious life.
Even the physical features of Sri lanka society is becoming ugly and uglier day by day.
Everything thing in this world has a beginning and a end.
There will come a day when Sri lankans will be begging repeat begging for even grass as a source of food because their hearts, souls and minds are rotting from the insides.
May God in his divine grace have mercy on them.
K A Sumanasekera / May 18, 2018
I think you are way off the mark, mate.
Srilanka is a beautiful country.
And it has been there for 2500 years.
And there is no record of them ever having to eat grass..
Srilankans are beautiful people bar the Yhapalana suckers, whom I think are realizing it gradually.
Please stay in Melbourne and enjoy the good life. with Gods Blessings.
Citizen / May 18, 2018
Melb. Your request will be granted if these rotters of karma turn to him and recognize him as the one who can transform them on the inside with his zoe eternal life providing for every need of theirs. Then only this filthy craving for money (Mammon) will cease. One cannot serve both God and Mammon of Lucifer. Eg. Pope is a giver.
Gunasekera / May 17, 2018
Colombo Telegraph, this guy is an epitome of corruption. I have evidence on a number of scams this guy was involved in. Please tell me how to contact this writer. I have sent my email address.
Jim softy / May 17, 2018
John amaratunga IS a billionaire only by doing politics. SO think how he earned all this money. John amratunga even gave some money to CNN for tourism advertisement..
K.Pillai / May 17, 2018
The 2004 X’mas day tsunami opened up a new pattern of governance. Those of us who survived are being slowly suffocated.
Tourism Development And Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga’s Advisor Felix Rodrigo is flowing with the tide.
douglas / May 17, 2018
It is typical of Sri Lankans to “JUMP” into conclusions and decide, pass judgements and punish whoever who is disliked for whatever reason, could even be personal. This was a “Big Even” that was heavily advertised and patronised by all “Heavy Weights” in the industry i.e. Tourism. The sole “Authority” for this event was the SLTPB. Therefore could anyone believe that the Chairman was “UNAWARE” of the arrangements made for the event and who and who were entrusted with responsibilities and at what COST. That “EVENT” definitely cost a tidy sum of money and who bears what amount of it should have been worked in advance. For the ex Chairman to be taken by “surprise” when the bill was submitted for Rs. 6 million cannot be believed. If in actual fact he did not know or did not make the required inquiries from those responsible for organizing the event, he has definitely failed to discharge his duties and responsibilities. Therefore, the Minister’s action in “DISMISSING” that ex Chairman Mr Nanayakkara can be justified. Hope the inquiry by the PM’s office will look into that aspect too.
Gunasekera / May 18, 2018
Both Felix Rodrigo and his brother are crooks of the highest calibre. Felix is actually the p*mp of Minister John Amaratunga. What is he doing in the Tourism Ministry in the first place?
kolla / May 18, 2018
Minister John Amaratunga does not need advisers when he has a son in law like Dinesh Weerakkody.
Dinesh Weerakkody is a Director at Galle Face Hotel and also Access Group. He knows all about Tourism ( and several other subjects)and can advise any one on all these things
John Amartunga’s daughters are also famous for organizing tours to the holy land !
Daleena / May 18, 2018
Successful tours to the Holy Land, filled by hundreds of thousands of clergy and followers under the patronage/directive of the Church.
Who is the Minister for Christian Affairs?
K.Pillai / May 18, 2018
Can an Advisor to a Minister issue a directive?
We have reached a stage where a friend of a friend of the wife of a Minister issues orders.
How did this happen?
Leonard / May 18, 2018
[Can an Advisor to a Minister issue a directive?]
Yes he can but can’t confirm issuing a ERECTION for Johnny.
dhanasiri / May 18, 2018
[edited out] Looks like he has been hired to the ministry as an Adviser. This is absolutely an abuse of state property and power. Both Rodrigo and John must be investigated and penalized under a future Gotabaya government
jivani / May 18, 2018
Viagra Johnny will get his cut as well + a Chinese tart to taste
shankar / May 18, 2018
it is not only rodrigo but the person who sacked nanayakkara who should be sacked.Why are we keeping buggers like this john amaratunge who are waiting to make money before they retire.
upul / May 18, 2018
When there are crooks running the show, we still act surprised and shocked to read that they try to swindle or make a quick buck.
If the Presidential off-spring can be swindling away, why are we discussing the peanuts the rest of the crooks are stealing?
Today the media is talking about Rosie canceling the parking fines on CMC meters. How did this company get chosen? Who approved fines of almost Rs.10,000 per day for Rs.30.00 tickets? I remember there was a chap by Majestic city issuing parking tickets to all who tried to park there and he was not an approved employee of any entity. Apparently the cops in Bambalapitiya had connived with an enterprising Sri Lankan(We have many!!) and printed ticket books and hired this kudu-karaya to issue tickets to drivers.
This is Sri Lanka today…
Jim softy / May 19, 2018
Why it is CID and Bribery commision not investigating. Instead Ranil’s polit beauru investigating it.
Leonard / May 19, 2018
As the Minister for Christen Affairs also church going Staunch Wattala Catholic “Ibepoking John Amarthunga may have tried to follow Bible.
1 John 3:17
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need”,