18 June, 2019

Blog

Lakshman Kiriella In A University Soup

Minister of University Education, Lakshman Kiriella is in a soup after he tried to influence his way to get a supporter appointed to the Kelaniya University.

Minister Kiriella

Minister Kiriella

In a letter dated 08th February 2016, addressed to Upali Hettiarachchi, Head of the political science department at the Kelaniya University, Kiriella said, “P. D. D. Amarasinghe, a resident of Watte Walauwwa, Harispaththuwa, is known to me. Please take the necessary steps to appoint him as a temporary lecturer on political science.”

Reacting to this blatant misuse of power, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, former FUTA president said that Kiriella must resign from his ministerial portfolio for issuing this letter, misusing his position as the subject minister. “FUTA must take the lead, along with the support of all other university unions and lecturers, to pressure him into resigning,” Devasiri said.

In December 2015, another political appointment was overturned after lecturers of the Kelaniya University objected to the appointment of CaFFE executive director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, one time Keiriella’s secretary as a member of the university’s governing council.

Secretary of their association N.G.A. Karunatilake wrote to Lakshman Kiriella, alleging it was a political appointment. The lecturers demand the cancellation of the appointment before December 20, or warned of union action if the demand was not met. The appointment was subsequently cancelled.Lakshman Kiriella's letter to University of Kelaniya

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  • 5
    5

    Blimy…I thought Kirra was trying to put Poorten on the the Kalani Uni Senate.

    • 7
      2

      KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera

      Where you’ve been all these days. Naturally I am worried about your physical health. I also thought you have recovered from you mental health issues, and was happy. Now you are back, you are being yourself.

      Now let me jog your memory.

      “Sri Lanka’s prime minister has ordered staff not to write letters in his name, after drug traffickers obtained a letter written by a secretary in his office to authorise a heroin shipment.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
      world-asia-25217771

      • 5
        2

        I dont think you can eliminate the kind of issues in SRILNKA overnight.. thought the kind can be reduced ?

        Realistic is even if the govt is changed – people and their attitude are still there.

        What is wrong with asking to check the qualificatons – that sentensce is in the letter body.. just to attack the rulers to the manner each and every unpractible guy would see it… would not need acutally. KNonwing th erealities we have to act.

      • 2
        0

        Dear Native,

        Only a short break to play Golf in Trinco..

        I want to get as much as I can, before Batalandan hands it over to Sambandan..

        Sira couldn’t care because his mates don’t play Golf .

        Or, have they taken it up like the Keselwatta clan, who got into Tennis to keep up with the Elite.

        • 3
          1

          KA Sumanasekera

          “Or, have they taken it up like the Keselwatta clan, who got into Tennis to keep up with the Elite.”

          My Elders tell me Tennis cost a fine journalist’s life during Daddy’s time.

          Although you are not a journalist, don’t get into trouble.

          We in this forum don’t have the resources to campaign for your release.

          While you are on Golf, are good at handicap or backhanders?

          • 0
            0

            Dear Native,

            That Journalist couldn’t have been like Ekaneligoda … Right .

            I mean he wouldn’t have been in to Voodoo & Black Magic.

            Does Batalandan’s CID have a Cold Case Unit?.

            But then Batta nowadays hates Journos more than the Old Keslwattta Senior,

    • 12
      2

      Minister Kiriella

      “Minister of University Education, Lakshman Kiriella is in a soup after he tried to influence his way to get a supporter appointed to the Kelaniya University.”

      With Yahapalanaya, now even the University is at risk being infected.

      Minister Kiriella, please resign. Period.

    • 3
      0

      why cant DAYAN [Edited out] be appointed to the position ?

    • 1
      0

      Speaking of Pooton, he seems to be absent from the CT pages now!
      [Edited out]

  • 8
    1

    “Secretary of their association N.G.A. Karunatilake wrote to Lakshman Kiriella, alleging it was a political appointment. The lecturers demand the cancellation of the appointment before December 20, or warned of union action if the demand was not met. The appointment was subsequently cancelled.”

    That’s probably the only difference between the MR regime and “Yahapalanaya”. When MR influenced the selection process and appointed his friend as the VC of Colombo University, all those who protested were asked to stay silent or lose their jobs. Politicians will always try to muscle their way in. It’s the success of the reactions that makes the difference.

  • 12
    4

    What a disgrace! He should resign.

    • 6
      1

      Dr Laksiri Fernando ,

      “What a disgrace! He should resign.”

      Great, if he will. Amarasiri have his doubts, because it puts thousands of others in jeopardy.

    • 2
      1

      Dr Laksiri Fernando

      You better not comment on this type of issues. During your time at Colombo University you even proposed Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name for an hoonarary doctorate. Wasn’t that act disgraceful as well!

    • 0
      0

      Dr Fernando, is that not that the culture in Srilanka ? How can we expect it to turn to the style of Aussies or Europe within a shorter period of time ? I think he is wrong to have allowed his secretary to issue the kind of letter – no doubt abou tthat. But people in this country always expect are used to get things done through vit c or not ? Are they used to any other choice. Yesterday, one of my friends asked me if I would know few doctors at Karapitya hospital – since they want one of their patient to get a bed there. Day before yesterday, one another known to me thought even if I would stay in Europe longer, I may have connections to ministry of Education in the country. All these candidates approached me own at least a basic degree from the Uni down there. This is the culture in that country. Sure we all have to work on a change – these efforts need time.
      The culture people are familar with will take years to change. Law and order should be given its due place then prerequisites society to turn toward good is done.

      • 0
        0

        Ms Maralathoni,

        I saw your comment quite late. Anyway this is my answer. I quite agree that change needs time particularly at the societal level. One reason is old habits (culture) and the second is lack of proper facilities tending people to look for influence or favours. Your example of Karapitiya fits into the second. However, someone approaching for influence to get a ‘degree’ or enter university is different and cannot be approved. As an academic, impartiality in admissions, appointments and assessments are sacred to me. Of course one ‘Patriot’ has expressed that I have done a similar in proposing MR for an honorary degree in May 2009. To me that was different, although I have admitted it as a mistake on my part. It was an error of judgement. I didn’t do anything secretly. I was open in proposing under the circumstances in the Senate and it was open for discussion. I was not using any authority. But in the case of the Minister of Higher Education sending a letter for an appointment in a University in my opinion is abuse of power. I think Sri Lanka is now in a strong position to oppose these happenings at the political level and that might be the catalyst for change even at the societal level. At the same time, we should try our best to discourage favouritism among our friends and family. Perhaps we should explain to them and direct them to look for alternative solutions if they have genuine difficulties.

    • 0
      0

      Are you serious…

      What about the appointment of the Singaporean to the CB job by your Yahapalana PM ?…..

  • 6
    1

    Totally unbecoming of a minister. I hope FUTA will excercise it’s full authority to have the minister apologize or resign. This must become the standard action against any minister who uses him influence. Only in SL “he is personally known to me ” is a bigger qualification than a degree or capability.

  • 10
    5

    Dear Editor,

    First congratulations to CT on doing excellent work in pointing out corruption where it exists.

    In this case however, your case against Minister Lakshman Kiriella is weak. Your accusation is against one of the better Ministers of the Government with a reputation for integrity. I therefore took the trouble to look up the instruments that govern our universities, namely the Universities Act and the Establishments Code (see below) to see if there has been any wrong-doing on his part.

    The Minister is overall in charge of the general direction of university education. The instruments do not prevent him from acting as he did if he had good reason. The appointment was temporary. The E-code allows temporary appointments without advertisement.

    Besides, CaFFE executive director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon has rendered distinguished service to qualify for the Council. Did the Minister make his appointment (I think not) or was it the UGC?

    A clear determination of your accusations needs a lot more information. And that information is missing. Why did the Minister do as he did? Did you ask him?

    S.R.H. Hoole

    Universities Act
    19. The Minister shall be responsible for the general direction of university education and the administration of this Act

    44. (1) The Council of a University (hereinafter referred to as “the Council”), shall be the executive body and governing authority of the University and shall consist of the following persons:-

    (i) the Vice-Chancellor;
    —-
    (vii) Such number of members as is equal to the total number of members under paragraph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) above, increased by one. All such members shall be appointed by the Commission from among persons who have rendered distinguished service in educational, professional, commercial, industrial, scientific or administrative spheres.

    Establishments Code
    CHAPTER III: RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES AND APPOINTMENTS
    18:8:1 No appointment on contract to a vacant post should be made by any Higher educational Institution except after advertising the post in accordance with the approved scheme of recruitment. If no suitable candidate applies in response to such advertisement, a person may be appointed on contract after negotiation. Provided however, that an appointment on contract may be made in the first instance without advertising the vacancy if the period of service is less than one year. The initial contractual period without the post being advertised.

    24: Temporary and Casual Appointments

    24:1 A Temporary appointment may be made in respect of:

    (a) A permanent post in the cadre of the University, pending the filling of the post permanently at a later intake, where it has been found that in response to an advertisement a suitable candidate is not available to make the substantive appointment and the Commission/Governing Authority of a Higher Educational Institution has given approval of a temporary appointment.

    (c) A temporary post provided as such in the estimates, such as temporary Asst. Lecturers, Temporary Instructors etc.,

    (d) Temporary posts in connection with any temporary activity for which approval has been obtained.

    24:2 A temporary appointment in respect of a permanent post should be made only where it is not possible to make the permanent appointment within a reasonable time, and it is not possible to make satisfactory internal arrangements for the work to be performed, or make an acting appointment, and it is found that a temporary appointment is essential in the interest of the work. The approval of the Governing Authority or its delegate in appropriate cases should be obtained for such temporary appointments

    • 4
      1

      Thank you Dr. Hoole for your careful analysis and letting us the readers decide. Opinions are aplenty and cheap. You have laid out the issues for us to decide and form our own opinions.

      I hope Colombo Telegraph comments will discuss the issues raised by comments and not the persons making comments.

    • 3
      2

      Hoole, do you still think government would appoint you as the VC of Jaffna uni? I think that is why you are shopping for Keriella. Your answer shows you are not fit for the post.

      Yes, these are all legal, morally wrong. Unethical.

      If we buy your argument,
      Appointing MR’s cousins/nephews as ambassadors are legal.
      Appointing Gota as sec defence is legal
      Appointing Basil as senior advisor , then as minister is legal
      Appointing his BIL Nishantha as SriLankan Airline chairman is legal.
      Nothing wrong men!

      By the way have you ever heard a word called NEPOTISM?

      • 0
        1

        I want to be VC Jaffna.

        No chance you will be made VC Jaffna. Vasanthi Arasaratnam is Kiriella’s hot favourite for Jaffna at the moment as she was Douglas Devananda’s and SB Dissanayake’s before. She is Miss Jaffna in every way. FUTA and JUSTA are wasting their time pointing out all her illegal appointments and corrupt financial deeds. He will never listen to complaints against her or Prof. Coomaraswamy in wantharumoolai.

        Did Kiriella stand up for Hoole when he was blatantly marked much lower than their favourites even by a Solicitor General close to Attorney General for Batticaloa VC? A Christian leader at that sucking up to the Minister. Any honest minister would have looked into it.

        • 1
          1

          vv
          “P. D. D. Amarasinghe, a resident of Watte Walauwwa, Harispaththuwa, is known to me. Please take the necessary steps to appoint him as a temporary lecturer on political science.”
          Unless this letter is fake, no excuse or citation of rules can cover up an irregularity.

          The Minister has to answer the public as it was bought out not by CT but by others at Kelaniya.

          Kindly avoid throwing mud at people.
          VC Jaffna was the preference of the Council and won the vote fair and square on both occasions and was not nominated improperly.

          If Hoole was totally rejected in Batticaloa leave it at that.

          Challenge any comment on its merits.

          • 0
            0

            Fair and square when Douglans Devananda runs pre council meetings and tells the council whom to vote for as VC? Hints of pits dug for the council members who voted for Hoole and that knowing what happened to poor Raviraj.

            The terror of those days!

    • 3
      0

      // The Minister is overall in charge of the general direction of university education. //

      No Sir, this does not mean a minister can instruct a specific person be appointed. To set the general direction, the minister should be setting policy, processes and rules by which the system ought to operate and appointment decisions made within those rules. Direct intervention by him on the basis of “I know the guy” is blatant abuse of power.

      Even worse here is Kiriella’s letter says (first four words in second sentence, not captured in CT’s English translation): “inquire(look) into his suitability” which suggests the minister does not know if the guy actually qualifies or not.

      • 0
        0

        NK
        Thank you.
        I understand that the UGC is in control of all non-academic appointments for very long– not only key posts like registrars etc and other administrative staff, but also labourers and unskilled staff. This is not good practice.
        Universities pay the price as well as take the rap from the public for irregular appointments made by the UGC under pressure from not very good people.
        Now the minister interfering with temporary academic posts is going a little too far.
        The minister has had a reasonably good reputation and as long as he is not adamant about this appointment and retreats honourably, he should be spared pain.

        Thee seem to be vested interests at work in defending this mistake, who have been quiet after this comment.
        That too is a welcome sign.

        Let us not hurt people unnecessarily.

      • 0
        0

        If the minister has the decency to retreat and does not push for this irregular appointment, we should leave it at that.
        The man has made a mistake. But give him a chance to correct himself.
        People have done worse and have been tolerated by us.

        We could demand a statement of regret that will restore goodwill.

        Much worse is happening to higher education under Yahpalanaya It also happened under Mahindapalanaya.
        This was the rot that set in with JRJ’s erroneous line on privatization of health and education.
        Should not we talk about that rather than targetting individuals?

    • 4
      1

      It is obvious what Hoole is trying. He still is living with hope. Poor man. This shows he can stoop to any level to get him self appointed as a VC/CA of Jaffna / Batti university.

      A minister write to the university to appoint a temporary lecture of his choice(political/relation) and Hoole does not see any thing wrong. Ha…..Ha……..Ha……..

    • 1
      0

      Hoole has always been concerned about his own appointment and now he is paying bak his debts to the Kahapalanaya gang by rationalising their corruption.

      You cant fool the people Hoole!

    • 0
      0

      Your bias is reflected here very clearly here. You all the bad apples destroyed Tamils’ education for your selfish goals. You people, instead of inventing intelligent things for the students to study and improve their skills and talents, you guys specialized and invented how to defend the immoral activities you all are engaged in.

      There is no minister under any circumstances can ask a dean to take one person for a specific job. A Minister is allowed give a certification mentioning his/her credentials or profiles.
      Even if it is in his ministry that kind of appointments are illegal. Minister cannot own a ministry to put or push out people on his own whimsy. He is only a trustee and obligated to set example too. For any public job, if the recruiting specific guidelines are missing it does not automatically becomes Enrique Iglesias’ Love and Sex music concert for men and women take off their underwear and throw to the stage, seeking favors. That is not how the impartial recruitment takes place for public job. Minister has to follow the common sense practices and ethics, if the guidelines are missing. Every action of his conduct is open for public review.(Here minister has to explain why he crossed boundary of issuing certification and entered into the boundary of ordering illegal recruiting practices).

      A person can have the education and experience, and he could have been appointed fully on that base, but if he had obtained a letter of this nature and provided for the person or committee decided the candidate, a reasonable court will void that appointment citing, not his experience or education, but for having engaged in corrupt, undue influence peddling.

      This lecturer has to be blacklisted and should be prevented from becoming a lecturer in any other university for the corruption practices he was indulged in. Our famous Constitutional minister Dr.Jayampathy was blacklisted for his cheat for the field he sought to enter in.

    • 0
      0

      H.R.H. Hoole,

      Beg to differ. The Minister is not in charge of appointing staff temporary or otherwise. The Minister makes the policies and the ground work for proper administration of the institutions under his purview. Look at the wording of his directive.

      Translated into English,

      I inform you to look at his qualification and appoint him to the post.
      There is no ambivalence in this directive.

      If Kiriella has any sense of shame, he must do the right thing, resign.

    • 0
      0

      The e-code you have quoted is difficult to understand for most of us.

  • 0
    0

    First I blame and condemn this Mr. P.D.D.Amarasinghe who is seeking to be a “Temporary Lecturer” and worse on the subject of “Political Science”. Surely he must have studied “Political Science”; but isn’t he acting disgracefully to the very subject matter he had studied, in going after a politician to secure a job? These are some of the “good for nothing products” we Sri Lankans have produced and what future, that “Miracle of Asia” or “Hub of South Asia” do we expect to achieve. This type of “shallow minded” professionals have infested the whole structure of the Governing system and we see it unfolding it on a daily basis, with the information derived from the investigations that are going on and the legal cases that are already filed in courts.

    Next comes these “Politicians”. They are unable to give up their old habits and bring in reforms to correct the society. This Minister is not like one of those “vagabonds” who have been voted to the Legislative Assembly. He is a “Professional”. If this the way such “Professional Politician” behave and act on matters of Governing, what more to expect from those “hooligans” sitting inside that Assembly?

    To the Head of the Political Science Department: Call that man Amarasinghe and tell him that he is “disqualified”, because of his undue influence brought to bear on the selection process. I call upon the FUTA to back that decision of the Department Head. That is the only way to correct this situation and bring in Good Governance.

    • 3
      1

      Douglas

      You are wrong.

      I blame

      ECTA, FTA, Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, proposed Indo-Lanka bridge, RAW, CIA, MI6, Cameron, EU, NGOs, Liberals, Jaffna Caste system, traitors, LTTE, VP, Dalai Lama, C Vigneshwaran, Sampandan, those uni students who sport a beard, women students who do not wear saree, Burqua, ISIS, Muslim/Christian fundamentalism, the down-trodden, Tamil Nau (toilet Nadu), Diaspora, UNHRC, Navi Pillai, Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad‎, price of crude oil, the Brits for building Uni, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, the stupid one who leaked this letter, ………….

      My conscious is clear now.

  • 2
    0

    After Douglas, MR.,.. now let us hope at least lakshman kiriella gets me the VC spot.

  • 2
    1

    Where our JVP Comrades? May be they have nothing beyond student affairs.

    • 2
      1

      The Professional

      “Where our JVP Comrades?”

      I saw many of them lined up on the western coastline, guarding our borders from the nerds arriving with their laptop and a micro Ganesha statue in their Jolna trendy bags, wearing coke-bottle glasses, …. all of them in millions in total, from India.

      I saw them holding a red book “An Accord of Conscience The National Programme” in their left hand and a cricket bat on the other.

      Cricket bat may not save this island from Indian invasion, but the red book definitely would.

  • 5
    1

    By writing a letter he broke the honorable Prime minister’s directive to his cabinet” not to write letters ” . Therefore minister Kiriella should have called the University and asked his friend be employed instead of writing letters and leaving a trace. When will they ever learn the right way?

  • 2
    0

    This is simple. Colombo University Arts faculty in one dept all the Lecturers recruited through out door connections and it is a family tree dept. VC recruited his son as a Lecturer to dept he belongs. But everybody silent on this.

  • 2
    2

    Why he wants to write letters. He can phone and say it to University jokers.

  • 1
    2

    Kirielle is an idiot. Why did he write a letter. he should have simply called the Vice Chancellor and got him to do it. That happens everywhere. All Vice Cahncellors are political stooges under any government. They will do anything minister says to be in power. All council members are polical party members and they all vote for their party member identified by the minister. simple logic.

  • 1
    0

    Onnama Gonekuta Yuddha Karanna puluwang-Kiriella while ridiculing the sacrifices of Fonseka, and all ranks of the armed forces and hoping for a debacle in Eelam War IV which saw the end of terrorism. Along with Kiriella other famous strong UNP politicians like RW, Ravi K, Mangala outright insulted the people hoping for a debacle so they and Paikya and Jehan could cluck and go to the people saying “See we told you so”.

    If only RW knew what SF said about him in his reports to CBK about RW and his cronies. Ravi K was the worst and Kiriella was almost as good.

    So we say

    ඕනැම ගොනෙකුට ඇමති කෙනෙක් වෙන්න පුළුවන්

    Onnama gonekuta Amathi wenna puluwang- Mahajanathaawa

    apparently his wife is closely related to the Sirimavo B family too via Jayawardene relations. Kiriella left the SLFP because he was angry at not getting a ministership. He was first brought into politics by CBK. No doubt he was articulate and charming and spoke good english being from Trinity I think. So he thought he was entitled to a ministership. She gave him a deputy ministership. So he crossed over being pissed off even after his wife lobbied her cousin CBK to get him a ministership. In fact, She should have given him a ministership because he was better than most of her folks in her cabinet

  • 1
    0

    I do not know what is there in the letter written Sinhala. But based on the CT’s preamble comments appearing before the letter:

    This guy has to resign immediately. I mean immediately because it is so urgent. My Immediate means right now, at this millisecond. As our learned professor Laksiri is commenting, this guy is such a disgrace. He is such a disgrace to Yahapalanaya, the New Royal Government, Disgrace to Lankawe, and Disgrace to the land Buddha flew and established his reign.
    This is a government which has habit of saving the graceful soul from the cruel UN’s electric chair and never mention about it outside as it would be boasting, that is against Buddha’s preaching. Can there a this type of things happen? Remember this is the land where Tilak is coming back again through the backdoor; it has no place for a crook like Kerielle, period. This is the government where the angels of the earth like Wijeyadasa, Fonseka, Rishard, Hakeem(whose entire head is only a beggar wound so he decently hide it before he go to beg to Middle east), Arjuna, … are serving in the Cabinet. What a disgrace for to let him serve in the ministry? Fire him right away.
    ha ha ha ….. Sinhala Intellectuals’ Comedy Thamai!.
    And additional comedians too; not just the Royal the minsters, but the commentators asking him to resign; jobless highwarkarayas!

    What service CT thinking is it doing by bring this comedies and have a bunch writing tough comments demand him resign?

  • 0
    0

    Some depts’ Heads are removing applications from qualified people and only interview his/her henchmen. Check Moratuwa University recent recruitment. They remove qualified PhD applications and only interview people they want to get in.

  • 0
    0

    When the Ministry Portfolios were given, the Government mentioned that they allocated ministries based on scientific analysis. These are the outcome of the scientific analysis and allocation.

    I also could remember one other “Gon Katha” related by this alleged Minister. He was interviewed after getting elected to the Parliament or getting appointed as the Minister. They asked him why did you get elected by the people. His answer was ” All these years, I have been eating “Katta” with the UNP. That is why I was elected by the people.

    These are the kind of people that we appointed to look after our academia and research under the “Yahapalanaya”. No country could develop, without developing the Universities and related research activities.

    God save mother Sri Lanka.

  • 1
    0

    [Edited out]

    • 3
      1

      ballah

      “[Edited out]”

      Thanks again for keeping it brief.

  • 3
    0

    completely off topic I agree but didnt this particular university hand out a honorary doctorate to that pillar of the society Dr mervyn silva?

    • 2
      0

      oops i got that wrong,.. how embarrassing!!

  • 1
    0

    “Ohuge’ Sudusukama Pariksha Kala Bala….”

    Aren’t People commenting on this letter, before reading it with Wisdom?

    I am no admirer of Lakshman Kiriella, but he does not seem to be ordering the Kelaniya University to appoint this Person to the above Position!

  • 1
    0

    Although I do not approve of the minister’s letter, there is an important wording that was lost in translation. It should be translated as “Please take the necessary steps to appoint him as a temporary lecturer on political science after examining his qualifications”

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