Worsening the power struggle within the new government, President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a new committee, headed by Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne, to vet the resumes of heads of all state institutions nominated by the new ministers.
Sirisena has instructed the ministry secretaries to make appointments after recommendations by the Committee, Colombo Telegraph learns. As a result, the appointments of heads of state institutions have come to a standstill.
Highly placed government sources said Sirisea had appointed the committee to restrict the influence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when it comes high-profile appointments in the state sector. The committee allows Sirisena to have the final say over the appointments of heads of state institutions.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph, a senior government spokesman said the appointment of a new committee might be in violation of the standard procedure. “It is the minister that is considered the appointing authority of heads of state institutions coming under each ministry. The committee is an attempt at usurping the powers of ministers.”
It is learnt that Cabinet ministers will take up the matter with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who still remains silent on the setting up of the committee.
In a similar move, Sirisena ensured that State Enterprise, Hill Country Heritage and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella did not receive a single major state institution as per the Gazette on the allocation of subjects to ministries.
Kiriella only received four minor institutions – namely Ceylon Ceramic Corporation, KESCO, BCC Company and the State Resources Management Corporation – that are on the verge of bankruptcy.