17 October, 2019

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Secretaries To New President, PM Under Scrutiny

A spate of preliminary appointments to the public administration sector under President Maithripala Sirisena has raised serious questions about the new administration’s promises about good governance, transparency and a merit based public sector.

The appointment of P.B. Abeykoon a senior SLAS officer as Secretary to the President came as a rude shock followed closely by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s own choice of secretary.

Maithri SAbeykoon who was at one time the Controller General of Immigration was later Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration. He is believed to be a close confidant of Gamini Senarath, one of the key power brokers of the Rajapaksa administration.

Senarath who also controversially served as chairman of several companies owned by proxy by the Rajapaksas, is believed to have worked closely with Abeykoon – President Sirisena’s choice for his most senior official.

“Gamini Senarat is No 1 on the list to be investigated for fraud and all kinds of dealings during Mahinda’s reign,” said an enraged UNP member to Colombo Telegraph. “This is an unbelievable appointment because everyone knows Abeykoon’s links to Senarat,” the UNP member said.

Other Sirisena aides insisted that the new President had no idea of Abeykoon’s dealings with Senarat and the possible implication of the civil servant in nefarious activities under the previous regime. “The appointment is temporary. Maybe he knew this man and was comfortable with him. After all this is the officer that is always around you, in your home in your office – people want familiarity,” the aide said.

However President Sirisena has insisted that if there are sufficient grounds and the facts are placed before him in a credible way, he will ensure Abeykoon’s removal.

Meanwhile in a surprise move Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a mediocre civil servant as his Secretary.

Saman Ekanayake is a relatively junior officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) and is not known particularly for dynamism or efficiency. He served at the Ministry of External Affairs during the tenure of Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and secured a diplomatic posting to London for his loyal service.

On his return to Sri Lanka, Ekanayake was attached to the Ministry of Finance. Wickremesinghe in his previous avatars as PM had Bradman Weerakoon, the highly respect senior civil servant, as his Secretary.

The appointment of Ekanayake comes in the wake of several disappointing appointments to key administrative positions by the incoming regime. P.B Abeykoon and B.M.U.D Basnayake appointed as Secretary to the President and Secretary Defence respectively have somewhat chequered records under the recent Rajapaksa administration.

The newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry of mass Media, Karunarathna Paranavitharana also received lucrative positions within the previous administration due to his political maneuvering. Paranavitharana was a member of Prof. GL Peiris’ staff during the Chandrika Kumaratunga administration. When Kumaratunga took over ministries from the UNF Government in 2003 Paranavitharana was sent to Lake House as Editorial Director. He was then appointed as SLBC Director General and went on to hold the same position at Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    5

    Highly placed sources in the government have divulged that when Mahinda was certain of his failure in the elections he tried his best to cling onto power. Mahinda tried to declare emergency rule. When it was not possible to directly undermine the elections Mahinda tried to do it indirectly through others.

    When nobody listened to the then President, and when he found that vacating the office is the only way around Mahinda called Ranil Wickramasigne ( the incumbent Prime Minister) over telephone, and demanded that the new government should ensure a list of things in favour of Mahinda, failing which Mahinda threatened that he will not vacate office. When that bullying also did not succeed Mahinda had no way other than to vacate the office.

    Attempts made by Rajapakse to continue in power

    1. Tried to declare emergency in Sri Lanka and thereby to declare the ongoing elections process null and void
    • Failed

    2. Sought support from the joint operations command (JOC) to undertake a military coup
    • The military refused

    3. Ordered the Attorney General to declare the elections null and avoid
    • Attorney General refused

    4. Ordered the military commander to undertake a military coup
    • The Commander refused

    The following is an extract of the conversation between Rajapakse and Ranil Wickramasinge in which Rajapakse has placed conditions to vacate office peacefully.

    Rajapakse: I need you to continue my protection!
    Wickramasinghe: It can be continued.
    Rajapakse: It is because LTTE is getting more active that I need high personal security !
    Wickramasinghe: No, We will continue your protection as a former President of Sri Lanka.
    Rajapakse: You should not make Sarath Fonseka the Defense Minister!
    Wickramasinghe: I cannot guarantee such things.
    Rajapakse: You should continue the personal protection to my brother Gotabhaya!
    Wickramasinghe: Impossible.
    Rajapakse: I need a big house to stay in as a former President of Sri Lanka!
    Wickramasinghe: Impossible, you will get what you are entitled to.
    Rajapakse: You should guarantee that there will not be any act of vengeance against me!
    Wickramasinghe: Vengeance is not our policy, but I will guarantee you that whatever that is required to undertake a transparent and clean administration.

    • 2
      0

      Seems like witness to the call. [Edited out]

  • 10
    0

    shameful….
    Gamini Senarat’s wifes family had small printing press that printed small books and those notices for obituaries etc and after MR became president it has become the state of the art modern press that can print even a newspaper and most of the advertisement posters and others for all multi national companies.

    How come a govt servant can save and invest billions from his meager salary?
    very very disappointing with My3 and Ranil – this means our only option is JVP and TNA?

    The corrupt regime should be taken to task as they did in Arab springs as someone like Saddam Husseing bro in law was hanged.

    • 5
      0

      Investigate how PRO-MATE BOOKS took off. Where there special perks, tax breaks etc.

  • 8
    0

    We need a mechanism to take the MaRa regime to task on corruption and claim the billions for the national coffers that the present regime can use for the Education and health sectors.

    A thorough investigation will make Gamini Senerat accountable for billions of rupees in kickbacks and this is the man who make the crossover of Tissa Athanayake possible with 250M offer.

    We need answers from Pres Sirisena as what we need a leader that can act like a Modi and not someone who copied Modi jacket and act like a Lankan-Modaya.

    • 3
      0

      ARe tehse the arguments.. WELL ONE TIME THE NEW PRESIDENT WAS THE CLOSEST TO MR AND MOST PARTNERS OF THE GRAND coalition.. BUT HEY HE IS GOING TO USHER DEMOCRACY.. SO CALLED.. SO WHATS THE ISSUE HERE OF ASSOCIATIONS??? MORE WHITE ELEPHANTS BY CMB TELEGRAPH..

      • 1
        1

        Will new government block Colombo telegraph access in SL soon ?

  • 2
    0

    We definitely been a public mechanism that allows us the people to have a say in who gets these top positions to govern us. Or to advise my3Ra on matters they may genuinely not know about. Come on My3Ra makes us proud to be Sri Lankans again!!
    Just because someone is loyal to you or is familiar with you, it does entitle you to give that man an important job – it should be based on capability and UNBLEMISED REPUTATION! remember famous saying – leopard never changes his spots.

  • 3
    7

    “Saman Ekanayake is a relatively junior officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) and is not known particularly for dynamism or efficiency.”

    Has he got a good butt?

    • 1
      6

      You are on the money Shankar.

      [Edited out]

  • 10
    2

    At least we got rid of MR. But we will soon realize that the new guys are also the other side of the same coin. We have to work with the coins we have. They all stink

    • 0
      0

      No this is the first time ever we have built up this kind of coalition. So how can you call it the other side of the coin ?

      Even if the ones within that would abuse the power – JVP will have the power to change it. That is the key difference. They have now agreed upon to build up that commission to act above all the cabinet ministers. That is really good move.
      Good things are whoever being done should be praised. Jaya niyathai.

  • 8
    1

    Keep up the good work CT. Your responsibility is to expose irregularities immaterial of who is in power.

  • 5
    0

    What I wrote before the election…..could have been an astrologer!

    Friends, morons, countrymen neither MR nor M3 are going to deliver democracy, clean government, justice or equality. They are in this race for what they can get out of it. Satellite is late as usual but also behind the scenes pulling what strings she can. They are all bloody rogues as you will find out next year.
    Paul
    December 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm
    Reply

  • 5
    1

    Saman Ekanayake cannot conduct a meeting in English and does not possess any of the analytical skills. He cannot contribute anything but will always say “Yes Sir”. He is a Nikaweratiya Baiya. That is how he got two postings from Bogollagama. Bogols also from Nikaweratiya but from a different class.

    You can check with Madam Rosie Senanayake about the quality of Saman Ekanayake as he worked under her in Malaysia. In London as the admin officer he provided all the comforts to Namal and Rohitha studying in London during that period. In London he developed a very good rapport with the then High Commissioner retired Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, right hand man of MR.
    Now he will pass all the top secrets to MR through Nihal Jayasinghe.
    It is very strange that Hon PM has selected an inefficient charlatan like Saman Ekanayake as his Secretary.

  • 6
    0

    I nearly fell from my chair when I saw Abykoon standing at the My3’s oath taking ceremony. I knew him quite well while he was the controller of Immigration and emigration. He’s not even capable of ”Chaiwala” or a tea-boy who was given such a mammoth task. He was the darling of white diplomats even to accompany them to buy a fang…

    My3, please sack him with immediate effect……

  • 5
    0

    GAMINI SENARATH

    Check out please the ownership of the large house that was recently redevoloped adding a swimming pool and tennis court on the Badulla Road by lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya (The second large house before the Nanu Oya Bridge) going towards Badulla. Bought by Basil Rajapakse but held in GAMINI SENARATH’s name.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]
    We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 7
    0

    It is very scaring to read this article and also the comments made by various contributors on this article. Both the new President and P.M. are well versed with politics, the administrative set up and very concerned that they may have chosen the wrong people. It is with great difficulties the masses have voted them into power expecting Good governance and if the selected people are wrong ones this may be a further disaster.

    We hope they will review all new administrative appointments very closely.

  • 2
    0

    One peasant replacing another ?

  • 3
    0

    What is this Hullabaloo by the gradually disgruntling Elite, Anglican & Vellala supporters?.

    Isn’t Bathudeen , who supposed to have bashed a Vellala Magistrate on former LTTE turf officially , a very very powerful Minister now assigned to serve the Nation?.

  • 0
    0

    I think Abeykoon & Ekanayake are two excellent choices. Abeykoon take a bow & Mr. Ekanayake bend down.

  • 0
    0

    Champika should be made aware of above facts.

    Sengodan. M

  • 2
    0

    One of the basic problems may be that the quality of Administrators, as everything else has drastically dropped over the years.

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
    0

    With the 17th Amend. coming up, all Dept. Secretaries and similar
    Grade of appointments coming under the purview of the relevant commissions, should be made as subject to confirmation by these Commissions., retrospectively. This way some relevancy to good governance will be sown.
    Over to the new Minister for Public Administration (if there
    is one?)

  • 0
    0

    To me if you pick on every one gets appointed, you can only left with one option, that is to bring Mother Teresa. All who gets to top level seems to have got to that level through both talent and other traits that include luck, favourism, political aligination, loyal, so but ethics appeared to be put in the back burner. To do weed out the service, we ended up with nothing, so we’ve got to weigh the qualities and pick one. Naturally, behaviour going forward hopefully influenced by the leader they served for.

    However, I have still hope that some of the public servants held on to their guns despite the threat this regime has posed, Mr Desapriya to name one. If MR has had retained the power, he would have been killed not his body guard. Luckliy we didnt have people like Dayan, GL Pieris or Mohan Pieris were in this position. If Mohan was the AG, we would be in a deep s**t by now.

  • 0
    0

    Maithrieeee…. It is Looking more like the “100-Day-Plan” was a hastily scribbled ‘allure plan’ to get votes and win the election. Those who were responsible obviously had not given much thought to how many “Ministries” Sri Lanka should have…. all they seem to have focused on is to highlight “25 ministers”…..
    Already, there is no Sports Minister, and there are already 26 ministers.

    Hope MY3 and his clan are not this short-sighted on other issues as well.

    All the my3 “politicians” seem to care about now is to hound the Rajapaksas. But where are the real issues to take the Country forward?

  • 0
    0

    “Men may come and men may go but I go on for ever.”

    That seems to be the attitude of the Administrative Service. These fellows have learned the excellent art of being in both sides at the same time. It is not a recent phenomenon. One individual was in the camps of both Maithripala Senanayake, the then most senior minister of the Government of Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike in mid ’70s, and as well as that of Mr. J. R. Jayawardana.

    If we want to put Yahapalanaya in to practise it should not merely be a slogan. Amongst the many the real reform of the service is a crying need and it should not be that opulent and prominent in the public service so as to dominate over other services. The setting up of so called independent commissions is not a panacea but shoving the problem elsewhere.

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