Navin joins Opp campaign to abolish presidency

Rs. 1.5 bn CEB fraud, massive irregularities in Chinese projects cited


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Having claimed that his father, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali had demanded the abolition of the executive presidency or doing away with its draconian powers way back in 1990, Public Management Minister Navin Dissanayake (UPFA MP-Nuwara Eliya District) on Saturday informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his decision to join the Opposition campaign.

In a letter dated Nov 29, 2014, the son-in-law of UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya  said that he had also relinquished duties as coordinating Chairman of Nuwara Eliya electorate.

Dissanayake reminded President Rajapaksa that the then UNP presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake had, in his manifesto for Nov. 9, 1994 presidential election, promised to abolish executive presidency. President Rajapaksa was also told that he too, promised the same at Nov. 2005 and January 2010 presidential polls.

Navin Dissanayake was among nearly 20 UNP MPs who switched their allegiance to President Rajapaksa in 2007 after having been elected to parliament on the UNP ticket at 2004 parliamentary election.

The Minister has, in his letter, alleged that the government has deprived him of an opportunity to serve those living in the Nuwara Eliya District. The MP explained that members like him hadn’t received the necessary resources or given an opportunity to provide some state sector jobs whereas government heavyweights were given ample opportunities.

Referring to a loss of Rs. 1,507,044,116.25 experienced by debt-ridden CEB in 2012 due to fraudulent activities as well as serious irregularities in various on-going Chinese projects, MP Dissanayake said that he could not tolerate the deteriorating situation any longer.

Reiterating that he had switched allegiance to the government in 2007 to support the war effort, Dissanayake appreciated the political leadership given by President Rajapaksa to bring the war to a successful conclusion.

Responding to a query by The Island, Dissanayake said that the country couldn’t afford to allow the executive presidency to continue. The MP alleged that waste, corruption and irregularities had now reached a level that was now threatening the national economy. Emphasising that he had no personal animosity towards President Rajapaksa, Dissanayake said that he had decided to leave the government purely on differences of opinion.

The Nuwara Eliya District MP said that a portrait of Gamini Dissanayake would be unveiled at Sirikotha on Monday (Dec. 1) at noon. UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena are among those scheduled to attend the event.

An LTTE suicide cadre assassinated Dissanayake on the night of Oct 23, 1994 at Thotalanga in the Kotahena police area. The UNP named his widow, Srima the alternative presidential candidate at the election which brought Chandrika Bandaranaike into power.


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