JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday accused a powerful person in government of accepting a US$ 10 million commission to facilitate the sale of SLT shares to a Tamil businessman from Malaysia.
Weerawansa made this allegation in parliament yesterday amidst growing controversy over the sale of SLT shares held by NTT of Japan to Maxis of Malaysia. The JVP member also charged that the President as Finance Minister and Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundera must take responsibility for this state of affairs.
Following Weerawansa’s statement, UNP Gampaha District parliamentarian John Amaratunga called on the member to name the powerful personality who had accepted the US$ 10 million commission.
Leader of the House and Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva also called upon the JVP parliamentarian to name the person who had accepted the commission without making baseless allegations. Weerawansa responded to de Silva stating that he was trying to get him to name the person because the government wanted to know the name.
The JVP parliamentarian also charged that it was wrong of the cabinet of ministers to agree to sell SLT shares held by NTT to a Malaysian company simply because a powerful person was to benefit to the tune of US$ 10 million.
Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara then questioned Weerawansa if he was ready to take the full responsibility of the allegation made by him.
Weerawansa responded by saying that he would not make such a statement if he was not ready to accept responsibility. He also requested the Speaker to make allocations for a full day debate to be held on the deal in parliament.
Also speaking on the issue, UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that government ministers remained silent on the issue, as they did not approve of the deal. He also said that although Minister Rauf Hakeem was in-charge of the relevant portfolio, he did not present the cabinet paper for cabinet approval and he was not aware of it either.
Responding to the statement, Post and Telecommunication Minister Rauf Hakeem said the cabinet paper was presented by the Finance Ministry as the Treasury too had shares of SLT. He also said a cabinet sub committee was currently looking into the matter.
UNP Colombo District parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake questioned as to why the government was now privatizing state assets after presenting a policy of non privatsiation through the Mahinda Chinthana. The UNP called for the appointment of a parliamentary select committee to probe the matter.
Source: The Morning Leader
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