Charges Levelled At Present Administration by Ranil Wickremasinghe Countered By Former Protege Ravi Karunanayake 's Inside Information And Highlighted By Cabinet Minister Mangala Samaraweera!
Periscope -Global Sinhala Village For LankaWeb
There are alarming charges of inefficiency and corruption against the former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe which if provable statistically would categorically offset his credibilities as worthless relative to the baseless news reports about his accusations against the Freedom Alliance Government which appear to be an exaggerated ploy to cover up his own misdeeds in an attempt to discredit President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge's UPFA Administration!
In response to the Allegations by Mr.Wickremasinghe, the Ports, Aviation, Media Minister and Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Mangala Samaraweera has presented an 'expense sheet' of the previous Goverment relative to patronage appointments and the spending involved which has initially been presented to him by Parliamentarian Mr.Ravi Karunaratne who was very much an executive part of the previous administration as well as a cabinet member.The information therein tantamounts to nearly US $ 18m former PM Wickremasinghe is cited as having lavished on crony advisors !
In a Western World Administration or in any other, this kind of excessive and irresponsible mismanagement of State Funds would certainly constitute impeachment and indictment if proven!
It seems to be no surprise that the former Premier Wickremasinghe and his consorts have now taken to the streets with much audacity to proclaim inefficiency and corruption of the present Government's two and a half rule when the equation governing the proverb pointing to a splinter in another's eye with a log in one's own seems to be perfectly applicable here and relative to the charges brought against Mr.Wickremasinghe whose own charges against the present Administration needs to be refuted with considerable reproach. It seems ironic that some of the charges levelled at Mr.Wickremasinghe have emerged from within the UNP camp and highlighted by Deputy Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera about State Funds of astronomical proportions squandered during the UNP incumbency on foreign advisors and personal buddies currying favour with the Prime Minister whose selective handouts appear to have been a total wastage of the Nation's Coffers and a damnable shame!
There seems sufficient evidence to prove these charges and much to account for, and as far as Mr Wickremasinghe is concerned a daunting task to say the least where the UNP camp is probably better off toning down their baseless allegations against the inefficiencies of the incumbent UPFA Government which have come a long way towards the Nation's progress in the two and a half years it has been in office where the impure advances of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been greatly contained and controlled and the development programs towards a better future for the nation admirably set in place! It has been accepted by many experts that the approach towards confronting and dealing with priorities by the UPFA Government is far more conducive towards the needs of the Nation than efforts of the previous Administration which almost bartered away the Nation's Sovereignity, Territorial Integrity and Security to a band of proscribed and outlawed terrorists!
In a manner which suggests wanton and reckless squandering of State Funds as pointed out by UNP Parliamentarian Mr. Ravi Karunaratne who also held high office during the UNP's tenure and now fallen out of grace with the Wickremasinghe camp,the following statistics need immediate investigaton as they appear to be anomalies of extraordinary composition totally irrelevant towards the proper governance of a Nation and its well being .The Administrative Staus Quo of the Wickremasinghe era seems to have very blatantly utilised their power to line their pockets and those of its favourites at the expense of the Nation. its taxpayer's and ordinary citizens!
According to the information provided, Foreigners were conspicuous among the former Prime Minister's advisors. A Mr. John Earl who was brought down by Ranil Wickremesinghe for publicity work during the 1999 Presidential Election and later named as consultant to the unit set up to develop a master plan for Strategic Communication and paid 239,280 US dollars per year. Accordingly his monthly pay was 19,940 US dollars or Rs. 2,053,820. It is also a well guarded but popular 'secret' that whatever his designation John Earl's main function appeared to be that of selecting the former Prime Minister's clothing, and providing him with speech training and strategies to create dissension in opposition ranks. A reflection of The Prime Minister's insecurities perhaps!
A certain Mr. A. G. Cuthbertson who was appointed as an advisor for strengthening Government capacity was paid 227,625 US dollars per year which amounted to Rs. 1,953,781 monthly.
Two other so called advisors Trent J. Bertrand and Thomas Maxwell were paid 232,625 US dollars each per year which amounted to Rs. 1,996,697 monthly each.
James W. Robertson who was former Prime Minister's Senior Economic Advisor was paid 214,000 US dollars per year which amounted to Rs. 1,836,833 monthly.
Rohan Samarajeewa who functioned as Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission during the PA Government was appointed as advisor to the Prime Minister and he was paid 298,000 US dollars per year. (Rs. 2,557,833 per month) in addition to other allowances and facilities.
Other Govermental aides Lakshman Siriwardena was paid an annual salary of Rs. 4.8 million, Harsha de Silva an annual salary of Rs. 2.6 million, Ms. Sarasalie Fonseka an annual salary of Rs. 3.84 million and A.A. Seneviratne an annual salary of Rs. 2.76 million while all other advisors had been paid monthly salaries in excess of Rs. 100,000 .
Salaries and allowances paid to former Prime Minister's other friends such as R. Paskaralingam are not included in this list. where further concerted investigation could probably reveal much more relative information.
The source for all these payouts towards excessive patronages has been evidenced shockingly enough as a large slice of the 18 million US dollars (Rs. 1854 million) received as World Bank Aid during the latter part of the PA Government and has been utilised to pay the salaries and allowances of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's Foreign Consultants and local Consultants who were his intimate friends. From this aid 7.97 million US dollars (Rs. 820 million) had been utilised to pay salaries and allowances to Prime Minister's advisors and 112 advisory organisations during a year. This money had been spent on the salaries and allowances of advisors appointed to the Policy Planning and Implementation Ministry which functioned under the Prime Minister by stating that it had been allocated for Public Sector Reforms implemented under the Ministry of Economic Reform, Science and Technology.While these foreign advisors received salaries and allowances far in excess of what they could earn in their own countries they received other perks as well including super vehicles, luxury apartment facilities and VIP air tickets to visit their home countries seven to eight times per year.
All this while the Nations financial woes and those of the impoverished reached catastrophic proportions , unemployment soared sky high and consumer goods for the average citizen almost totally out of reach while the PA Administration paraded around the world portraying that all was well within Sri Lanka and things were returning to normalcy!!
To counter the accusations levelled by Mr Wickremesinghe against the present Adminstration it must be borne in mind that by comparison, the salaries and allowances received today by Presidential advisors are minimal. Presidential advisory posts carry salaries and allowances much below the level of their counterparts in the previous Administration. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spent foreign aid received by the country, lavishly on his friends who had been appointed as his advisors, and are very serious aberrations of the norm towards the objectives of the aid sent to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Minister Samaraweera also pointed out specifically that the President's advisory appointees were individuals of exceptional skills, knowledge and expertise in their respective fields while all of them were Sri Lankan Nationals, some of whom had received large salaries and allowances in the private sector earlier and that the negative allegations against the President in this respect were unfounded and baseless.
Mr Samaraweera was also quoted as saying somewhat appropriately that"Although the UNP which has got into a frenzy in the face of the people friendly program of work implemented by the UPFA Government was highlighting matters in an exaggerated manner to hide its own past misdemeanours, it should be pointed out that the people through their verdict at the recently concluded general elections had clearly shown that they had not forgotten the past. We ought to recall how the UNP which make these false accusations against Presidential advisors, acted during its 2 year period of rule. We cannot forget that era" end quote.
Perhaps neither can the Sinhala Nation apalled at the realization that those responsible were mostly Sinhalese themselves together with some who presently face criminal charges involving misappropriation and fraud where there are also many others who have been overlooked for their excesses and also needto be flushed out and dealt with appropriately !
© 1997-2004 www.lankaweb.Com
Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.