Moves to pay millions to officials victimised by Yahapalana Govt.
Attempts are underway by a section of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) parliamentarians to push for a Cabinet paper through the Prime Minister’s office recommending millions of rupees in compensation for state officials who had been subjected to alleged “political victimisation” under the ‘Yahapalana’ government of 2015-2019.
The Cabinet paper had been drafted by former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa following recommendations of a committee headed by former Chief Justice Asoka de Silva. It had not been submitted for approval as Mr Rajapaksa was forced to resign following the events of May 9. A fresh attempt is now being made to submit the paper to the Cabinet after Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena assumed office.
The Sunday Times understands that pressure is being brought on the PM’s office from SLPP higher-ups to submit the paper to the Cabinet in the coming days to secure compensation for officials identified by the committee.
Aside from former Chief Justice de Silva, other members in the committee, appointed on September 10 last year, are former Court of Appeal Judge Sunil Rajapaksa, President’s Counsel V.K. Choksy, former Auditor General S. Swarnajothi (resigned on November 11, 2021 and replaced by Chartered Accountant K.S. Chandrapala De Silva), and retired Accountant H.D. Weerasiri.
A total of 27 officials are due to receive monetary compensation as per recommendations of the De Silva committee, according to documents seen by the Sunday Times. The compensation ranges from Rs. 700,000 to Rs. 25 million. The committee had ruled that a further 11 officials who had applied are not eligible for compensation as court cases against them have not been concluded or because there is a prospect of the cases being refiled.
Those due to receive compensation include former Sri Lanka Insurance Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage (Rs. 24.8 million), former President’s Secretary Gamini Senarath (Rs. 24 million), former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga (Rs. 15 million), Ministry Secretary Anusha Palpita (Rs. 14 million), Magistrate Thilina Gamage (Rs. 6 million), Ministry Secretary Neil Bandara Hapuhinna (Rs. 5.9 million), the Divineguma Development Department’s former Director General Kithsiri Ranawaka (Rs. 4.8 million) and Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda (Rs. 4.2 million). The total compensation runs to more than Rs. 117 million.
Though Mr Senarath had earlier applied for compensation, he had written to the committee on January 13 this year informing it that he does not expect monetary relief, the documents show. Nevertheless, since the committee had already decided to award compensation to others who had applied, it had decided that it was appropriate to recommend compensation for Mr Senarath as well. Whether he accepts the compensation or not is up to him, it has been decided.