Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and fellow government MP S. M. Marikkar were engaged in a heated argument in Parliament yesterday.
The argument flared up when Mr. Marikkar raised an oral question in the House on an alleged fraud at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and linked it up with the recent elections of Sri Lanka Cricket ( SLC). The alleged fraud was regarding spending a sum of Rs 113.3 million for two opening ceremonies of the Magampura Port.
Mr. Marikkar initially said those responsible have to be brought to book. He said an officer attached to Public Relations Division on Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) had been questioned over the alleged fraud as an act of revenge. “The interpreted story is that SLPA Chairman Dammika Ranatunga had influenced this officer who is a member of Sri Lanka Public Services Cricket Association to vote for a certain contestant at SLC Elections and that he would be dealt with if he failed to vote accordingly.” Mr. Marikkar alleged.
“If the MP reveals as to who had made this allegation I will come up with the rest of the story,” Minister Ranatunga said in his response
“The story was carried in the media including some websites. Is the Minister trying to say that the story was wrong?,” Mr. Marikkar questioned.
Deputy Speaker Tilanga Sumathipala who was at the chair intervened and requested the minister and the MP to bring the argument to an end as time was running out.
“Allow me to answer” the Minister replied. Then the Minister hit out at the MP and said investigations on the alleged fraud is in progress. If you think the government should drag and put people in jail it is not good governance. If you are a member of the Yahapalana Government allow the investigations to continue in the proper manner. Justice will be done in the future, “the Minister said.
Mr. Marikkar then replied saying:“We did not make sacrifices to get this government elected to see it following the last regime. Tell me what you would do if I prove that the SLPA Chairman had influenced the said officer,” he said.
The Minister who was fired up at that time hit out at the MP saying. “Don’t come and repeat what certain bookies are telling you. I was present at the SLC elections. I know about cricket more than you. I also know about the cricket mafia,” he said.(Yohan Perera)