By Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera
The government yesterday presented a supplementary estimate in parliament to allocate funds for various subjects such as to purchase a vehicle for Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and renovation of official residence of Public Enterprise Minister Lakshman Kiriella though it was withdrawn in the morning claiming that it was defective.
Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in the morning that the entry on allocation of funds for his official residence was completely false and that he was withdrawing the supplementary estimate.
However, later in the evening, he informed parliament that he looked into the matter and got to know that the funds had been allocated for renovation of the official residence of the then Public Enterprise Minister Kabir Hashim and presented the supplementary estimate including the allocation for the renovation again.
“The renovation has been done in 2018 during the tenure of then minister Kabir Hashim. The estimate had gone up by Rs. 76.7 million. That is why, the additional allocation has been sought,” he said.
Opposition MP Chandima Weerakkody, who raised an objection, said it was not possible to withdraw a document presented in the House in the morning and present it again in the evening.
“It is not possible to withdraw it when MPs were there and present it again in the evening when MPs were not here. It should be presented in the party leaders meeting and seek the approval again,” he said.
The presiding member Bimal Ratnayake said he would refer the matter to the Speaker to take a decision.
Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said he had been living in his private residence since 1980 and that the entry on allocation of funds for his official residence was completely false.
JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake in the morning raised a point stating that it was wrong to allocate funds of Rs. 100 million to purchase vehicles for the Opposition leader, Deputy Minister of Lands and renovation of Minister Kiriella’s official residence while funds were still to be allocated for victims of the Easter Sunday attack.
Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said a vehicle was allocated to him as the vehicles in the Opposition leader’s office had been taken by former Opposition leader R. Sampanthan.
“Both vehicle and official residence of the Opposition leader were taken by R. Sampanthan. Is it wrong to allocate a vehicle for the Opposition leader?” he asked.
The supplementary estimate had sought to provide additional allocation of Rs. 42 million to purchase a vehicle for Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa while approval was sought to provide additional allocation to settle outstanding bills pertaining to the renovation of official residence of Public Enterprises minister Lakshman Kiriella.
It was also sought allocation of funds to purchase a vehicle for Deputy Minister of Lands.
Supplementary estimate had sought to provide additional allocation of Rs. 42 million to purchase a vehicle for Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa while approval was sought to provide additional allocation to settle outstanding bills