Prime Minister's Secretary Saman Ekanayake testifying at the Presidential Commission today said the lease agreement with D.P.A. Jayasinghe & Company to rent out a building for the Agricultural Ministry in 2016 was signed without the Attorney General's approval.
He said if the Agricultural Ministry had sought the AG's approval there would have not been any loopholes in the agreement but the ministry would have not been able to obtain the approval of the AG in any case because of an ongoing partition title case on the particular land.
However, on an earlier date former Agricultural Minister, Duminda Dissanayake said the lease agreement was signed with the AG's approval and if necessary could submit the approval document to the Commission.
The Agricultural Ministry had rented out this building after vacating its previous 'Govijana Mandiraya' in Battaramulla because the government had wanted the premises to locate the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committees.
Mr. Ekanayake said the inefficiency of Agricultural Ministry officials had led to the payment of this massive rent even when it was left unoccupied for a year.
He said the selection committee had only checked the space available to locate the Ministry and was unaware as to what transpired thereafter.
Sri Jayawardenapura Municipal Council Mayor Madura Vithanage also testified before the Commission and said he would launch an investigation into how permission was granted to construct the building because of the ongoing partition title case. (Yoshitha Perera)