Since it was Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who submitted the cabinet paper on leasing out the DPJ building to relocate the Agricultural Ministry, it is the Prime Minister who has to take the responsibility for the misleading information in the cabinet paper, former Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake told the PCoI today.
He said the Prime Minister had submitted the cabinet paper on September 21, 2015, stating that the Agricultural Ministry has to be relocated immediately in the DPJ building so to locate the Sectoral Oversight Committees in the Govijana Mandiraya.
“This matter was not under my control. The entire Cabinet including the Prime Minister had decided to lease out this building. The whole Cabinet had approved this decision and we acted according to the particular cabinet paper,” he said.
However, the commissioners said the committee headed by the PM's secretary appointed to probe the relocating of the Agriculture Ministry had pointed out that there were three buildings with the space requirements to house the Agriculture Ministry.
Responding to the question, Mr. Dissanayake said he only checked the DPJ building which has suggested by the Secretary of the Ministry.
“I had only visited the DPJ building because the Secretary has informed me that this building had sufficient space to house the Ministry. However, before providing the particular committee’s report, our Ministry’s Secretary had checked those other two buildings which were suggested by the committee, but there was insufficient space to relocate the Ministry,” he said.
Commissioners further questioning the former minister, inquired whether the Attorney General (AG) had approved the lease agreement or not. Mr. Dissanayake said had had no document to prove the AG’s approval but the Ministry’s then-Secretary had informed him that AG had approved the lease agreement. (Yoshitha Perera)