By Yohan Perera
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) today charged that the government had paid for the 20,000 metric tonnes of contaminated petrol, despite the assurance given by Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha having said the payment had been suspended.
UNP spokesman and MP Gayantha Karunatillke told a news conference that according to reliable information they had the consignment had been paid for.
He charged that ministry officials known to be responsible for what happened had not been dealt with according to the Establishment Code and added that any government officer charged with some offence should be sent on no pay leave prohibited from going abroad.
But he said in this case the officials had been transferred to the public administration pool and this marked the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka’s public service.
“The government has dealt with this matter in the same unethical manner it dealt with the Katunayake Free Trade Zone crisis,” he said, recalling that the then Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya who resigned in the aftermath of a FTZ worker’s killing, was sent as an envoy to Brazil.
He said opposition allegations with regard to the low quality fuel had proved right though the government had as usual denied it at first.
Mr. Karunatilleke said the damage caused to fuel pumps at 400 filling stations was ample proof that the Petroleum Ministry had imported contaminated petrol. He said the Ministry had admitted that fuel samples from two filling stations had been tested at the Sapugaskanda lab and had been found unfit to be used in motor vehicles.