Former Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama has sent the following clarification with reference to the news item titled “Illegal Deals Signed to Transfer SLIIT Assets to Private Entity: Amunugama,” which appeared on the front page of the Daily Mirror on August 3rd.
“I wish to state at the outset that I did not in my evidence before the Commission state what is attributed to me in the caption of the said
What I told the Commission was that Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, then Minister in charge of Mahapola and I as the then Minister of Higher Education merely signed as witnesses to the signatures of the transferor and transferee in the Agreements at a ceremonial occasion presided over by the Chief Justice who is the Chairman of the Mahapola Trust Fund in his chambers.
I categorically state that I was not responsible for the drafting or contents of the Agreements and reiterate that I merely signed as a witness.
Your news item that I allegedly “charged” that “two illegal agreements” led to the loss of Rs.48,000 million to the Mahapola trust fund is entirely false as I said no such thing.
In fact my evidence was to the contrary that this was a transaction between two State affiliated agencies and had been authorized by the governing bodies of both.
I also stated that these Agreements had been signed on 2015 and thereafter in 2017 the then Minister of Higher Education had presented a Cabinet paper seeking to re-examine these transactions which was rejected by the Cabinet.
Moreover, I adverted to the fact that SLIIT is a well managed and efficient institution which trains around 7,000 young persons annually in areas vital to the national economy and deserves to be encouraged”.