Former agriculture minister Duminda Dissanayake today made a statement to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) Police Unit on corruption in the current administration with regard to the renting out of the D.P.A. Jayasinghe building by his Ministry in 2017.
At the proceedings it was revealed that the former minister had wanted considerable changes made to his office on the 9th floor compelling the ministry to extend by four months the time given to furnish and carpet the building.
It was revealed that the ministry had signed an agreement with D.P.A. Jayasinghe Company on April 11, 2016 but the ministry did not occupy the building for more than 16 months though the ministry was paying the company a huge monthly rental of some Rs.24.6 million from April 2016.
It was also revealed that there was no date of termination in the lease agreement signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and D.P.A. Jayasinghe Company in 2016 on renting out the building.
Attorney Tanushka Gunawardena who prepared this agreement said both parties agreed to not having a termination clause. “Former ministry secretary B. Wijeratna told me that there was no need for a termination clause. I was entrusted with the preparation of the agreement by Upali Jayasinghe, owner of the D.P.A. Jayasinghe Company,” she said.
Under the agreement, the ministry had agreed to pay some Rs.1.3 billion for five years. The ministry of agriculture had agreed to pay Rs.21 million + VAT and national building tax a month from April 2016 to April 2019. From April 2019 to April 2021 the ministry was to pay Rs.24.1 million + VAT and national building tax a month.
Former minister Dissanayake submitted a Cabinet paper in 2016 seeking approval to move into the new building and an agreement was signed by the ministry, Upali Jayasinghe and Sabeetha Perera, representing DP Jayasinghe Tours and Transport.
It was also revealed on an earlier occasion that Agriculture Ministry employees had begun complaining about the facilities at the D.P.A. Jayasinghe building within two weeks of moving in.(Yoshitha Perera)