Former Minister of Highways Lakshman Kiriella has created new job category and appointed 45 United National Party (UNP) members as public liaison officers and 102 consultants to the Road Development Authority (RDA) in October 2015, it was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate corruption of the current administration today.
An official attached to the Ministry, under conditions of anonymity informed the Commission that in late 2015, Personal Secretary to the Minister Chamindrani Kiriella had sent a list of names to the RDA Chairman requesting him to recruit these 45 persons as public liaison officers.
It was revealed that the list comprising of UNP members from Kiriella’s electorate and most of them were local Councillors of the Party from Kandy.
“This position was created with the intention of managing conflict situations during the land acquisition periods when starting new projects but the position of public liaison officer does not exist in the approved cadre of the RDA,” officer informed the Commission.
It was informed the Commission that these approvals had made without having a cabinet approval and the Minister could not make such appointments without approval from the board of directors attached to RDA. “The Minister only sought the board's approval nine months after the appointments were made,” officer said.
The officer also told the Commission that when that matter was raised at the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) in May and June 2016, the officials noticed that the Cabinet did not give the approval for these appointments.
“These 45 public liaison officers were paid approximately Rs. 1.1 million per month for a period of one year, and these officers were not even asked to present a work plan. They were not assigned to a particular duty station. After a while they were asked to create their own attendance sheets to show that they were doing something,” the officer told the Commission.(Yoshitha Perera)