- Aluthgamage claims 19 employees worked at Premadasa’s wife’s salon while receiving salaries from the State Engineering Corporation
By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
Another episode of the verbal battle between MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa was witnessed in Parliament yesterday, with both coming up with fresh allegations.
The battle broke out when Mr. Premadasa raised a privilege issue on the remarks made by MP Aluthgamage the other day on malpractices that are said to have taken place at State Engineering Corporation and misusing the Central Cultural Fund.
Mr. Aluthgamage alleged that a sum of Rs 10 billion has been misused during the tenure of Mr. Premadasa as the minister in charge of housing and cultural affairs.
Both parties came out with fresh allegations during yesterday’s cross-talk in the House, Mr. Aluthgamage said some employees of State Engineering Corporation have accepted that they were placed at the salon owned by Mr. Premadasa’s wife. He said H. P. Nandana Kumara, S. K. Hapuarachchi, P. G. Sanjeya, H. P. U. M. Caldera Suranjith Ratnapriya G. Densil, S. P. S. Dissanayake had mentioned during the audit query that they were placed at the salon though they were recruited by the State Engineering Corporation. “State Engineering Corporation had paid salaries for 19 employees though they had worked at the salon,” the MP said.
Also, Mr. Aluthgamage alleged that rent has not been paid for the building where the salon belonging to Mr. Premadasa’s wife is located.
Mr. Premadasa who responded said the internal audit report that the MP quoted is not legally valid. “The audit report has been prepared by an acting internal auditor who has been appointed with the recommendation of the SLPP union in the State Engineering Corporation. “This man is not qualified to be an internal auditor as he has failed one subject at GCE Advanced level examination while he has failed the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) accountancy examination. The minimum accepted qualification in accordance with the state service norms is a bachelor’s degree,” he said.
Later Mr. Premadasa told journalists that allegations with regard to the salon after it had been proven that the internal audit carried out by the State Engineering Corporation was not legal.