Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi yesterday re-remanded Priyani Chandrika the Principal of Mahahamaya Girls School Nugegoda now being held earlier on a charge of obtaining Rs. 15,000 from a parent for the School Development Society (SDS). The Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations Against Bribery or Corruption is prosecuting.
Attorney-at-Law Anuja Premaratne making an application for bail submitted that a receipt was issued to the complainant for the money which was received from her for the SDS. All donations to the SDS were on a voluntary basis. The Principal was the President of the SDS and the membership consisted of the parents of students. In every government school there is a SDS, which was set up under an Education Ministry circular. The core functions of SDS included receiving funds for schools development work and for upgrading infrastructure. SDS funds were deposited in a Bank of Ceylon account and were utilized to procure furniture and pay water and electricity bills. In the back drop of inadequate government fund allocations to meet school expenditure, without a SDS a government school is unable to function, counsel said.
The Magistrate queried whether there was an official in charge to receive such donations?
SI Kumarasiri prosecuting stated that there was no official appointed to receive donations. The money was given to a minor employee.
Attorney-at-Law Kirthi Premaratne in his submissions highlighted the security measures in force at schools for which additional funds were needed. He reiterated that out of the donations to the SDS security needs has also to be addressed.
The Magistrate queried from prosecution whether investigations were concluded and on being informed that investigations were proceeding re-remanded the suspect.
There was a large gathering of teachers to witness the proceedings.