Responding to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe s recent attack on the Parliament for taking disciplinary action against a minor employee for stealing three Chinese rolls, a senior House official said that the worker had been found guilty previously on a similar charge. He was removed in keeping with a decision to deal sternly with anyone who had been caught with stolen goods regardless of their value.
Addressing a propaganda rally at the open air theatre at Viharamaha Devi Park last Sunday (September 27), the Opposition Leader said that a Parliament worker arrested by the police while taking three Chinese rolls for his family remained in custody. Nothing could be as ridiculous as targeting a minor worker as those who had robbed the county of billions of rupees and caused the collapse of public enterprises continued to live a life of luxury. He also accused the House administration of waste and irregularities.
The Auditor General, too, has highlighted food waste at the House during the tenure of previous Secretary General Mrs. Priyani Wijesekera though the incumbent Secretary General Dhammika Kitulgoda had taken some corrective measures to tackle waste and irregularities.
The Parliament last Wednesday (September 30) interdicted the employee pending an inquiry. Sources said that Wickremesinghe was playing politics on administrative issue.
Sources said the UNP leader identified the interdicted man as a minor employee but he was actually a senior x-ray Inspector on the staff of the Sergeant-at-arms. The bottom line was that the suspect had been involved in a security-related job, sources said adding that he had in fact stolen four kimbula buns served at the staff cafeteria. Sources added that the police had been asked to check the employee after he was spotted taking various items served along with tea.
Sources further said that early this year, the Parliament interdicted another employee who had stolen a kilo of sprats from the in-house kitchen. He had been attached to the Catering and House Keeping Department, sources said recalling some time ago the executive house keeper faced an inquiry by a retired High Court Judge U. L. M. Majeed. She had to leave after being found guilty of misappropriation of property belonging to the House.
Wickremesinghe said that sprats were being caught while loka horu were robbing the country with the law turning a blind eye. Addressing the same public rally, dissident SLFP MP Mangala Samaraweera said that the Attorney General and the IGP had failed to do their job.
Sources said that some of the biggest frauds and shady deals on privatisation took place during Wickremesinghe s tenure as Prime Minister. Had he bothered to go through revelations by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) under the chairmanship of Wijedasa Rajapakshe, MP, he would know the persons allegedly involved in those fraudulent transactions. Unfortunately, some of them had taken refuge in the UPFA government, sources said adding that both the government and the Opposition should tackle waste, corruption and irregularities.
It was further said that the UNP leader should first inquire into the Parliament Scholarship Board set up during his tenure as so far only three or four persons had received foreign scholarships through this though millions had been spent to run the offices and pay the staff.
Sources said that photocopies distributed at Sunday s rally addressed by the UNP leader, too, had been printed on photo copy paper belonging to the Parliament. It further said that there was no doubt that even the printing of the so-called Janabala promise had been done in Parliament.