Committee of Public Enterprises (COPE) Chairman and Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne yesterday said the reputation of the Committee was damaged owing to baseless statements made by three members of the Committee.
Making a special statement in Parliament, he said the COPE was the most important committee in Parliament and as the Chairman of the Committee, he would not let its reputation being tarnished. It is my responsibility and duty to protect the good name of the Committee on Public Enterprises, he said.
On August 19, the COPE report was presented to the House and a press conference was organised soon after. Around 25 media personnel representing various media organisations was present at the briefing, he said.
However, three members of the Committee created a situation by making wild allegations that the report presented to the House that morning contained remarks that they did not make. This disruption of the press conference owing to disagreement of its members was a blow to the reputation of the Committee, he said.
The report contained what had been taken up and discussed during the sessions of the Committee, he said adding that they were not opinions of any single member. Some of the MPs who had disrupted the conference were actually those who had demanded the establishment of the Press Council, the Minister said.
JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the Minister was wrong and what had been printed on the report were not included in the actual recordings of the Committee proceedings, he said. We have summoned the officials including the Secretary of the Committee with all documents, and pointed out to the Minister that there were contradictions. He had cancelled the press briefing with unanimous agreement.