Rs. 3.5 bn misappropriated at Public Trustee Dept

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe claims:

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

New Public Trustee Tharanagani Keenavinna Dissanayake, her sister Shantha Mayadunne, her husband Nalin Dissanayake and family. Pic by Nimal Dayaratne

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC yesterday alleged that Rs. 3,300 million had been misappropriated from the Department of the Public Trustee (DPT) during the previous regime.

1246425480re3-1Speaking at the ceremony to welcome the newly appointed Sri Lanka’s first female Public Trustee Tharangani Keenawinna Dissanayake at the department, he said the recent audits had revealed thousands of rupees were improperly taken from DPT for development projects by the previous government.

Newly appointed Public Trustee had a vital role to play as she had to investigate the wrongdoings and to expose the culprits, Rajapakshe said. “We have to right the wrongs.

The minister said there had been a serious eriosion of public trust in the DPT owing to the manner the previous govenrment had handled funds.

DPT funds did not belong to the government, he said, adding that they were donations given by philanthropists or properties of minors and the disabled. Therefore, the government could use those fund.

Public Trustee Dissanayake said that she would work with the help of the department’s staff to manage the institution to the satisfaction of all those who had entrusted it with handling their funds.

Dissanayake was appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers and she is the first female public trustee of the country. She is a lawyer educated at Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Colombo. She had been working as the Deputy Public Trustee for the last seven years.

Dissanayake also said that there was a misunderstanding among citizens that the DPT was working only with temples but its responsibiities included granting medical aid, charity and poor relief, awarding scholarships, administration of agricultural property and the payment of compensation.