Sri Lanka cabinet warned of early downfall

ECONOMYNEXT – Health minister Rajitha Senaratne warned Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of an imminent danger to the new government unless it immediately sacked corrupt officials who stayed back from the former regime.

Senaratne lambasted Attorney General (AG) Yuwanjana Wanasundera over his failure to prosecute Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd whose floating armoury was the subject of a prolonged CID inquiry.

The minister, who has been re-appointed a cabinet spokesman, vowed he will not allow the case to be hushed up and promised to take action against corrupt officials who remain in key positions of the new government too.

Asked if the AG can be removed, Senaratne said: “We have to handle it somehow. We have to take action. Main thing is to safeguard the government. Not the AG, not the IGP or not the chief justice.”

The minister told reporters in Colombo today that he warned Prime Minister Wickremesinghe that the fate of his government in 2004 could befall the current administration too unless they changed the officials still loyal to Rajapaksa.

1240066191feaWickremesinghe’s government was sacked by the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga, partly following allegations of mishandling of the defence ministry by the then minister Tilak Marapone who has now been appointed minister for law and order.

“People didn’t need a new government if the same old system is continued, people wanted a new government,” Senaratne said. “They had high hopes. We must understand and remember that they have very high hopes. We must not dishearten them.”

He also lashed out at the administration’s failure to stop corruption.

“If you have cash, you can get anything done. “Salli” (cash) is the thing. Now Prime Minister and President are not big issues because of ‘yahapalanaya” (good governance). Offenders are not scared of them. If you have cash anything goes.”

Minister Senaratne only echoed the general sentiment that the new government was inept at best and had failed to deliver on many of the promises to have a trim administration and ensure efficiency in service delivery. (Colombo/Sept17/2015)