Tuesday, September 29, 2009

President reappoints P.B. Jayasundara as the Treasury Secretary

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday reappointed Dr. P.B. Jayasundara as the Treasury Secretary. Dr. Jayasundara had held this post since 2004 till he vacated it on a Supreme Court ruling on a fundamental rights petition.

The Supreme Court in its ruling held him responsible for fraud and corruption in the privatization of Lanka Marine Services Ltd., during the then UNP administration. At that time, Dr. Jayasundara held the post of Chairman of the Public Enterprise Reforms Commission (PERC).

In a judgement delivered by a bench headed by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Dr. Jayasundera was also found to have acted contrary to the law and fined Rs.500,000 to be paid as compensation to the State. He swore and affidavit undertaking to desist from holding any government office in the future.

Dr. Jayasundara later filed a motion in the Supreme Court after the present Chief Justice Asoka de Silva assumed office in June, seeking permission to be relieved from his own undertaking and to resume work in the public service. The SC granted him the requested relief last week.

Meanwhile Treasury Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe whose term of office was extended on the eve of the SC ruling was yesterday appointed as Cabinet Secretary.

The current Secretary to the Cabinet D. Wijesinghe has been appointed as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to South Africa, by the President, the Government Information Department said.

Meanwhile, non cabinet Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday the government would discuss with Dr. Jayasundara whether the better option for 2010 would be a Budget or a Vote on Account.

“We hope to discuss this matter with the newly appointed Treasury Secretary. There are serious talks going on about the options available to us. However, a final decision is yet to be taken,” he said.

Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardane said he too was in favour of a Vote on Account for next year.

“A budget is formulated for a year. The term of this parliament will expire in April. So, we have only a few months left. It is advisable for us to present a Vote on Account in November. After the next General Election, there could be a new set of Cabinet Ministers and they may come up with new budgetary proposals. As such a budget presented at this stage will not serve the desired purpose,” he said.

© Daily Mirror

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