11 June 2011/ By Yohan Perera
Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene and UNP National Organizer Ravi Karunanayake had a show down in Parliament yesterday over the payment of salaries to security personnel working for a state owned security firm, ‘Rakna Arakshana Lanka Ltd’.
Mr. Karunanayake, during question time in the House, raised a supplementary question and said that the company’s charges were Rs. 30,000 and sometimes more for a security officer from the institution or the organization he is deployed to work for. However, the UNP MP alleged that the security officer himself was paid only Rs.17, 000 in terms of his monthly salary. “Is this reasonable?” he inquired.
Mr. Gunawardane in his reply said that retired military personnel were employed at this firm. After hearing this, Mr. Karunanayake said that these ex-military personnel should not be discriminated against in this manner. An angry Mr. Gunawardane responded that those who committed themselves for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the motherland had been employed gainfully after retirement in this manner. “Please do not insult them. Disabled soldiers are also among those employed there,” he retorted. Mr. Karunanayake shot back, When you become helpless without a proper answer to my question, you get angry.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed that Secretery to ministry of Finance P. B. Jayasundara, Liaison Officer- Ministry of Defense Palitha Piyasiri Fernando, Attorney General Mohan Peries, Secretary – Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal Trade Sunil Sirisena, Secretary to the Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wild Life Udeni Wickramasingha and Additional Secretary Ministry of Defence Siripala Hettiarrachchi were also share-holders of the company. It was revealed that the company had been established on 23rd of October 2006 and had earned a profit of Rs 71,972,473 for the year 2009/2010. It had provided security services to institutions which included Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd, the Ministry of Finance (Treasury Building), the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, the Atomic Energy Authority, the Independence Television Network Ltd, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (Hambantota Port), the Urban Development Authority – Sethsiripaya, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, the Ministry of Trade Development, Sri Lankan Air Lines and the Road Development Authority among others.