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Govt. admits irregularities in arms deals

 08 June 2011/ By Kelum Bandara andYohan Perera

The government yesterday admitted in Parliament that the Presidential Commission headed by Justice Shirani Thilakawardane submitted its report on irregularities in the purchase of arms, ammunition and other equipment for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force,but declined to reveal further details citing security concerns.but declined to reveal further details citing security concerns.

The Commission comprised  of Mrs. Tilakawardane, Nissanka Udalagama and Nihal Edward Dissanayake.

Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane, in response to a question by UNP MP Ajith P. Perera, said the Commission submitted its report on January 28, 2007 outlining its findings.

However, he said the government could not reveal the irregularities identified and the scope of the Commission because it was a matter concerning national security.

Mr. Perera, then asked, whether it was possible to reveal those involved in such irregularities. The government also declined to do so for the same reasons.

A string of arguments ensued between Mr. Perera and Mr. Gunawardane on the matter. The former asked as to why the Parliament being the supreme authority dealing with public finances, could not discuss such matters.

“If we are unable to raise these matters in the House, where can we do it?” Mr. Perera asked.

Mr. Gunawardane replied that the opposition MPs had the right to ask such questions, and in the same manner, the government was entitled to the right to decide whether to disclose certain things or not.

Mr. Perera,” We are asking about the traitors who embezzled public money in this way. They were inimical to the war against terrorism. We are asking about such traitors.”

Mr. Gunawardane responded, “I regret that Mr. Perera does not know who betrayed the country.”


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