Colombo (LNW): Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (CoPE) Prof. Ranjith Bandara engaged in a contentious exchange in Parliament, trading fresh allegations against each other.
Premadasa accused Prof. Bandara of impropriety, asserting that the Colombo Business School, owned by the professor, prepared corporate plans for state enterprises summoned before CoPE, charging them a fee. Specifically, he cited the Sri Lanka Vocational Training Authority as an example.
This allegation was in response to Bandara’s claim that CoPE would investigate fraud in the Central Cultural Fund and a land deal involving a prominent opposition MP.
Bandara asserted that funds from the Central Cultural Fund were spent without the approval of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the ‘Good Governance’ government.
The Opposition Leader expressed apprehensions about Bandara overseeing a CoPE meeting regarding Sri Lanka Cricket, citing a potential conflict of interest.
Highlighting Bandara’s leadership role in a private campus that had provided services to SLC, Premadasa questioned the legality of individuals with such affiliations heading Parliamentary committees. He called for a transparent report detailing the transactions between SLC and Bandara.
In response to the allegations, Bandara stated he would resign if proven true.
The Ruling Party lawmaker also said that he denies sexual harassment allegations made by Opposition MP Hesha Withanage, declaring the accusation false and thereby requesting the Speaker to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for discussion.
He pledged to resign if found guilty but insisted on consequences for Withanage if the allegation is proven to be untrue.