Karunasena Hettiarachchi, who yesterday (03) resigned as the defence secretary, has been told to report to the Presidential Secretariat.
Though Karunasena and the president had been friends since their school years, now a big conflict has arisen between them mainly due to a woman, who had taken the former’s powers into her hands. She is Kamani Hettiarachchi, the chief accountant of the National Water Supply Board when Karunasena was its chairman, and she was appointed the ministry’s chief accountant after he became the defence secretary. She had been in charge of all tenders under the ministry’s purview.
The biggest is the for supply of meals for the three armed forces that had been done for a very long time by David Wickremaratne Co. Ltd. But, Kamani had, with Karunasena’s knowledge, divided the tender and distributed most them among her friends, creating a big problem. The company strongly objected to it and is trying to regain the tender through politicians and others, including a member of the ministry tender board, chief accountant Wanigasuriya. He was chief accountant at the Health Ministry when Maithripala Sirisena was the minister. After Sirisena became president, he appointed Wanigasuriya as chief accountant at the Presidential Secretariat.
With Wanigasuriya openly supporting David Wickremaratne Co. it was difficult to work in the tender board, Kamani has told Karunasena, who ordered him immediately removed from membership. This has worsened the conflict between the president and Karunasena, say sources at the Presidential Secretariat.
Angered by the woman’s authoritarian conduct, the president immediately transferred her to the Public Administration Ministry pool.
First clash was in Russia
The first clash between Sirisena and Karunasena occurred during the president’s official visit to Russia a few months ago. A proposal was made then to buy a Russian warship, with the purchase to be coordinated by Sirasa Network, whose chiefs Chevaan Daniel and Nimal Cooke also participated in the tour. They tried through the president’s son Daham, but Karunasena strongly opposed it, saying “Isn’t the MiG deal enough trouble? There is no war now. So, why the need for a warship? I cannot go to the FCID after losing the position.” After that Sirasa and Daham got together to expel Karunasena from his position and it has become successful now.
Lanka News Web tried to contact Karunasena for a comment, but could not do so. If anyone mentioned in this article, including him, has anything to say, we will accommodate it.