President’s secretary to be sent home over spying for PM?
The gazette notification for the recent cabinet reshuffle is yet to be issued. This delay of around 1 ½ months is due to president Maithripala Sirisena’s wanting to remove the Central Bank from the prime minister’s purview and hand it over to the Finance Ministry.
The president had instructed his secretary Austin Fernando to issue a gazette for the handover, but that is yet to be done. Returning from a Pakistan visit, the president inquired from Fernando and was told it could not be issued without his signature. Then, the president signed it.
Thereafter, Fernando telephoned PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and told him that he now had to issue the gazette.
Worried by that, the PM went to see the president last night (26) with minister Malik Samarawickrama and asked for the reason for the decision. Following their discussion, the issuing of the gazette was suspended, but it could be issued within the next 24 hours.
The president is angry that Fernando had told the PM about it, instead of issuing the gazette. Fernando was the defence secretary during the 2001-04 UNP regime. When the president appointed him as his secretary, he must have forgotten that Fernando was a good UNPer.
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