From hills to VIP thrills, but the people paid the bills Mr President & Prime Mister, over to you.
Posted on September 3rd, 2017

Dr Sudath Ggunasekara

3.9. 2017

This is for your serious attention please.

From hills to VIP thrills, but the people paid the bills

What came to the Foreign Ministry in a diplomatic bag from an Asian capital raised not only eye brows but also serious concerns.

An upcountry Province Governor and a so-called official delegation wanted to pay a four day visit to that bustling Asian capital which some call the sin city. The official delegation was to comprise family members, staff and relatives.

One would say there is nothing wrong in travelling abroad for they say it broadens one’s mind. However, here is a textbook case which highlights how some holding positions by appointment of the President would resort to devious means to surreptitiously use public funds.

Found in the diplomatic bag was the draft of a letter, which the head of the Sri Lanka mission in that Asian capital was expected to sign recommending that the Governor concerned and his staff be invited to visit that country. It had been sent to that capital by the Governor but the envoy refused to sign it.

The contents of the letter, written in bad English said the Governor needed to come to that Asian capital to promote trade deals for products made in the Governor’s province. The Governor was inviting himself or herself, as the case may be, but wanting the country’s ambassador to say it.

Later, telephone calls had also been made on the Governor’s behalf to the Sri Lanka mission to sign the letter and send it back quickly to the Foreign Ministry, the sources added. Their bags were packed and ready to go, but the formal invitation to justify the official trip on public funds was the delay.

The source said the idea behind the exercise was to turn a private visit, a holiday, into an official one. The Sri Lanka envoy declined to provide such a letter on the grounds that it would be a complete violation of the guidelines set out by the Foreign Ministry. According to the ministry, the envoy had said the furthest they could go was to extend courtesies on arrival and departure, the source revealed.

So, the Sri Lanka provincial delegation of the Governor and family and all went on holiday anyway last month. The official invitation was thus frustrated but the departure from Colombo and the return later were through the VIP Lounge. On arrival in the Asian country concerned, they were received at the VIP Lounge of the airport concerned. The send-off was also from there.

Interesting enough, the departure from Colombo came on a Friday. The delegation returned to Colombo on Monday evening. The intervening holidays made any meetings in the Asian capital impossible but that certainly was not a loss. There were no plans to talk business. They lived like regents in a hotel in the busiest down market shopping district. They were frequent visitors to the shopping stalls next to the hotel. Even a buth kade was within walking distance across the road. Who paid for the travel and other costs? Who else, but the taxpayer. So much for the Yahapalanaya principles.

My comments

I hope you may have already taken action on this matter. No wonder when you appoint people like this as Governors.  Isn’t it like putting a fox in charge of a chicken pen.

Why don’t you order an immediate inquiry in to this fraud and

Recover the public Money robbed and take disciplinary actions against the Governor, officials and politicians if there are any in this delegation

That is the best way to prove Yahapalanaya and a golden opportunity too

In a country where a person has been recently convicted and sent to jail for 20 years (that is  2 years for taking a bribe of one thousand) don’t you think this is a very good case to give them life imprisonment for,

  1. a) robbing tax payers money for private leisure and shopping trips
  2. b) Trying to get the said envoy also to commit a crime

It is great the envoy has been smart and done the correct thing by sending this letter to the Foreign Minister.

Congratulations! A smart envoy at least in a blue moon!  I also pay my tribute to the smart guys who have divulged given this dirty game to the press.

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