Former Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Attorney at Law Nimal Bopage says that other than for the ministers efforts were made to provide vehicles to 58 MPs under contract basis during the yahapalana government.
Issuing a release he noted that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe forced him to sign the deal worth 2.43 billion rupees by threateningly saying “sign or resign”.
Read the translation of Press Release by Nimal Bopage
Special revelation on the “Good Governance Government”s plan to purchase Super Luxury Vehicles for Members of Parliament
It has been revealed in Parliament yesterday that 78 super luxury vehicles worth Rs 2.8 billion (Rs 2800 Million) have been purchased for the cabinet / government / deputy ministers of the previous ‘good governance’ government. However, I am issuing this special press release to bring it to the attention of the whole country as well as their, as they had missed a very specific point that they should have received as an extension of the same disclosure.
That is, the value of the transaction approved by the cabinet for the monthly rental of 58 luxury vehicles for 58 MPs representing the government in late 2016 was Rs. 2.43 billion. However, as the Secretary to the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, which was the subject of the transaction, I opposed it from the very beginning. Normally a Ministry Secretary had no legal authority to oppose a Cabinet decision on policy matters, but I vehemently rejected the the transaction due to corrupt objectives and procedures that I had seen from the very beginning, which were totally contrary to the procurement process as well.
But despite my objections, the cabinet approved it and I was given the responsibility of signing the agreement with the private company that provides the vehicles. The Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and the Minister of Finance had pointed out that a Ministry Secretary cannot refrain from signing or has no legal authority to reject a Cabinet approval. But in spite of the heavy pressure exerted by the former Prime Minister and the former Finance Minister, I have not changed my position as I have consistently refused to sign the transaction.
In the end, I was summoned to the Cabinet Committee on Economic and Management headed by the former Prime Minister, who was publicly threatened me by saying “sign or resign”. However, I did not heed the threat and in the face of the widespread media coverage of it, the ‘good governance’ government started to deteriorate and the former president appointed a four-member committee to review the transaction and suspend it. However, due to the strong public protest of the Opposition MPs, private media and social media, the project could not be implemented and it was able to save Rs 2.43 Billion. But as a result, I have been removed from the post by merging the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Mass Media and the former Secretary to the Ministry of Finance was appointed as the Secretary to the New Ministry.
As soon as the new President came to power, I had also informed the Secretary to the President of the new Government regarding this matter and the purchase of vehicles in connection with the ‘Operational Lease’ which was used by the Yahapalana Government. I also emphasize the need to conduct an investigation on the vehicle purchaces of Yahapala Government.
Nimal Bopage (Attorney at Law)
Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media
Translated by Google Translator, Please refer the Sinhala Statement if any doubt.