MR’s PCS in hot water
Over Rs 18m claimed for unregistered Trust:
The Jathika Uruma Trust, headed by Kumarasiri Hettige, the former
Parliamentary Co-ordinating Secretary (PCS) to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, is now in the eye of a storm, with an audit query requiring
an explanation about financial irregularities amounting to Rs. 18
million, released by the Central Cultural Fund to the said Trust, to
build a national heritage museum in Matara.
The money unaccounted for totals Rs. 18,811,046.
According to the audit query, the Trust has been purportedly set up
at the Kahavilgoda Purana Raja Maha Vihara in Akuressa, Matara.
The Auditor General’s Department through query M/A/2014/Q/20 dated
February 23, 2015 has questioned as to how funds have been absorbed for
this purpose when the said organisation has not been registered as a
Trust according to the laws of the land, drawing the inference that the
disbursement was in violation of the country’s financial regulations.
The query refers to fund disbursements, approved on the strength of
memos issued by the former Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs
and the Central Cultural Fund (CCF), approving a total project
allocation of Rs. 60 million, for which financial estimates and
construction plans have not been submitted.
However, the Audit Department has raised the query that Rs. 18
million remained unaccounted for due to the lack of supportive
documents, including vouchers and receipts.
The Trust is not registered, according to sources, although the
process began in 2013.
The registration documenters have reached Parliament only in early
2015, top parliamentary sources said.
When contacted, former Presidential Parliamentary Co-ordinating
Secretary, Kumarasiri Hettige said he was invited by the Chief Priest of
the temple, Ven. Paraduwe Jinarathana Thera, to help coordinate the
project and subsequently invited to head the Trust, as it is a good
“I wanted to help as it was a good initiative.
I have never signed any document and never authorised or handled the
finances in any form,” he said, adding that a proper inquiry would clear
Meanwhile, Ven. Paraduwe Jinarathana Thera, the Chief Priest of the
temple, told the Sunday Observer the relevant documents will be
submitted to the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID)
tomorrow (15). An inquiry is already underway.
Ven. Jinarathana Thera said the project was undertaken in the
interest of conserving and showcasing Sri Lanka’s national heritage, and
added that some people involved in the project were trying to bring him
(priest) in to disrepute and others associated with the project.
The Thera said the Trust was a legal entity as it had been
incorporated through a Parliamentary Act and hence there was no need to
have it registered under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
When contacted, a top official from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs
insisted that such a Trust did not exist and it had no registration.
“This so-called Trust has no legal basis,” the official said.