‘Education Minister’s illegal order’- MOE responds


With reference to the news on The Island on 09.08.2019, on page 09, bearing the heading "Education Minister’s Illegal Order"

The above article, submitted by a correspondent named Kadawatha Ranasinghe, published along with a photograph of the Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, states that the minister had given an illegal order to transfer the Director Supplies, Mr.I.M.K.B.Illangasinghe. We would hereby like to say that it is completely a false statement.

According to the news, a preliminary investigation had been carried out by an independent official following the instructions and orders of the former secretary to the Ministry of Education, regarding the forgery, corruption and anomalies occurred during the procurement procedures conducted at the Ministry of Education during the years 2013 & 2014 and in the stores complex of the science apparatus in Pattalagedara.

According to the findings of the said investigation, the loss incurred by the government due to the aforesaid forgery, corruption and anomalies is over Rs.13 Million.

But, according to the correspondent, the former secretary to the Ministry of Education had acquitted and discharged Mr.Ilangasinghe of all the accusations thus closing the relevant file. He further goes on reporting that the present secretary to the ministry of Education too had agreed with the previous decision since there was no sufficient evidence against Mr. Ilangasinghe.

This is a complete distortion of the reality.

According to the preliminary investigation report, the following procedure should be followed in order to acquit and discharge the accused from all the allegations.

1. A charge sheet should be produced by his disciplinary authority as per the Establishment Code and call for explanation

2. A proper disciplinary inquiry should be carried out by an

independent official

3. The independent official’s recommendations should be sent to the relevant authority, which in this case is the Education Services Commission of the Public Services Commission, to take necessary action.

In reality, the Education Services Commission has not issued a charge sheet against the accused officer, Mr. Ilangasinghe up to date. Further, a proper disciplinary investigation has not been carried out to acquit and discharge him of all the accusations.

Moreover, the Chapter 48 of the Volume II of the establishment Code has no provisions for such actions. It only allows taking necessary action to execute the recommendations in the preliminary investigation report.

It is evident that the correspondent is biased towards the victim party.

He also goes on saying that the minister should obtain the secretary’s personal approval to have a file in the ministry. The correspondent seems to be unaware of several facts or deliberately providing false information since a cabinet minister has no limitations when it comes to obtain information or a file from an official in his ministry.

The article intends to highlight that the Minister of Education has a personal grudge with the Director, supplies as he has given witness before the presidential commission against the Minister. In reality, Mr. Ilangasinghe himself has given an affidavit stating that no extra funds were spent to include a message of the minister in the text book along with the minister’s photograph. This further proves that the correspondent is either unaware of several facts or had been misled by someone who intends to distort the facts.

The sole responsibility of reporting the procedures of the ministry to the cabinet and the parliament lies with the minister of education. Any sensible person with at least a minimal thinking capacity would never have thought that it is wrong for the minister to look into certain unattended matters, especially if there seems to be a forgery or any kind of anomaly, and give necessary instructions or orders.

The correspondent further takes a futile attempt to convince the readers that despite being a lawyer himself, the minister was unaware of some facts he should be thoroughly aware of. If he is a person who at least has an iota of knowledge regarding the legal profession he would never have made such statements.

It is not ethical for a correspondent to question the knowledge and experience of a sworn lawyer who has obtained the recognized qualifications through the law college of Sri Lanka.

However, Mr. Illangasinghe had already confirmed with an affidavit that his statements of witness made at the presidential inquiry have been distorted by media. In such a circumstance, the minister only could sympathize with the accused, rather than taking any malicious action against him. It is further proven that the correspondent had written the aforesaid article

without being conscious enough of the situation.

The fourth allegation in his article gives rise to a doubt whether the correspondent is an alien. By submerging the fact that all the ministers of education from 1980 had comprised their messages into school text books, the correspondent, with his utmost effort tries to prove that the practice had been initiated by Mr. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. Though the correspondent had purposefully forgotten the fact that issuing a message by minister of education had been a practice from the inception of the Educational Publications Department, the sensible public knows the truth and is aware of the reality. We sympathize with the correspondent and the other parties who have ignited him to produce the said article, for their ignorance. They are unaware of the fact that colour photographs of former ministers of education as well as former presidents have been included in the text books.

The correspondent emphasizes that the minister should have taken measures to make the name of C.W.W. Kannangara immortal, and bring about farsighted educational reforms. We would like to know if the correspondent had sent such reminders to the former ministers of education as well.

However, it seems that the correspondent is either unaware or has purposefully ignored the educational reforms and the invaluable services initiated by the Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, such as Suraksha Insurance scheme for the students, the nearest school is the best school project, 13 years of guaranteed education programme, smart classrooms, providing tablet computers for A/L students to align them with new technology, introducing a new Education Act that suits future instead of the former act which was enforced prior to independence etc. The correspondent is undoubtedly biased and sees the whole picture through coloured lenses.

In conclusion, the correspondent should realize, even though he intends to mislead the readers on one or two occasions, he will definitely fail in his attempt to fool the public. It is good to remind him that the time he ultimately realizes the gravity of his action, he himself had been deceived by his own act.

Therefore, it is evident that the sole intention of the correspondent as well as the other parties is only carrying out a hidden agenda to disgrace the minister. We disapprove of such hateful, false and misleading articles that aim at tainting someone’s good name.

*We hope you would publish this explanation, just the way you published the article of Ranasinghe from Kadawatha*.

Media Unit

Ministry of Education

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