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Fraudulent SLIIT takeover: Next date of hearing Dec 1

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Entire Cabinet, ex-minister Jayawickrema among respondents

By Chitra Weerarathne

A Fundamental Rights violation petition filed by SLPP Colombo District MP Dr. Wijeydasa Rajapakse, PC, against the government being denied its rightful ownership of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) will be next called before the Supreme Court on Dec 01.

When the case was called before the SC yesterday, the Attorney General moved for time to get instructions from the respondent parties. Time was allowed till Dec 01. Among the respondents are members of the Cabinet and current members of the SLIIT board as well as former Minister Gamini Jayawickema Perera.

 The bench comprised Justice Murdhu N. B. Fernando, Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Achala Wengappuli.

The former Justice Minister and ex-President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has moved the SC in the wake of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) alleging private sector take-over of the institute through fraudulent means. The COPE pointed out that the takeover has been carried out regardless of the Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund coming under the purview of the Trade Ministry having made the initial investment amounting to Rs 500mn in the project.

SLIIT has been described as a leading non-state higher education institute approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) under the Universities Act.

The Board of Directors of SLIIT consists of Prof. Lakshman L. Ratnayake (Chairman), Prof. Lalith Gamage (President/CEO), Prof. Nimal Rajapakse, Thilan M. Wijesinghe, Reshan Dewapura, Jehan Amaratunga and Dr. Harsha Cabral.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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