The President is to remove Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera from the post in order to appoint Prof. Ranjith Bandara to the post, a senior government minister said. Bandara who is an advisor to MP Namal Rajapaksa, is the head of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. He also serves as a senior lecturer at the Colombo University.
Bandara was an active member of the JVP during the 1988-89 period and was also captured by the state at the time. Former head of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, Sarath Kongahage had got him released at the time.
He had then served as a close political friend to Kongahage and later traveled overseas to sit for his PhD. He has a doctorate in the field of agriculture.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office, he had managed to build a friendship with one of the President’s close confidantes, Willie Gamage and also established a close link with Basil Rajapaksa.
He was introduced to Basil as an economic expert. Therefore, Basil Rajapaksa appointed Bandara as one of his advisors after assuming duties as the Economic Development Minister.
Bandara entered the media scene through these political affiliations and became a key figure that appears before the state media. He then got closer to Namal Rajapaksa and distanced himself from Basil.
He now serves as an advisor to Namal Rajapaksa. It is Namal Rajapaksa who is putting pressure on the President to appoint Bandara as the Finance Ministry Secretary.
It is learnt that Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Power and Energy Ministry Secretary and head of the Board of Investments (BoI), M.M.C. Ferdinando has placed a wedge between the President and Dr. Jayasundera.
Interestingly, it is Dr. Jayasundera who proposed to the President to appoint Ferdinando as the acting chairman of the BoI.
The two officials have told the President that Dr. Jayasundera interfered in their work and that many development programmes that have been planned have stopped midway as a result.
Cabraal has told the President that the Treasury Secretary had shown his inefficiency by failing to secure a loan from Saudi for a road development project. He has said that the failure to secure the loan has resulted in the inability continue several road development projects.
Cabraal has also noted that the loan monies if received would have helped stabilize the rupee.
He has also added that it was Dr. Jayasundera who had leaked to the media about the share transaction between the National Savings Bank (NSB) and The Finance Company.
Meanwhile, Ferdinando has told the President that many investors who have expressed interest in entering Sri Lanka have been deterred by the Treasury Secretary’s strict financial regulations.
He has said the country has not been able to attract any foreign direct investments as a result.
Tourist Board Chairman Nalaka Godahewa has also met the President and criticized Dr. Jayasundera’s conduct.
He has shown a large number of files to prove to the President that the Treasury Secretary had continuously interfered in tourism promotion work.
The President has now decided to remove the Treasury Secretary and has tasked Ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Keheliya Rambukwella to reveal the Treasury Secretary’s conduct to the public.
On a request made by the President, a national weekly newspaper reported that there was a plan to appoint Dr. Jayasundera to parliament through the National List and to appoint him as the Deputy Finance Minister.