SLFP Negombo organizer, Deputy Minister Sarath Gunaratne has illegally sold a 10 acre land called Udappuwatte in Kudapaduva, Negombo that belongs to the Land Reforms Commission to the Jetwing private company.
The land has been sold to set up a five star hotel. The files related to this transaction have been handed over to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa by Western Province Minister for Fisheries, Tourism and Highways, Nimal Lansa.
After immediately looking into the matter, Basil Rajapaksa has asked Lansa to inform the matter to the President, Bribery Commission and the IGP.
It is learnt that this land, which belonged to one Tissera, had been taken over by the Land Reforms Commission during the land acquisition act under Sirima Bandaranaike’s rule during the 1970-1977 period. According to the act, the maximum extent of land each person could posses was limited to 50 acres. Therefore, out of the 60 acre land in Udappuwatte, the owner was given 50 acres while the Land Reforms Commission retained 10 acres.
When the UNP government took over in 1977, compensation was paid for the lands acquired by the Sirima Bandaranaike government. Hence, Tissera had been paid money for the 10 acres acquired from Udappuwatte.
However, Gunaratne has used his political powers to get this 10 acre land released to its owner from the Land Reforms Commission and had then got the owner to transfer it to him.
The land had been sold to Jetwing at Rs. 5,000 million. All documents related to the illegal transaction are to be handed over to the President by Lansa.
Attempts by Basil Rajapaksa to get Gunaratne removed from the post of SLFP Negombo organizer to appoint Lans to the post have so far failed.