The director (education) position had remained vacant for several years, and the President’s Office on April 07 wrote to SLF chairman Prof. Kapila Gunasekara, asking him to appoint Sakya Nanayakkara to the position.
Meeting on April 07, the director board rejected that request and selected Dr. Saman Weerawansa, who counts more than 20 years of service with the institution.
It was after that the President’s Office sent a letter on April 17 saying that the director board would be dissolved, according to reports reaching Sri Lanka Mirror.
Dr. Ranjith Bandara, a disciple of Basil Rajapaksa, was the SLF chairman during the previous regime.
Even when the present administration took over, its director general, director of education and administration positions were vacant.
Bandara had suspended previous DG Dr. P.H.A. Arunasiri alleging his performance was below par, but in actual fact, that was because he had not sided with the chairman in his illegal activities.
After the regime change, Prof. Gunasekara, a national list nominee of the UPFA, was appointed chairman of the SLF, which functions under the President’s Office.
Dr. Weerawansa chosen following interview
In November 2016, a newspaper advertisement was published calling for applications to fill the two vacant director positions.
That advertisement was found to be faulty and a fresh one was published in February this year.
In response, 22 applied for the director (education) position and eight of them, including Dr. Weerawansa and MP Nanayakkara’s son, had been shortlisted and called for interviews.
The interview board comprised the SLF chairman, Dr. Vijaya jayatilake of Peradeniya University and one additional secretary each from the President’s Office and the Ministry of Public Administration.
They found Dr. Weerawansa to be the most qualified person for the position.
However, the President’s Office sent a letter on April 09, asking that Sakya Nanayakkara be chosen, a request that was discussed and turned down by the director board, which found it to be against the good governance policies, and a human rights violation of the applicant whom they have selected for the position.
When contacted, a spokesman for the President’s Office told SLM that that the SLF’s director board was dissolved as part of a decision by the president to reorganize institutions that come under the President’s Office.