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COPE calls to appoint committee to probe irregularities of CCF

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In order to investigate the matters raised by the special audit report on the functioning of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) and to examine the progress of the implementation of recommendations given by COPE, a committee meeting was held yesterday (07) under the chairmanship of (Prof.) Ranjith Bandara.

The Internal Inquiry Committee appointed by the Secretary to the Ministry to investigate the matters raised in the said Special Audit Report for the purpose of reporting to COPE was discussed at length.

Furthermore, in the last meeting, there was a discussion at length about holding the meetings of the governing council of the Central Cultural Fund and whether the funds have been properly spent, and the committee members had agreed to discuss the validity of the 209th meeting of the governing council in this meeting.

Accordingly, the Auditor General pointed out that only 07 of the 11 members have agreed to the decisions of the 209th meeting and 04 including the former Prime Minister have not signed. Stating that there is a discrepancy between the signatures used by the 07 signatories on the signature list of this meeting and the signatures used by them in the previous governing board meetings, the Auditor General pointed out that the decisions of the 209th governing board meeting have not been adopted in the 210th meeting.

The Auditor General also stated that the then Prime Minister’s Secretary and the current President’s Secretary, who were members of the relevant governing body, confirmed that he was not a party to such a meeting.

Accordingly, followed by extensive discussion, the COPE Chair gave the following recommendations to the Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.
Appointment of a committee headed by a retired court judge to investigate the issues raised by the special audit report of the Central Cultural Fund for the period 2015 – 2019.

Dissolution of the singular internal investigation committee for the purpose of reporting to COPE appointed by the Secretary to the Ministry to investigate the matters raised in the said Special Audit Report.

To check the validity of the signature list of the 209th meeting, to refer the list to the Criminal Investigation Department and the Government Inspector.

Recall the Central Cultural Fund before the Committee to review the progress of the recommendations made by COPE on the matters raised by the Special Audit Report on the functioning of the Fund.

To make the report of the new committee proposed which is to be appointed to investigate the functioning of the Central Cultural Fund and present it before COPE within 03 months.

In addition to this, the committee members focused on the future plans of  COPE, and the institutions that should be prioritized. The Chair mentioned that he had already discussed it with the Auditor General. Accordingly, the chair mentioned that investigations will be carried out by sub-committees through a cluster committee system and a system of calling only the institutions with essential and current importance to the main committee will be facilitated.

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Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief

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Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.

(News1st) 

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Japan officially notifies SL to resume disbursement to Yen loan projects

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Following the completion of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on 23 July and the expression of the willingness by the Government of Sri Lanka to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement on debt restructuring, the Government of Japan has officially decided to resume disbursement to Yen Loan Projects, which had been suspended since the default of Sri Lanka in 2022.

On 24 July, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office held a joint press conference to inaugurate this milestone decision at Ministry of Finance.

While congratulating the completion of the MOU on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and the OCC, Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki highlighted the unprecedented initiative and outstanding contribution by the Government of Japan, as a co-chair of the OCC, in leading and concluding the public debt restructuring.

Ambassador Mizukoshi also commended Sri Lankan authorities for their ongoing efforts in implementing the comprehensive economic and social reforms essential to guide the country back to a sustainable path. He stated that all the suspended yen loan projects are crucial infrastructures that promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth and further reaffirmed Japan’s continuous and unwavering commitment to supporting Sri Lanka.

On behalf of Mr. Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office, Ms. Ide Yuri, Senior Representative, handed over the official letter on this decision to Mr. Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury, which is addressed to President Wickremesinghe from Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, President of JICA.

Ms. Ide Yuri expressed her hope that the resumption of Yen loan projects will contribute to stabilizing the economy and society of Sri Lanka and help gain momentum toward long-term sustainable growth, thus paving the way for Sri Lanka to recover trust and confidence from the people and private businesses of both Sri Lanka and the world.

Secretary Siriwardana expressed his profound gratitude for this decision and sincere appreciation for Japan’s excellent initiative and long-term dedication in the debt restructuring.

It is hoped that the resumption of disbursement to Yen loan projects would further strengthen the bond between Japan and Sri Lanka, as well as help this island nation bring itself back on track for further economic development, serving as a hub in the Indian Ocean.

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Cabinet takes decision following SC order on IGP

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During a special Cabinet briefing today (July 24), it has been decided to announce its response to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the next two days after studying in depth the legal aspects of the matter.

The special cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers had been of the opinion that since the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the IGP was received only this afternoon, adequate time is needed to conduct an in-depth study of the related legal issues.

Accordingly, it was unanimously decided that it would be most suitable to announce the response of the Cabinet in the next two days.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing Deshabandu Tennakoon from performing duties and functioning in the position of the IGP.

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