Arjuna in post-fixing, appoints brother as ports chief

Arjuna Ranatunga

Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has appointed his brother, former cricketer Dammika Ranatunga, as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). Mr. Ranatunga, a younger sibling of the Minister, assumed duties on Thursday, SLPA sources said.

The move took many by surprise as the elder Ranatunga had been at the forefront of the campaign against nepotism and corruption against the previous Government.  Once he took over as Minister, however, he facilitated the removal of the earlier chairman, vice chairman and the SLPA’s board of directors and then installed his brother in the topmost position.

There was a pirith ceremony this week at the Colombo Port to shower blessings on the new appointee. His selection also puts paid to promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that top posts at vital Government institutions will be filled on a “scientific basis” by an independent committee headed by them.

Before the August 17 parliamentary elections, Minister Ranatunga (who held the same portfolio in the interim Government) requested the SLPA chairman, vice chairman and board members to give him signed letters of resignation. He assured them the letters would be used only if necessary.

On September 8, the minister faxed them notes stating he had accepted their resignations. There was no prior warning. The new chairman has played in two Test matches for Sri Lanka.

(Source: The Sunday Times)