Illegal deals signed to transfer SLIIT to private entity - Wijeyadasa

The Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund had incurred a loss of Rs. 48,000 million until now after signing two illegal agreements to transfer Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) to a separate private entity during the first 100 days of the ‘Yahapalana’ government, former Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate corruption of the current administration yesterday.

He informed the Commission that on May 12, 2015 all the assets including land and the buildings of the SLIIT in Malabe were transferred over to another private entity through an illegal agreement by two members of the Board of Trustees of the Mahapola Trust Fund appointed by the then Higher Education Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera.

“All the assets valued at Rs.28,000 million were handed over to separate individuals for a lower price and the government had still failed to take proper action against this misappropriation,” he said.

The former Minister informed the Commission that the SLIIT was founded in 1999 and the institute was a public property. He also notified that the ownership, administration and management of this institute cannot be eliminated from the government according to the Public Trustee Ordinance.

“There were a number of cabinet papers presented to the President each day and using this fact as an advantage, two board members must have misled the President and this property has been removed from the government,” the former Minister highlighted at the Commission.

He also noted that the assets were transferred to NAT Wealth Company which had agreed to invest money to Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund but there were several financial frauds that had occurred between these companies too.

“Every year, Rs. 20 million is being paid as tax only to the land where the SLIIT is situated and the land is still owned by Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund. After signing these two illegal agreements these private party members had doubled the salary of the teachers in the institute and that was the only thing they had done so far,” he said.

SLIIT has been established as an institute under the Mahapola Trust Fund and the Chairman of the fund is the Chief Justice in the country, the former Minister said. He noted that the then Finance Ministry had also provided its support to sign these illegal agreements.