Opposition takes on MR’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath in P’ment

Friday, 6 June 2014 00:53 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath came under spotlight yesterday in Palriament when the opposition members cried foul for him holding over five positions of high stature allegedly “with ordinary qualifications”, mainly because of the “trust placed by the executive President”. Apart from serving President Rajapakse as his Chief of Staff, Senarath also works as the Chairman of Peoples Bank, Litro Gas Company, Litro Gas terminal Lanka Ltd., Canwill Holdings Ltd, and Peoples Leasing and Finance PLC. Opposition lawmaker Anura Kumara Dissanayake who raised doubt about Senarat’s capacity to discharge the duties in all these businesses effectively and efficiently said: “I doubt he has six faces and 12 arms to handle all these businesses. We also need to check his vehicle. Don’t we have anybody else in this country? This only shows that all these companies will fall with the President appointing his close allies. He has a general degree from Kelaniya University in addition to a diploma in information technology. With such qualifications in hand, he leads key Government institutions in this country in addition to being the Chief of Staff to the President. I know that President has a staff exceeding 2,000. This is not a simple matter. “How can he look into all these matters unless he is the almighty creator Vismakarma? Do you know that 13% of the profits have declined at Peoples Bank during the last financial year? These are not what was brought from the Medamulana Walawwa but public money. He should be there on a fulltime to administer and direct the institution. This shows how the President in interfering,” charged MP Dissanayake. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe who wanted to know the specialty for Senarath to hold such positions said: “The question was raised to know the reason for appointing him but not to criticize him. Leaders in the other parts of the world has chiefs of staff. But they don’t accept any other positions. This is not to a fault of Gamini Senarat. Chief of Staff has a special assignment. Let us know the reasons for the Government to deviate from what is followed in other parts of the world. I know that there was one other Chief of Staff in the world who held similar positions while working for Adolf Hitler.” In response Minister of International Monetary Co-operation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama said: “We don’t agree with you. Don’t criticize just because he is holding several positions. Criticise unless you can find something wrong. We don’t want your lecture. We need not follow what is done in the other parts of the world with their chiefs of staff. What we have is a homegrown solution.” (AH)