Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Fund to be renamed after Lalith Athulathmudali

Wednesday, 13 October 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In a bid to preserve the great social beneficial fund for university students, the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund, is to be renamed after founder Lalith Athulathmudali. 

The Cabinet of Ministers, at its meeting on Monday, cleared the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund title after the creator late Lalith Athulathmudali.

“We decided to amend the fund title to ‘Lalith Athulathmudali Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund’ in respect of the great human, entrepreneur and politician,” Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing yesterday.

He further stated that following the investigations of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), the authorities revealed massive losses to the Government from the Fund. The Fund was established to create higher education opportunities for underprivileged youth, provide facilities and enhance them.

Gunawardana said it was also decided by the Cabinet of Ministers to appoint a retired Supreme Court Judge as the new Chairman with the recommendation of the President and to bring the administration of the Lalith Trust Fund Act under the Public Property Act.

“Although the Chairman of the Fund has always been the Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ), because of the corruption exposed about the management, the CJ no longer wants to hold responsibilities of it, citing there’s conflict of interest,” he explained.

He said approval was granted by the Cabinet Ministers to submit a proposal with the amendments to the Parliament. The fund currently has assets with Rs. 12 billion, he said.

COPE and PCoI exposed massive losses incurred by the fund from 2015 to 2017. 

COPE further recommended that as SLIIT is an institution of national importance, after preparing an internal report as an extension of the discussion on that institution and reporting it to Parliament, it would be appropriate to decide on the action to be taken in this regard.

Gunawardana revealed that the institution does not have an internal auditor and an accountant. COPE recommended that action be taken to fill this vacancy as soon as possible.