Trade Union To Drop Bombshell On Wimal
By Nirmala Kannangara
The Joint Trade Union of the Sri Lanka Engineering Corporation (JTUSLEC) says it will reveal how Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa is misusing Sri Lankan Engineering Corporation property for his personal use.
JTUSLEC convener Tushara Gunasekera said that all the relevant documents are with the Corporation internal audit to prove as to how nearly 35 vehicles which were taken on a lease agreement have been given to Minister Weerawansa’s political allies.
“If the minister is denying the allegation we have leveled against him we are ready to prove as to how these vehicles have been given to National Freedom Front (NFF) supporters with unlimited fuel. The monthly rental of each vehicle is Rs.38, 000. All these are public money that is being misused but sadly neither the minister nor the Chairman cares for the employees,” said Gunasekera.
Gunasekera further alleged as to how more than 700 NFF supporters have been given jobs at the corporation when the longstanding employees who were on contract basis have been removed from office.
“During Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s tenure 18 employees who were involved in rebuilding the tsunami damaged houses in Kalmunai were removed due to excess staff. But when I informed Minister Senaratne that it was these 18 employees that went to Kalmunai at a time not a single Tamil person was available for construction work, the minister gave approvals to re-instate them. However with the change of ministers this could not be implemented though several requests were made to Minister Weerawansa. Although Minister Weerawansa could not re-instate the 18 employees, he has created 52 sales promotion officer posts and given to his henchmen. Further 648 people have been recruited to the carder but none of these 700, works for the State Engineering Corporation but being paid over Rs.24, 000 each per month,” added Gunasekera.
He further said that he is in the possession of all the names of the people who were recruited to the corporation but have never reported for duty.
“When we inquired about this from the management we were told that they are working in our project sites. If so why cannot they swipe their attendance card and obtain their salaries? State Engineering Corporation Chairman Jagath Perera who is also a henchman of the minister is now trying to hoodwink the employees,” said Gunasekera. He further accused Minister Weerawansa and the Chairman Perera of not granting the union demands to meet the rising cost of living.
However Chairman Jagath Perera refuted the allegations saying that Minister Weerawansa does not use any additional vehicle from the corporation other than the vehicles he has been allocated from the Ministerial pool.
“These are baseless allegations. Even the minister has not recruited any of his party supporters or friends. We have not even filled the salaries and carder commission approved carder for the corporation. If the minister has misused the corporation property how could we get the highest turnover last year?” Perera claimed.