his power as a project minister, his vehicles and security staff,
The Sunday Leader learns that Industries Minister, Rohitha
Bogollagama is threatening physical assault and death on a young
female doctor he had an intimate relationship with for over a
having professed undying love and marriage to this young doctor,
Bogollagama after the relationship broke, has begun to verbally
abuse this young lady (name withheld) threatening her with death
and using ministerial security to intimidate her.
desperation, the lady in question has now appealed to Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe for help. On Tuesday, February 11, she begged the
Premier to intervene stating she is convinced her life is in great
danger "as these threats are coming from no less a person than a
minister." (See box)
alleged that after she ended her relationship with Bogollagama
"based on various reasons" he began to abuse her over the
phone and threatened to kill her if she failed to return numerous love
letters sent by him.
to bear the situation further, the young doctor contacted Bogollagama's
wife, Deepthi and returned the letters and other personal gift items
given to her by Rohitha.
before she was due to meet with Deepthi Bogollagama however, the
latter's sister, Jayathri Samarakoon it is alleged arrived at her
Manning Town residence last Tuesday in the company of ministerial
security and physically assaulted her.
incident prompted this lady to write to the Premier. On Friday, February
14, she also lodged a formal complaint at Police Headquarters.
her complaint she states that Rohitha Bogollagama has even threatened to
harm her three teenage step-sons. She adds in her police complaint that
both Rohitha Bogollagama and his sister-in-law, Jayathri Samarakoon have
continued to threaten her with death.
based at the Nikaweratiya Base Hospital, she alleges that even the OIC
of the Nikaweratiya police station was sent to her hospital quarters to
this context she says that since she has no enemies other than Rohitha
Bogollagama and Jayathri Samarakoon, if any physical or mental harm is
inflicted on her person she will hold them both fully responsible for
such an act.
Sinhala version of some of the disgusting and vicious abuse Bogollagama
spouted over his mobile phone to this young doctor who at the time was
in the presence of two others who overheard this conversation cannot be
in the Bogollagama household is a common occurrence. It is common
knowledge that Bogollagama is repeatedly beaten by his wife Deepthi, who
has been known to even spray detergents into his eyes. Showing the scars
and wounds from his beatings to this young doctor is how the two
initially met, as Bogollagama pleaded with her to find ".... help
for his wife" - who he said "had inherited .... genes, coming
from a family of three .... sisters."
fact, there are numerous complaints made at the Cinnamon Garden's police
station by family members, the most recent being by Rohitha
Bogollagama's own sister, Achala Bogollagama who over a separate
incident, complained that Deepthi Bogollagama had threatened to break
Bogollagama is even accused of throwing a hand grenade into her
neighbour, Jagath Wijesekara's garden when she found her son had fallen
in love with their daughter. Fortunately for the Wijeysekara's the
grenade did not explode. She however did not stop at that but
subsequently lit firecrackers under the parked double-cab used by Jagath
The Sunday Leader is not interested in dealing with the details of a
personal relationship, we would like to state here that nobody, in
particular a minister, has the right to threaten another with death and
physical assault under the colour of his ministerial office. Then it is
an issue of public interest, more so given the Prime Minister's pledge
to do away with the politics of terror. This government needless to say
has repeatedly promised good governance and transparency, devoid of any
abuse of power. Surely, then ministers such as Rohitha Bogollagama must
be brought to book.
to you Mr. Prime Minister.
letter to the Premier
honourable Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe
11th, February 2003
Dr. ........... serving at the Marawila Base Hospital from March
2002. Earlier I was attached to the Nikaweratiya Hospital.
Rohitha Bogollagama was known to Dr. .......and me for the last
four years. As we became close family friends Mr. Rohitha
Bogollagama used to seek my assistance in dealing with....
problems. In the ruse of helping his family, he approached me on
several occasions without the knowledge of Dr. ...... I as a
medical officer very willingly helped them, during which time he
discussed the pathetic, miserable family life that he was leading.
started working at the Nikaweratiya Base-Hospital in November,
2001 (during his election campaign) and occupied the hospital
quarters. During this period he started sending me letters and
spoke to me regularly from his office.
our relationship he made numerous promises to marry me and stated
that he would take immediate steps to obtain a divorce, as there
was a lot of marital disharmony. Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama became
aware of our relationship and questioned me, at which point I
denied such a relationship upon Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama request.
granted a temporary transfer upon my request to the Marawila Base
Hospital as I was heavily disturbed, and my life was being
threatened by Ms. Jayathri Samarakoon. In March 2002, I started
working at the Marawila Base Hospital and stayed with my parents
in Ragama. Throughout this period and to date Ms. Jayathri
Samarakoon has threatened my life on numerous occasions and as a
result I was disturbed immensely. Ms. Jayathri Samarakoon went on
to the extent of sending an employee of SriLankan Airlines to my
parent's residence to harass me. I have lodged a formal complaint
at the Kandana police station in April 2002 with regard to this
a period of time I decided to put an end to this relationship
based on various reasons. After which Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama
started to abuse me over the phone and threatened to kill me if I
failed to return the letters sent by him. At this juncture I
sought Dr........ assistance in dealing with this difficult
situation. Dr. ...... to overcome this situation informed Mrs.
Deepthi Bogollagama, with regard to the true facts of the
relationship. At which point Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama threatened
Dr. ......... and even went to the extent of threatening to harm
his three teenage-sons.
this revelation there were further death threats from Mr. Rohitha
Bogollagama and Ms. Jayathri Samarakoon. At this point I spoke to
Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama who requested that the letters be handed
over to her, which I duly obliged, and I agreed to meet her today.
was about to leave to meet Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama, today around
4 pm, Ms. Jayathri Samarakoon came to my friend's house where I
was studying. She came in an official vehicle with ministerial
security and threatened to kill me if the truth was revealed to
Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama, her sister. I proceeded to my vehicle
despite her filthy abusive language; she caught me, as I was about
to board the vehicle and severely assaulted me. I was helpless as
she was accompanied by ministerial security.
I was able to meet Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama and enlightened her
with the true facts. Following this revelation I received further
death threats from Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama and Ms. Jayathri
these circumstances, Hon Sir, I'm reluctantly compelled to seek
your assistance, as these threats are coming from a person no less
than a minister.
be most grateful if I'm given an opportunity to meet your honour
in person to explain matters further.
my wife" - Bogollagama
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama when quizzed by The Sunday Leader,
and asked why he was threatening a young lady he recently was
determined to marry, with death and physical abuse, he said,
"I am not aware of anything."
if he had sanctioned ministerial security to accompany his
sister-in-law, Jayathri Samarakoon to assault this young lady, he
denied any knowledge of the incident.
as to whether he knew this young lady intimately, he snapped,
"that you must ask my wife...." Before abruptly
switching off his mobile phone.
(un)equal opportunity employer?
hard on the heels of the Pramuka Bank disaster the Central Bank is in
crisis with a 'go slow' initiated recently by staff officers. The
officers are accusing Governor, A. S. Jayawardena of being ineffective
in steering economic policy in this country and making autocratic
decisions. The Governor is also accused of favouring friends and
associates to top positions in the institution, thus rendering one of
the country's premier monetary institutions to just one more mess of
bungling bureaucracy. Many of the staff at the Central Bank have been
heard to refer to A. S. Jayawardena as a 'small-minded dictator.'
indictment on Sri Lanka's foremost monetary department is that there are
only nine employees among a staff of 1004 who are qualified PhD holders.
It is a given in any country, that the central bank recruits the best of
academically and professionally qualified persons through competitive
examinations. Unfortunately this criteria does not appear to carry
muscle in Sri Lanka's Central Bank.
questioned on this aspect, A. S. Jayawardena responded by saying,
"Isn't nine PhD holders enough?" He explained that of the 1004
employees there is an army of security officers and clerical staff. The
governor said that only executive staff following economics and
statistics are encouraged to secure PhDs. "We have a career path,
if it is economics, statistics and research then those people with
degrees are encouraged to secure a Masters or a PhD. However if someone
is chosen for bank supervision, general administration or service line
then there is no requirement for a PhD but such people do receive
training by the bank and are even sent abroad," Jayawardena said.
Ul Haque, the former resident representative of the IMF in Colombo,
obviously disagrees with this perception. He once said, "the
backbone of a central bank should consist of at least 30% to 40% of PhD
holders. This excludes security and clerical staff but should apply to
all executive staff and heads of divisions."
Central Bank Employees Officers Union is vehemently protesting against
senior appointments approved by Governor A. S. Jayawardena in employing
individuals from outside and bypassing the bank's senior officers.
September 2, last year, W. M. J Ratnapriya was appointed as director,
management audit on a fixed term contract for two years. He is being
paid and all-inclusive salary of Rs. 160,000 per month. He is also
entitled to an EPF of 24% and ETF of 3%. Ratnapriya's EPF benefits were
increased to 24% despite his contract stating that it would be only 12%.
is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Sri Lanka as
well as the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
(CIMA) UK. He possesses a minimum of 10 years experience as head
of a finance department.
we found that at least seven or eight officers within the Central Bank
have these same academic qualifications. They only lack the specific
work experience in a respective post or department due to the fact they
are constantly required to serve in varying positions and different
divisions of the Central Bank. If any of these officers had been
appointed to Ratnapriya's post they would have drawn a monthly
remuneration package not exceeding Rs. 40,000.
is according to the gross salary standards allocated for directors
appointed from within the Central Bank.
on March 8, 2002, D. L. Katuwawala was appointed as chief accountant.
His monthly reimbursement package is Rs. 175,000 plus he is allowed an
EPF contribution of 24% and ETF of 3%.
is also a qualified CIMA and chartered accountant. He was the former
chief accountant for ANSEL Lanka Ltd.
our investigation found that there are plenty of officers within the
Central Bank who qualify for this post. If chosen they too would have
drawn a salary not exceeding Rs. 45,000 as against the Rs. 175,000 paid
Nandasiri was appointed as director human resources on March 27, 2002.
He is paid an all inclusive monthly salary of Rs. 100,000 plus EPF and
last served at the Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank. He possesses a
degree in human resources management.
again, there is evidence to show that many officers at the Central Bank
in fact possess a Masters degree in business administration and would
have qualified for this post. The only minus factor being they are all
junior officers. All the above posts until the year 2001 were held by
officers from within the Central Bank. This suddenly changed last year.
retired deputy legal draftsman, G. G. de Silva was personally appointed
by Governor A. S. Jayawardena in 1997 to the panel of legal and
accounting consultants at the Central Bank. Jayawardena promised to pay
him an honorarium of Rs. 2,500 per day for his services as well as
providing him with transport for travel between his residence and the
bank. G. G. de Silva, as a result drew a salary of Rs. 47,500 every
month, working a maximum of four to five hours each day.
1996, soon after the disastrous bombing of the Central Bank, a
consultant engineer named Merril Eustace de Abrew was appointed to help
reconstruct a new building for the Central Bank. He was employed on a
one year contractual basis with effect from February 1, 1996, at an all
inclusive salary of Rs. 50,000 per month. To date de Abrew is retained
as a consultant engineer on the panel of the bank's consultants. His
contract was last renewed on October 1, 2002 for a further period of six
months despite the new Central Bank building being now fully complete.
He is paid a per diem fee of Rs. 2,500 per day. De Abrew is over 70
years old and an old friend of Governor A. S. Jayawardena. He is also
entitled to a 24% EPF contribution and 3% ETF plus a two month bonus
every year, as well as medical insurance paid by the Central Bank.
Jayasuriya, a former Senior Superintendent of Police is 65 years old. He
continues to function at the Central Bank on the panel of investigators
of the Exchange Control Department despite having been initially
contracted in December 1998 for a period of only one year on a per diem
of Rs. 1000 per day. He is also provided transport facilities from his
residence at Dehiwela to the Exchange Control Department and back, all
costs which are picked up by the Central Bank. He was also sent on a
scholarship courtesy of the Central Bank.
Wijeykoon is over 60 years old. She was contracted in January 2000 to
serve in the post of executive housekeeper. She is paid an all inclusive
salary of Rs. 25,000 per month, but does not even hold a diploma in
housekeeping. She hails from Matale, the hometown of Governor A. S.
bottom line is this. As a result of these appointments and deviation
from seniority basis, top officers at the Central Bank are frustrated,
asserting the decisions of Jayawardena has seriously affected staff
morale, enthusiasm and their dedication to work. This has resulted in a
fall-out situation as far as quality, productivity and smooth
functioning of the Central Bank is concerned.
Perera, a grade four officer and director welfare at the Central Bank
was one of the first legal officers to be recruited to the bank. She has
served 27 years at the Central Bank and has 32 years experience as a
lawyer. Yet, when her promotion came up she was told that there was no
vacancy for a head of department to the legal division and instead she
was moved out to another division. Subsequently she was appointed as
story in the bank is that Perera was moved out of the position of
director legal to accommodate Sarojini Kadurugamuwa. Interestingly,
Kadurugamuwa is the daughter of former SLFP Minister, T. B. Subasinghe.
More interestingly, A. S. Jayawardena's wife is T.B. Subasinghe's niece.
So the family connection is evident.
Paranavitane, holds a masters degree in economics but has been merely
posted to the Welfare Department. W. Ranasinghe has passed out with a
maths special degree but is also posted to the Welfare Department of the
is not all. The Central Bank in the year 2000 took on board 12 trainee
fund managers for the Employees' Provident Fund. They were recruited on
an initial salary of Rs. 12,500 per month. After a period of two years
this was increased to Rs. 29,500 per month and now seven out of this 12
are drawing monthly reimbursements of between Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 50,000.
These salaries are all drawn out by the Central Bank from the Employees
Provident Fund. The coup de gras as they say, is that none of these
seven officers who are now on the permanent staff of the Central Bank
could even pass the bank test when interviewed for permanent posts.
serious defect in promoting officers as heads of divisions at the
Central Bank has been a criteria calling for "outstanding
contribution." As pointed out by the executive committee members of
the bank union, Central Bank officers are posted to departments at the
will of the management and there is no proper policy in practice to
is also no transparent policy for providing training. The union in fact
charges that favouritism plays a major role in selection of officers for
training. The popular saying at the Central Bank is that "if you
want to be promoted or rise in the bank the governor must like
is a clear lack of equal opportunity, angry staff point out, asserting
most officers in operational departments of the bank dedicate themselves
to fulfil the tasks of the bank without having any training exposure,
while some officers in a few departments have exposure to current
developments through frequent participation in training programmes and
most departments, officers have no opportunity to write articles and to
undertake research work while some officers in a few departments have
opportunities and facilities to do so partly through their official
clear identification of outstanding contributions is a controversial
matter and in this context it is unfair to apply this item when making
promotions, they said.
curious aspect in the present running of the Central Bank is Governor A.
S. Jayawardena having initiated specialised divisions as part of the
Banks' functions. For instance special projects such as the
establishment of the Money Museum, the Bank's Heritage Project and the
Numismatic Society are all functions that appear to have no relation to
the objectives of the Central Bank.
Jayawardena has even appointed Dr. H. A. P. Abeywardena to the Bank's
Heritage Project to write books on the various provinces. As a result
bank vehicles are used by Dr. Abeywardena to visit the Sabaragamuwa and
Uva Provinces so he can compile information for his writings.
to the Heritage Project the latest acquisition of the Governor is the
takeover, maintenance and running of the Fort Clock Tower from the
Colombo Municipal Council. Jayawardena in fact has ingeniously got the
clock tower to chime on the hour a melodious ring emanating the words
noteworthy to remember at this point that from December 8, 2002 the
amendment to the Monetary Law Act has now restricted the Central Bank's
objectives to price stability and monetary policy. So where do heritage
projects and currency museums come in?
also learn that, S. J. A. Handagama, senior assistant director
information at the bank is more interested in producing documentaries
focused on health and nutrition rather than concentrating on channeling
his talent to monetary issues that would benefit the Central Bank.
are 36 institutions that come under the supervision of the Central Bank.
It is alleged that appointments to some of these institutions like the
Bankers Training Institution and the Clearing House are made through
influence and management favourites of the Central Bank are nominated to
instance, Justin Wickremasinghe was a former manager at the Clearing
House before it was privatised. After this institution was privatised
Wickremesinghe retired from the Central Bank and joined Clearing House
as its general manager drawing a salary of Rs. 100,000.
Central Bank still has controlling shares at Clearing House.
Deputy General Manager,
Ariyawansa who was formerly in charge of administration at the
Central Bank is also now employed at Clearing House drawing a monthly
remuneration package of Rs. 50,000.
similar situation exists at the Bankers Training Institute. Although
this is an independent body, it is controlled to a large extent by the
Central Bank. Here too, four retired officers from the Central Bank who
share a close relationship with A. S. Jayawardena are now employed. In
fact, H. M. R. Ellepola, who is over 60 years of age, and former
secretary monetary board, is now employed at this institution as its
chief executive officer.
A.S. Jayawardena defended his position when interviewed by The
Sunday Leader. "We just don't have the qualified staff within
the bank to head some of our divisions," he said, adding that
for management of internal audit "you need a fully qualified
chartered accountant..audits in a bank is not merely compliance
." he asserted.
told that there are at least seven to eight officers within the
Central Bank who qualify for this post, Jayawardena disagreed
saying, "That is not correct. In any case if there were, all
they had to do was apply for the post. It is true there are very
junior accountants who may have these qualifications but you
cannot put such a person in charge of a department."
told that staff within his bank cannot qualify for the work
experience criteria for these posts due to the fact they are
constantly rotated to different divisions, Jayawardena said this
is necessary as employees at the Central Bank must have a working
knowledge of the various divisions within the bank.
you don't rotate them how do you prepare these people for the
highest positions in the bank? They need diversity in functions -
our principle is we don't keep a person for more than five years
in a particular department..." he said.
Governor insisted that those chosen from outside for management
positions in the Central Bank "were very carefully decided. I
am certain there was nobody within the Central Bank who had the
specialised experience or qualifications to hold these
posts," he said.
defended the appointment of Mangala Boyagoda, arguing there is no
conflict of interest in this case. He reiterated that Boyagoda is
lending his services free of charge to the Central Bank as a
consultant and advisor. He said if he had to hire a foreign banker
for this post he would have had to pay millions of rupees.
"Why should I do that when Boyagoda is the most knowledgeable
for this position?" he asked, repeating "there is
absolutely no conflict of interest - we looked into that aspect
carefully before we hired him."
Governor further defended his maintenance of the clock tower in
Fort. "The clock tower is the only lighthouse clock tower in
the world and it is older than the Big Ben in the UK. This is
right in front of our bank...we are looking after it. we have not
bought it.it is no more an eyesore in the city of Colombo.
Secondly, what if somebody climbs up that clock tower and aims a
rocket at the Central Bank? What happens then? By us maintaining
this tower we can at least prevent that catastrophe from
happening," he said.
regard to the heritage project, Jayawardena explained that this is
being done by five of the Central Bank's regional banks, "for
which we are only helping," he said. He explained that the
objective of the project is to promote rural development and
tourism in these areas. Each of the regional banks he said will
publish a booklet on historical sights in these areas thus
promoting tourism and boosting economic development in these
admitted that office space has been given at the Central Bank to
scholars entrusted with this work, "who are preparing the
scripts for the cultural books."
for his comment on a belief in the bank that staff would get
promoted only if close to the governor, Jayawardena replied,
"the systems in the bank are more than 50 years old. Where
advancement criteria is concerned it is clearly spelt out,
transparent and open. People can make wild accusations - but that
is all it is - merely accusations - there is absolutely no truth
takes Central Bank to task
only institution that has taken the Governor of the Central Bank
to task up to date appears to be the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
which is as autonomous as the Central Bank. In a scathing
criticism of the Central Bank and its methods of management and
arbitrary selection of staff about six months ago, Justice Mark
Fernando, the most senior judge of the court struck down the
appointment of W. A. Wijeywardena as deputy governor of the bank.
his judgement Justice Fernando made it very clear that it was not
in any way critical of Wijeywardena's appointment but he was most
critical of the manner in which the Governor, A. S. Jayawardena
had overlooked and bypassed the standing regulations of the bank
to make that appointment.
that judgement Wijeywardena's appointment was re-confirmed by the
monetary board, but only after abiding very strictly to the
Supreme Court ruling. This was the first time in the Central
Bank's 53 year old history it lost a case and had its decision
the Monetary Law Act being amended by parliament on December 10,
2002, where it was decided that five members would sit on the
Monetary Board instead of three, this change has yet to be
implemented. The Monetary Board continues to function with only
three members, namely, A. S. Jayawardena as Chairman, Treasury
Secretary, Charitha Ratwatte and C. Chanmugam, former deputy
secretary of the Treasury.