The Public Services Commission (PSC) has decided to remove Anusha Palpita from the post of additional secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, effective immediately.
The Secretary of the commission, Gamini Seneviratne, stated that according to the Establishment Code a person with an ongoing case with regard to allegations of criminal act, bribery or corruption cannot hold a position in the public service. The Ministry of Public Administration had informed the Public Service Commission (PSC) last Friday regarding the matter and the commission met today to reach a decision. Accordingly, steps were taken to suspend Mr Palpita pending the findings of the court case.
The move comes amidst an outcry from several civil society groups against the decision to appoint him to the ministry despite indictments filed against Palpita at the Colombo High Court over misappropriating funds for the distribution of Sil Cloth during the previous administration.
Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena had insisted that Mr. Palpita was appointed by the PSC and was transferred by the Public Administration and Management Ministry to the Home Affairs Ministry during the recent floods.
Palpita and former presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga were charged in a case filed alleging that the TRC had spent Rs.600 million to distribute Sil Cloth to the people as part of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.
Peoples’ Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) were among several organizations who deplored the appointment of Palpita as Additional Secretary.
Mr Palpita worked with several state organizations including the Customs Department and the Auditor General’s Department prior to his stint as Director General of the Government Information Department and later Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).
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