Lanka Sathosa garlic scam: Bandula throws down gauntlet
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena challenged in Parliament on Wednesday (22) that he would resign from active politics if anyone proved that he had stolen, scammed or taken commissions from any institution coming under his Ministry. He made this remark during the Second Reading of the Consumer Affairs Authority (Amendment) Bill. In response to the allegations regarding the garlic scam in Lanka Sathosa, the Minister said the IGP should apprehend the perpetrators of the scam.
Speaking further, Gunawardena said that a speech by Executive Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority, Thushan Jayawardena, was published in a national newspaper. The Minister said this person has obtained this appointment from another Minister. “He alleges that I did not allow the CWE to investigate the garlic scam. That is not the truth,” he claimed. “My Minister of State Lasantha Alagiyawanna and he has the power to set prices.
He also has all the powers of the Co-operative Department. A separate amount of money will be allocated to him for this purpose. I have not attended any meeting of the Consumer Affairs Authority. My State Minister invited me to come and discuss the Consumer Protection Act. That was the only time I went there. I have never seen this person,” he added. “If it is proved that I or a member of my family has committed any fraud, I will not just leave Parliament but I will bid farewell to active politics forever,” Gunawardena said.