Corruption in eastern councils

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The administrations of several local government bodies in the eastern province which were elected in early 1994 have been hit by allegations of corruption. In the latest development, the Governor of the Northeastern province has ordered a commission of inquiry into charges of embezzlement amounting to several hundred thousand rupees by the members of the Porathivupattu Pradeshiya Sabha in the Batticaloa district.

The Governor of a province can appoint a competent authority to investigate specific allegations of corruption against local government bodies.

The divisional secretary of Manmunai north (Batticaloa town) Mr.Sellaiah Punniyamoorthy who was earlier appointed to inquire into allegations of corruption against the administration of the Trincomalee Urban council has been asked to investigate the Porathivupattu Pradeshiya Sabha which is run by the TELO and the PLOTE.

The opposition members of the Batticaloa Municipal Council passed a resolution last week that corruption and embezzlement involving the Mayor Cheliyan Perinbanayagam should be investigated by the Governor.

The resolution has been sent to the Northeastern Provincial Council for action.

Cheliyan Perinbanayagam was elected Mayor on the TELO's ticket. He has been accused of illegally selling his official vehicle granted duty free and of using council vehicles for his private use.

The Mayor is to account for large sums he had taken as advances for traveling out of Batticaloa say his critics.

The Batticaloa Municipal Council's chief accountant S. Kousthuwamany was assaulted by unidentified gunmen last month and was left bleeding by the road in the heart of Batticaloa town.

The accountant had earned the Mayor's ire for insisting that he (the Mayor) produce bills and other documents for the advances he had drawn from the Batticaloa M.C Elections to the local bodies in the eastern province were held in March 1994 amidst allegations that they were conducted virtually according to the whims and directions of the Sri Lankan army and Police.

A commission of inquiry appointed subsequently after the PA government came to power found several Police officials including a senior DIG guilty of rigging and manipulating the elections.


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