UNF cabinet reshuffled after five postponements
[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 February 2002, 09:31 GMT]
The five times postponed swearing in ceremony of eight new Cabinet ministers took place Thursday noon at the Presidential Secretariat. Mr.S.B.Dissanayake, one time ally and now an archrival of President Chandrika Kumaratunge took oaths as Minister of 'Samurdhi' (Poverty Alleviation) in addition to his Agricultural Ministry.
The President's refusal to sworn in Mr. Dissanayake as Minister of Samurdhi had delayed the swearing in ceremony of elevating other seven non-cabinet ministers to the rank of Cabinet ministers. President Chandrika Kumaratunge's reason for her refusal was that she had found fresh allegations of corruption against Mr.Dissanayake when he was Minister of 'Samurdhi' under her government.
The President and the Prime Minister settled the dispute over the appointment of Mr.Dissanayake as Minister of 'Samurdhi' during one to one talk held recently. The President later agreed on the assurance by the Prime Minister that she could remove Mr.Dissanayake from the post of Minister of 'Samurdhi', if there was a prima facie case against Mr.Dissanayake and take legal action.
Mr.S.B.Dissanayake and Mr.G.L. Peiris were the main architects for the fall of the People's Alliance in November last year. Both were holding posts of Ministers in the PA government.
The non-cabinet ministers Messrs.Imtiaz Bakeer Markar (Mass Media), Ravi Karunanayake (Commerce and Consumer services), Milinda Morogoda (Economic Reforms, Science and Technology), P.Chandrasekaran (Estate Infrastructures), Mahinda Samarasinghe (Labour), Rajitha Senaretna (Lands) and Karunasena Kodituwakku (Education, Human Resources Development and Culture) have been elevated to the rank of Cabinet level with the swearing-in-ceremony that took place Thursday.