Chilaw UC Chairman Storms Out Of Session After Being Accused Of Fraud

The Chilaw Urban Council Chairman Hilary Prasanna Fernando has left the council meeting abruptly on Wednesday (29) after a heated argument with the Deputy Chairman Susantha Sanjaya and several other members.

This has occurred following the submission of a petition by a United People’s Freedom Alliance Council Member Jeevanee Kariyawasam in which she accused that the Chairman was complicit in an underhand dealing.

The said deal concerns a waste water pumping station in Lansiyawatta area in Chilaw to pump the waste water coming from the canals in the town to the lagoon. However, the pumps were not been used due to the high electricity cost. There is no mechanism to remove the waste water and it would overflow and cause difficulties to the people of the area.

On February 27, 2013, the UC Chairman had put forward and taken approval for a proposal to remove the equipment including the pumps and break the wall of the pumping station so that the waste water will flow to the lagoon. All equipment was to be handed over to the UC.

In another three months, on May 22, the Chairman had submitted another proposal to remove the equipment and a tender was called in June 2013. Nevertheless, no explanation was given as to why the proposal approved in February 2013 was not implemented. Thereby, the UC Chairman has violated the Local Authorities (Standard By-laws) Act No 6 of 1952 which states that after a proposal is approved by the local authority, it cannot be nullified and replaced by a separate proposal within six months.

According to the Sunday newspaper ‘The Nation,’ Council Member Kariyawasam has asked the question as to what happened to the equipment on August 27, 2014, during the council sessions. The Chairman had asked for time to answer. But he had dodged the question repeatedly on council meetings.

Nevertheless, he had found time to give press briefings which were reported on a local Sinhalese newspaper several days ago.

Meanwhile, a group of council members led by the Deputy Chairman and Kariyawasam had found that the equipment had been sold to a scrap metal dealer for Rs. 135,000. The estimated value of the pumps, iron gates and other items is said to be at least 2 million rupees.

Kariyawasam had submitted all the details in a petition on October 29, which has led to the heated argument and ultimately the Chairman has stormed out of the meeting.

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