Controversial Dealer Muhunthan Canagey Appointed As ICTA Chief!

February 08, 2015

Controversial businessman Muhunthan Canagey is to assume duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA).

The appointment, according to highly placed sources of the government, has received approval of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Canagey’s name was linked to the bribery charges that were leveled against former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, in relation to his role in the formation of The Buddhist Broadcasting Services.

The involvement of the main investor of The Buddhist channel launched by The Buddhist Broadcasting Services, Muhunthan Canagey in 2007 soon after Silva passed judgment on cases filed by him in the Supreme Court in 2006 has revealed a suspicious link between the duo.

The equipment and The Buddhist channel had been donated by former CEO of Dialog TV (then known as CBNsat), Canagey.

According to a report carried in ‘The Sunday Leader’ in 2009, The setting up of The Buddhist channel had cost Rs. 65 million (approximately US$ 600,000), which is stated as, “A kind gesture contribution by Muhunthan Canagey.” The act is also considered as “one of the largest contributions (charitable) by an individual in the recent past in Sri Lanka.”

The story behind Canagey’s generous contribution to set up The Buddhist channel begins after he enters into litigation following the banning of his DTH station, CBNsat, by the government due to security concerns.

The government in 2006 banned CBNsat for not possessing the necessary license for operations.

According to the Sunday Leader report in September, 2009, Equipment brought down by him for his operation was also held by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) at the Customs. Canagey first filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking interim relief to get the stalled equipment released.

A three-member bench headed by then Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva heard the case and the Supreme Court finally subsequently ordered that CBNsat facilities be sold to Dialog Telecom.Following the purchase of CBNsat facilities, Dialog Telecom commenced Dialog TV under Canagey.

In 2007, Canagey decided to donate equipment and facilities amounting to Rs. 65 million initially purchased for CBNsat to establish The Buddhist channel.

Interestingly, Silva, who heard the cases filed by Canagey in 2006, became a Director in The Buddhist channel launched in 2007. Many dubbed this as a clear conflict of interest, throwing the integrity of the former Chief Justice into serious question.

However, the former Chief Justice, at that point, denied any links with Canagey.

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