ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25

Further delay for disciplinary inquiry at Cultural Dept.

By Isuri Kaviratne

The disciplinary inquiry into the interdiction of a Cultural Department official for failing to provide a public address system (PAS) at the cemetery during the funeral of veteran singer Kokiladevi Weeratunga has been further delayed until next month. The inquiry will now be held December on 7, 14 and 17.

The officer who was interdicted in July for allegedly neglecting orders to provide the PAS to the cemetery while the interdicted officer claimed he was informed of the requirement only at the last minute after the body had been taken to the cemetery and when he arrived with the PAS the funeral was over. However, Cultural Affairs Ministry Secretary G. L. W. Samarasinghe said there had been State involvement in the funeral so it was a serious lapse not to provide a PAS system to the cemetery.

“The Ministry took the decision to provide all facilities for the funeral and he neglected the orders”, the Secretary added. Cultural Department Director E. M. Abeyratne, said he had to send a vehicle several times to get the PAS to the cemetery. “But by the time it came, the funeral was over,” he said.

However, the officer has maintained that the decision was communicated to him late. The inquiry commenced several months after the officer was interdicted but the Director said that normally, it would take longer to start an inquiry. Meanwhile, the President's Office called up The Sunday Times and said that President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga played no part in the disciplinary action taken against the public servant.

They confirmed that the late Ms. Kokila Devi Weeratunga was a relative of the President's Secretary, but that due to official engagements, Mr. Weeratunga was unable to attend the funeral ceremonies.

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