Financial Times

PBJ affidavit to be accepted once all letters are filed-Court

Former Treasury Secretary’s resignation letter not in annexures
By Natasha Gunaratne

Former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera made another appearance in the Supreme Court last Monday regarding the Lanka Marine Services Limited (LMSL) judgment, this time to submit an affidavit swearing that he does not hold any public office or hold shares in any companies in which the government has a direct or indirect interest in.

In his affidavit, Dr. Jayasundera stated that 'I regret having continued to exercise official functions after the delivery of Judgment by Your Lordship's Court' and further stated that he does not 'hold office under the Republic or in any establishment in which the government of Sri Lanka has an interest, purporting to represent the government of Sri Lanka' and he will 'not hold office in any governmental institutions either directly or indirectly or purport to exercise in any manner executive or administrative functions.'

During the proceedings, Counsel for the petitioner Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran brought to the attention of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva that Dr. Jayasundera had failed to include some annexures in his affidavit, namely the letters he had written to various individuals regarding his resignation as Treasury Secretary. The Supreme Court said that once the annexures are submitted, the affidavit will be accepted by the Court. Furthermore, the final order will be given on December 15.
According to the 3-page affidavit submitted by Dr. Jayasundera, he stated that he has 'paid a sum of Rupees Five Hundred Thousand by way of compensation to the state.' He added that 'by letter dated 25th July 2008 addressed to His Excellency the President thorough the Secretary to the President, I requested His Excellency the President to relieve me of my responsibilities as the Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning /Secretary to the Treasury.'

The affidavit further stated that 'by letter dated 31st July 2008, the Secretary to His Excellency the President informed me that His Excellency the President had required me to continue to serve as Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning / Secretary to the Treasury, until a replacement was found.' Then Dr. Jayasundera submitted that by letter dated 17th September 2008, the Secretary to the President informed him that his resignation had been accepted with effect from 17th September 2008.
The affidavit stated that 'in the circumstances I state that I ceased to hold office as the Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning / Secretary to the Treasury with effect from 17th September 2008. By reason of my resignation from the said posts, I also ceased to hold all ex officio positions held by virtue of my being the Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning / Secretary to the Treasury, including membership of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Finance Commission and Institute of Policy Studies.'

By letter dated 19th September 2008, the affidavit stated that Dr. Jayasundera requested Mr. Sumith Abeysinghe who succeeded him to relieve him from the post of Chairman of SriLankan Airlines. On the same day, Dr. Jayasundera also addressed a letter to Mr. Abeysinghe requesting that alternate appointments be made to Director Boards, Tender Boards and Steering Committees in which he had been functioning by virtue of being Treasury Secretary. According to the affidavit, Dr. Jayasundera also requested that consequential action be taken in respect of documents such as Deeds of Trust and with regard to the divesting of subscriber and any other shares that were allotted in his name during the time he held office as Treasury Secretary.

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