Piano diplomat not present for inquiry

The Sri Lankan diplomat who is alleged to have returned home with antique items from his landlord’s residence in Japan did not appear for the inquiry at the Foreign Ministry last Monday.

The ex-diplomat Tilak Attanayake who was a political appointee holding the post of Minister Consular in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Japan from mid-2007 till September 2009, was asked to come last Monday for an inquiry over a complaint which had been lodged by the Japanese house owner five months ago.

He was also told to give a written explanation on the allegations leveled against him by his Japanese landlord who had rented his house to Mr. Attanayake in Tokyo’s Neguro area.

Mr. Attanayake who failed to provide a written explanation and also appear before the inquiry which was handled by Mr. A.W Pathiraja, the acting Director General of Overseas Administration of the Foreign Ministry, had reportedly told the officials that he was unable to attend the inquiry on the particular date as he had to attend to ‘personal matters.’ However Mr. Attanayake has told the officials of the Foreign Ministry that he would come with a written explanation this week and would face the inquiry. Mr. Attanayake was not available for comment despite several attempts made by the Sunday Times to contact him.

The Japanese businessman who had rented the house to Mr. Attanayake had made several written complaints to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Japan and had asked the Sri Lankan authorities to help him retrieve his antique items which were in his house.

Until the items are returned to him, the landlord, an influential Japanese businessman, has said he will not return the 610,000 Yen (Rs.762,500) deposit placed with him by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Japan. The Sunday Times learns that Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama had received a report on the matter from the Sri Lankan mission in Japan two weeks ago and is waiting for a report on the inquiry which is to be conducted by the Overseas Administration Division.

The Overseas Administration Division is unable to complete the report until it gets an explanation from Mr. Attanayake. It is learnt that Mr. Attanayake is a member of the SLFP Lawyers’ Association and had earlier been a policeman.

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