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News


Who authorised FM’s son to issue official statements?

Controversial Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama made yet another bureaucratic blunder by permitting his son Dhakshitha to issue an ‘official statement’ with regard to the SAARC Council of Ministers, which concluded on Friday in New Delhi.

The move, dubbed as callous disregard for normal ethical practice, occurred on Friday evening when Dhakshitha, an unofficial ‘adviser’ to Minister Bogollagama who accompanied his father to India, issued a statement from his very own personal email address on the conclusion of the SAARC meeting. The statement was emailed to almost all leading print and electronic media outlets, including to The Nation newspaper. “It is the Public Communications Division or the Sri Lankan Mission in New Delhi that is authorised to issue such statements, but this is a very unprecedented move by the Foreign Minister and his son,” highly placed Foreign Ministry sources told The Nation on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, when The Nation contacted the Public Communication Division’s Director General Ravinatha Ariyasinghe yesterday, he expressed he was unaware of the matter and requested the reporter to query the issue from his second-in-command.
However, following continuous persistence by this newspaper, Ariyasinghe did finally acknowledge that it was not appropriate for the Minister’s son to issue a news release from his personal email.

“The most appropriate step would have been for us to issue that news release,” he noted.
Meanwhile, several hours later, Ariyasinghe called the reporter back where he stated that after checking up on the matter with New Delhi, it had transpired that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi had drafted the release and used Dhakshita’s email address to issue the statement.

“The release has been sent by the High Commissioner since only Dhakshitha’s laptop had been available at that time, and they had used his email to issue the statement,” Ariyasinghe said.
Romesh Jayasinghe, one of the most senior career diplomats in the service, once tipped to be the Foreign Secretary, is Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi.

When Ariyasinghe was asked whether Dhakshita has any official post at the Ministry he said, “I don’t know whether he has an official position but from time to time he travels with his father.” (MM)

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