Anura Kumara locks horns with Bandula over Channel Eye transaction

22 August 2023 03:37 pm – 7      – 1493

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Minister of Mass Media Bandula Gunawardane and NPP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake were engaged in heated arguments in Parliament over the leasing of the state-owned Channel Eye to the Lyca Mobile Group.

Raising a question under Standing Orders 27/2, NPP MP Dissanayake said Channel Eye had been leased out to SDT Channel of the Lyca Mobile without following due procedures and that Minister Bandula Gunawardane had sought to a cover approval to cover up his fraudulent act.

He asked the subject minister on what basis and by what technical committee the monthly installment of Rs. 25 million was estimated at and whether the Channel Eye Board of Directors had powers to lease out the air time of the Channel to a company of their choice without following due procedures.

Minister Gunawardane said Channel Eye had not been leased out and that it was only rented out on a monthly rental of Rs. 25 million to VIS Broadcasting Company for six months.

MP Dissanayake argued that the Cabinet Paper presented by the Minister clearly says that it was leased out for six months.

Minister Gunawardane then, said it was not he who had drafted the Cabinet Paper and that the Cabinet Secretary had erroneously mentioned the word ‘lease out’ instead of ‘rent out’.

The Minister said he is willing to resign from all his positions and even from politics if he was proved to have committed any misdeed in the transaction.(Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)