Who is heading the Insurance Corporation?
Confusion reigned on Friday (23) as to the status of the Chairmanship of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), as Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, who was reportedly appointed as Chairman early last week, was rumoured to have been removed from that position on Friday.
Adding to the confusion, SLIC sources said that Godahewa had visited its office and met its corporate management as its new Chairman, while he himself denied being appointed to the position to begin with.
It all started when reports emerged on Tuesday that a letter had been issued removing Hemaka Amarasuriya as Chairman of SLIC and appointing Godahewa to the position. The Sunday Morning Business reliably learns that Godahewa had subsequently visited SLIC headquarters and met with the corporate management.
However, on Friday rumours started swirling that President Maithripala Sirisena had ordered Godahewa’s appointment to be cancelled and for him to be removed from the position.
This is thought to have been due to the allegations of financial misappropriation which have been levelled against him over the years, including during his tenure as Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman.
However, on his official Twitter account, Godahewa suggested that he was never appointed to the SLIC.
“How can one be removed from a position never given? Dear people, stop believing every rumour you hear at least now. A people-friendly government was changed in 2015 based on a pack of lies. Haven’t you learned a lesson even after four years of anarchy?”
However, The Sunday Morning Business reliably learns that a letter was issued by the Finance Ministry appointing him as Chairman.
“The Gazette says Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. The Finance Ministry has issued a letter to Dr. Godahewa for his appointment. Our CEO is acting according to the Gazette and, therefore, Godahewa is the Chairman,” an official who wished to remain anonymous said.
It is learnt that Hemaka Amarasuriya had stayed away from work for at least a week.
However, this confusion and lack of clarity has apparently not affected the smooth functioning of the SLIC, as CEO Chandana Aluthgama handled much of the day-to-day operations.
It is also learnt that Amarasuriya, even though he had the authority, had used it sparingly, with limited engagement.
Meanwhile on Friday, President Maithripala Sirisena issued a circular to all Ministry Secretaries saying that there cannot be any appointment to boards and statutory bodies under their purview, without clearance with the President.
The circular instructs Ministry Secretaries to appoint senior administrative officers suitable with similar ranks as Additional Secretaries or retired officers on a temporary basis to any vacant position in State-run enterprises.