spent on Presidential commissions
By Chandani Kirinde
There have been thirty one Presidential Commissions of Inquiry appointed
since President Chandrika Kumaratunga took office in November 1994,
costing the State over Rs. 181 million, Parliament was told last
reports on most of these commissions had already been completed
and made public, although there were several still pending, Chief
Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament in response
to an oral question raised by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake
five Presidential Commissions of Inquiry that are yet to submit
reports include the Commissions of Inquiry into the death of Gangodawila
Soma Thera, appointed in December, 2004, the Commission to investigate
the conduct of some State institutions following the December 26th
tsunami, appointed in February, the Commission to Inquire into the
attacks on LTTE cadres in Batticaloa and Ampara districts in March,
2005, the Commission to inquire into the no-confidence motion against
the Western Province Chief Minister Reginold Cooray appointed in
June this year and the Commission to inquire into issues on lands
belonging to Buddhist Temporalities, appointed in July.
most expensive commission has been the Special Presidential Commission
on Malpractices and Irregularities in Certain Public Bodies, appointed
in February, 2005, with the expenditure running into Rs. 27,080,146.10.
This Commission submitted its report in March, 1999.
Salaries Commission 2000 headed by Tissa Devendra and appointed
in July, 2000, submitted its report in October, 2000. The expenditure
was Rs. 17.2 million while the Presidential Truth Commission on
Ethnic Violence (1981-84) appointed in July, 2001 which submitted
its report in August, 2002 cost over Rs. 8.9 million. The other
Commissions of Inquiry included Commissions to probe the assassinations
of Lalith Athulathmudali, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Lt. Gen. Denzil
commissions were also appointed to investigate the Janasaviya Trust
Fund, the disappearances of persons and operation of an illegal
detention camp at Batalanda in 1995, incidents at the Bindunwewa
Rehabilitation Camp in Bandarawela and into the helicopter crash
which killed former Minister A.H.M. Ashraff in 2001.
other widely published commissions were the ones to look into the
terrorist attack on the Air Force Base and airport at Katunayake
in 2001, the Buddha Sasana Commission, the disclosure of the Army
safehouse at Athurugiriya.