Friday, 20 April 2018
Cover up of probe again into honorary degree fiasco

Cover up of probe again into honorary degree fiasco Featured

The Sri Jayewardenepura University’s administration is once again trying to cover up the investigation report against those accused over the granting of an honorary degree, for Rs. 30 million, to a wealthy German businessman by the name Ulrich Behmann six years ago, reports say.

The investigation report, released on 08 July 2010, says the then head of the university’s department of history and archaeology Prof. P.B. Mandawala and four others were responsible.

This matter again surfaced recently at a ceremony organized by businessman W.K.H. Wegapitiya and several others at Waters Edge to felicitate selected graduates of the university.

Among those recommended to be awarded was Prof. Mandawala, but the university’s registrar lodged a protest with the organizers, noting the above incident.

Accordingly, the organizers dropped Prof. Wegapitiya from the list of recipients.

According to reports reaching us, incumbent vice chancellor Prof. Sampath Amaratunga and the top administration of the university, ostensibly on an order from the top, are preventing action against the accused in this matter.

The German national was awarded the honorary doctorate on 08 February 2010, and the media claimed it was given for Rs. 30 million, and authorities initiated an investigation.

Retired judge K. Sarath Gunatilake was appointed to investigate the matter, and he received a Rs. 8,000 a day payment for the task.

After eight days, he submitted a report, which accused five persons, including Prof. Mandawala.

Based on that report, the university senate handed over charge sheets to the accused on 16 May 2013, but the then vice chancellor Dr. N.L.P. Karunaratne prevented any further action.

That is because among the accused were supporters of the then Rajapaksa regime, and they had given their signatures to newspaper advertisements and statements in support of the ex-president.

The incumbent VC, an advisor to Shashindra Rajapaksa and an active supporter of the Rajapaksas, too, is trying to save his colleagues, ‘Sathhanda’ reports.

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