Kurunegala Mayor facing corruption charges removed
Kurunegala Mayor, Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana (SLPP), facing a corruption inquiry, has been removed from office due to his failure to secure approval for the 2023 Budget.
The announcement was made by the Office of the North Western Governor Province Governor Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda. A notification from the NWP Governor’s Office quoted Karannagoda as having said that the Kurunegala Mayor was deemed to have resigned, with effect from Dec 31, 2022.
A high-profile investigation into corruption in the Kurunegala Municipal Council, involving members of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), is underway. Karannagoda ordered the inquiry on the basis of findings made by the National Audit Office.
The ousted Kurunegala Mayor made abortive bids to halt the proceedings. His efforts to move the Kurunegala High Court and the Court of Appeal to nullify a gazette issued by Karannagoda to conduct an inquiry into allegations of corruption against him, failed.
Karannagoda has appointed retired Judicial Officer Lalith Ekanayake to conduct the inquiry. Investigations conducted by the National Audit Office have revealed how members of the government, the Opposition, as well as officers of the Kurunegala MC, brazenly shared shops available at the Kurunegala Central market, main bus stand and the Maligapitiya shopping complex, outside laid down procedures. The report named all recipients, including Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana (three shops) and Opposition Leader W. A. Wijayananda Wedisinghe (two shops). (SF)