High ranking officials of four giant state sector infrastructure and service institutions will be summoned before the Parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) over four successive days next week.
SriLankan Airlines officials will be summoned before the COPE today, Sathosa officials have been summoned on August 21, the Water Supply and Drainage Board on August 22 and the Ceylon Electricity Board on the 23rd.
Significantly, the Speaker has now authorised full ‘live’ news media coverage of the COPE session, thereby enabling the public to watch key moments in the grilling of these officials by the alert parliamentarians of COPE which is headed by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti who is already known for his no-nonsense, investigative approach and insistence on managerial and financial discipline in the state sector.
The Committee will convene at 2.30 p.m. daily on these four days from today to the 23 under the leadership of Handunnetti. Officials of these institutions who have been summoned before the committee will be subject to questions and requests for data and for reasons for institutional performance.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya recently took the decision to open the sessions of the COPE to the media from 9th August for the first time in the history of the Sri Lankan Parliament.Accordingly, the media will be able to report the activities of this Committee live, the Speaker’s Office said.
Comprising 31 parliamentarians, COPE is one of the key finance committees in Parliament empowered to examine the accounts of the public establishments and of any business undertaking vested in the Government, to ensure the observance of financial discipline in Public Corporations and other Semi Governmental bodies in which the Government has a financial stake.
COPE has the constitutional power to summon before them and question any person, call for and examine any paper, book, record or other documents and to have access to stores and property.