The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources Development yesterday called on the Government to conduct a forensic audit on the controversial Batticaloa Campus Ltd. commonly known as ‘Sharia University’ to investigate its funding sources.
Following a preliminary observation conducted by the Sectoral Oversight Committee, it was able to uncover a number of irregularities in the setting up of the private education facility. The Committee has also recommended the Government takes over the Batticaloa Campus under Emergency Regulation laws and for it to be managed under the Eastern University. Speaking to media at Temple Trees, Sectoral Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources Development Chairman Parliamentarian Prof. Ashu Marasinghe said the report submitted by the Committee had revealed irregularities on how foreign funds had been obtained by the private education institute and insisted investigations should be conducted through the Foreign Affairs Ministry and diplomatic missions to investigate funding sources of the institute.
“Committee members visited the controversial education institute and observed the premises and gathered vital information to prepare our report, therefore I can say this is an illegal institute and legal action needs to be taken against those who are behind this institute,” he said.
He said the institute had encroached on eight acres land belonging to the Mahaweli Authority and insisted that needs to be properly investigated. “If someone plucked coconut from a neighbour’s land, that man has to face moral and legal consequences. Therefore those who encroached on the eight acres of land cannot be allowed to go unnoticed. These are matters that need to be properly investigated and legal action taken.”
Prof. Marasinghe pointed out that the recommendation made by the Sectoral Oversight Committee on the Batticaloa Campus had not targeted one particular individual or community but an action against corruption and financial misconduct.
“Some viewed our recommendations as a racist move but I can assure everyone the Committee is very transparent and independent. None of the members of the Committee wanted to target one particular community. The recommendations were based on evidence gathered by statements of Government officials.”
He said the recommendation of the Oversight Committee had been given to the Cabinet and observations of the Cabinet will be reported to Parliament. He noted the Oversight Committee had also requested a debate at the Parliament on the report from the Speaker.