Thushan Gunawardena, the Executive Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has stated that he has been subjected to various political pressures to resign from the post as well as threats following the revelation of the recent garlic fraud at the CWE. In an interview with journalist Chamuditha Samarawickrema’s Truth with Chamuditha YouTube, he said that his resignation was being pressured by politicians however could not remove him from the post appointed by the President.
Mr Gunawardena, a technical engineer by profession, said that he had supported President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the last Presidential election and had been appointed as the Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority through applications for appointments to higher posts. He reminisced the advice given by the president to act straightforward and do not bend at wrong decisions. Ordinary people as well to take part in solving this great task: However the Executive Director says he realized that he cannot follow the advice by the president within a short time after he took office.
His revelations about the fraud of selling 56,000 kilograms of garlic to a wholesaler at Sathosa, the latest incident to affect him, are as follows.
“I received a call that Sathosa had sold a stock of garlic to a private trader at night and was now making book records of it. I immediately sent a team there. It enabled us to catch fraud. This garlic has been imported at 355 per kilogram. But these have been sold to the private sector for Rs. 135. The total transaction is Rs. 74 lakhs.
The price of this garlic is now 540 rupees. What happens here is that the garlic that goes out for 135 rupees comes back to Sathosa for 450 rupees. A Deputy General Manager has been arrested for this incident. Or how can it be said without any investigation within an hour of being caught in the fraud that this has nothing to do with top management.
However, after the incident, I was subjected to various pressures. It is life-threatening. I am being asked to resign from this post. No politician is directly influenced. But in other ways, I get messages asking me to resign.
We came to these positions to work. Read the President’s vision of prosperity. Now there is a vision of prosperity not working. There is a frustration about this. Because of this, I have no hope of continuing in this position. Gunawardena said.