An investigation has been launched to determine as to how the son of Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah secured shares worth Rs 500 million in the controversial ‘Batticaloa Campus’ aka ‘Sharia University,’ State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena yesterday (9) told Parliament.
This educational institute had been given to Sri Lanka as a grant from Saudi Arabia. Wijewardena made this remark in response to a question raised by UNP’s Parliamentarian, Heshan Withanage.
Withanage noted that suspicion had arisen as to how Governor Hizbullah’s son had got shares from a fund received by the country.
Withanage: “This Sharia University is making news headlines these days. People are very curious about this particular institute which is being built in Batticaloa. But the most suspicious thing is how Governor Hizbullah’s son has got shares in this institute worth of Rs 500 million. How can a Governor’s son obtain shares from a project which the country received as a grant? This is a project which is being built from foreign funds. This is dubious. The public does not favour this institute too. What action would the Government take on this matter?”
Wijewardena replied that according to his knowledge, an investigation has already been launched into the controversial institute.
“Both the Premier and the Speaker also inquired about this particular project. Right now, the institute is under the purview of the Higher Education Ministry. I am of the view that there should be an investigation into the concerns regarding this institute.”
Joining the discussion UPFA MP Dr. Bandula Gunawardena noted that Higher Education Minister Rauff Hakeem was in the Chamber. He requested Hakeem to make a clarification on the matter on the institute.
Hakeem: “We have not taken any decision as to whether we should grant Degree awarding status to this particular institute yet. It should be done after a thorough study. I know that there are fears and doubts about it. If we are going to continue this project, first we should address these doubts. I will give the House a proper explanation at a future date.”
UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri also said what they wanted to know was how Hizbullah’s son secured shares in the institute.