Feb 11, 2017

Lake House back to the Wijewardena family! Featured

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on government financial matters has decided to release 49% of Lake House shares to the private sector, it is reported.

This decision was taken to make Lake House a semi-private institution with the aim of minimising state interference and influence and managing the overall operations of the institution electively and profitably, including the management of excess staff issues and other human resource and assets management.

Two main factions:

According to internal government sources, in the event the institution is to be semi-privatised, there are two parties prepared to invest in Lake House, namely Wijaya Publications owned by the Wijewardena family and Perpetual Treasuries.

These sources further stated that in the event Lake House shares are to be released to the private sector, preference should be given to the Wijewardena family, which was a clause stipulated in the agreement at the time it was acquired.

The majority of 75% shares of Lake House was acquired by the government from the Wijewardena family in 1973, while it was under the management of Ranjith Wijewardena.

However, due to the disagreements between the Wijaya Group Management and the Prime Minister, it is believed that there is a possibility that the Wijewardena family maybe deprived of the opportunity to get back Lake House.

Prime Minister’s anger?

The dispute between the Prime Minister and the Wijaya Publications management is believed to have escalated while the management has disregarded the orders of the Prime Minister to remove several persons from their positions including the Lankadeepa Chief Editor and they are continuing in their posts despite the PM’s order. Further it is alleged that several of the PM’s  loyalist journalists had been sacked from the organisation, the source stated.

Meanwhile, the President has appointed a four member committee comprising retired Supreme Court Judge, Nimal Dissanayake to look into the financial stability of Lake House and formulate a comprehensive report on the institutions staff and asset management and measures that could be taken to improve the existing management shortcomings. The report is scheduled to be handed over to the President within three months.

The President does not intend to take any action pertaining to Lake House until the report is finalised and handed over to him, according to Presidential Media sources.

Similarly, the sources revealed that no decision will be taken with regard to the investments of Perpetual Treasuries until the report on the Bond scam issue is finalised and published.