Hizbullah responds to accusations over Batticaloa campus

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Former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah today held a press conference to respond to the various allegations leveled against him by UNP Parliamentarian Ashu Marasinghe and other individuals with regard to the Batticaloa campus.

He said that they have submitted a report to the Parliament Sub-Committee on Higher Education looking into the issue and which will submit recommendations to the Cabinet of Minister and also that the report contains their responses to the allegations made in Marasinghe’s report.

He said it is scheduled to be taken up for debate in Parliament on August 07.

Hizbullah stated that at various public meetings and media briefings MP Ashu Marasinghe has been making very serious accusations against him and Batticaloa Campus Private Ltd, in which he serves as Chairman.

“It is completely false and serious accusation,” he said, adding that this is the reason why they have given their answers in a report which was submitted to the Cabinet sub-committee.

He accused the UNP MP of including his own personal opinions in the report and preparing it in manner that would justify and warrant the government taking over the campus and changing its name.

Hizbullah categorically rejected each of the claims and accusations made by the MP in his report on the Batticaloa campus including issues pertaining to the size of the property where it is located and the use of the word university for it.

He clarified that they used the word ‘University College’, but not ‘University’.

Showing his documents to the media personnel, the former minister also rejected the allegations that the institution has not been registered with the government.

He said that the MP also claims that they have registered the institution as ‘Batticaloa Campus College’ and that funds have been obtained under the name ‘Batticaloa Campus’.

Clarifying this, the former Governor said that they initially registered it as ‘Batticaloa Campus College’, but it was changed to ‘Batticaloa Campus’ because the Higher Education Ministry had asked them to drop the word ‘College’ from its name.

He said the MP had also accused them of not revealing initially that the funds received were loans and that only now they have revealed that it were loans and that no one was informed of this.

Responding to this, Hizbullah stated that they have submitted a financial viability report to the Ministry of Higher Education in July 2016. He said that they gave not one but five copies to the ministry and that it contains the loan agreement.

He said that it clearly states that the first transaction was received in March 2016. Reading from it, he further said that it states “…..and the second transaction 560 million was received on 05th of May 2016. BCSL (Batticaloa Campus Sri Lanka) expects all the other loans pledged to be received as per the agreement reached with the lending institution.”

We have clearly stated that two transactions were received and that the rest will be received in due time, he stressed.

He also referred to an article published in a local newspaper in which MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero had claimed that Hizbullah had received Rs 17,500 million from Saudi Arabia and another article which claimed the funds were from a banned organisation in Saudi.

“These are complete lies.” He said that even the Central Bank governor has confirmed that they only received Rs 3,600 million and that the funds were transferred through the Central Bank and the Bank of Ceylon before it reached their bank accounts.

Funds cannot be sent from a banned organisation in that manner, he said

He emphasized that Sheikh Ali Abdullah Al Juffali Foundation Charity is a respected organisation in the Gulf region and questioned as to how a banned organisation couls send money on 7 occasions within 2 years in that manner.

He said that the funds received and the expenditures have all been reported to the Inland Revenue Department as they are a BoI company.