Status of BOI Director General Duminda Ariyasinghe still uncertain

October 22, 2018 (LBO) – The status of the Board of Investment’s Director General (DG) Duminda Ariyasinghe remains uncertain. Last week the BOI had rejected reports that he had tendered his resignation.

Other sources have said that he has been dismissed by the appointing authority, President Maithripala Sirisena. There has still been no official word from the BOI DG on this matter.

Last week the President surprised the Colombo business community by making moves aimed at the dissolution of the Board of Investment, Bank of Ceylon, and Peoples Bank. The surprise move put the UNP subject ministers on the defensive, pushing back against the President’s directive.

Unlike the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, the appointing authority for the top officials at the BOI is the President. With the state banks, authority theoretically rests with the line minister. The board of directors of the BOI before the President requested its dissolution were: Dumindra Ratnayake (Chairman), Mangala Yapa, Ajit Gunawardena, Sagara Gunawardena, and Hemanthi Wickramasinghe. There have been reports that Dumindra Ratnayake has already tendered his resignation to the President.

BOI DG Ariyasinghe is one of the longest serving senior officials at the BOI. He has been in the institution since 2005 and developed a reputation as one of the most credible figures in the recent history of the BOI.

During the previous government, when he was an Executive Director, there were reports that he was mistreated at the hands of the notorious Sajin Vass Gunawardena. While he was monitoring MP at the Foreign Ministry Gunawardena was also accused of assaulting Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London Dr. Chris Nonis. The incident garnered global attention at the time, and is still a talking point among senior British dignitaries visiting Sri Lanka.

Despite numerous cases against him, Vass Gunawardena remains virtually unscathed, despite this government having highlighted his misdeeds in the media and election rhetoric.

Unlike Sajin Vass Gunawardena, BOI DG Duminda Ariyasinghe may not be so lucky. In this government, after over a decade at the BOI, he may end up out of a job.