Colombo, August 15 (newsin.asia): Tilak Janaka Marapana, Minister of Development Assignments, was sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday in place of Ravi Karunanayake who had resigned last week.
Karunanayake had resigned on account of his controversial financial dealings with stock broker Arjun Aloysisus, a principal figure in the 2015 Central Bank bonds scam.
Marapana is a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and is expected to carry out the policies of the Prime Minister in letter and spirit, political sources said.
A leading lawyer, Marapana was Minister for Law and Order from September 2015 to November 2015. He resigned from that post following an issue of conflict of interest.
Before he joined the government, he had represented the controversial Sea Marshals’ firm Avant Garde as a lawyer. After becoming Minister in charge of the police, he had to proceed against the firm. This conflicted with his view on the matter. Speaking in parliament, Marapana said that Avant Garde had not done nothing wrong and that those who were hauling it over the coals had no idea as to how a Sea Marshals company worked.
Between 2002 and 2004, in the previous government headed by Wickremesinghe, Marapana was Minister of Defense. But as a result of a conflict between the then Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over the peace process with the separatist Tamil Tigers, the President took over the Ministry of Defense, sacking Marapana.
Though sacked from the Defense Ministry, Marapana had the distinction of being the first, and to date, the only, Minister of Defense in Sri Lanka who was not also the country’s Prime Minister or President.
Later, he came back in the cabinet as Minister of Highways.
A member of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), Marapana was Sri Lanka’s Solicitor General and Attorney General when that party was in power earlier.
(The featured image above shows Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appointing Tilak Marapana as Foreign Minister)