Harsha de Silva

From TobaccoUnmasked


Harsha de Silva is a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament since 2010.[1][2]. He was educated at the Royal College, Colombo and completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Truman State University, USA and the University of Missouri, USA respectively. He holds a PhD in Economics.[3][4]. He is identified as an ‘entrepreneur’ and also has served as a visiting faculty member at the Universities of Sri Jayawardenepura and Moratuwa, two state universities in Sri Lanka.[4] He represents the United National Party (UNP), one of the two prominent political parties in Sri Lanka and the ruling political party from 2015 to 2019.[2][1]

Image 1: Harsha de Silva

Political/Government positions held

  • Member of the parliament (2010-Present)[3]
  • Spokesperson for economic affairs for the then opposition, the United National Party (UNP)[4]
  • Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development (January 2015-August 2015) [1]
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 2015-May 2017)[4]
  • State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs (February 2018-October 2018)[2]
  • Non Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution (December 2018-Present)[2]

Other positions held

  • Chief economist and treasurer of DFCC Bank (1995-1997) [4][5]
  • Co-founder of the market and social research agency, Nielsen Lanka (1997-2000)[4][5]
  • Consultant for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (2004)[4][5]
  • Consultant for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB)[4][5]
  • Visiting lecturer at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura in Sri Lanka (1995-2000)[4][5]
  • Visiting lecturer at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka (2005)[4][5]

Links to the Tobacco Industry

In a television discussion held on 2015, Harsha de Silva was accused by a viewer for having connections with the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary holding monopoly for cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka. He did not refuse the accusation although he did not confirm it.[6]

Pepper Cube

In 2010 Harsha de Silva cofounded Pepper Cube Consulting agency as an investor.[1]

Pepper Cube, located on Fairfield Gardens, Colombo 08, is a “research and consultancy company” according to their website. Initiated as “Corporate Solutions” in 2009, the name was changed to “Pepper Cube Consultants” in 2010.[7] As per the details reported in the website in 2019, Atheek Marikar was the Managing Director and Udayana Seneviratna was the Director of the Company.[7] Pepper Cube lists the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) as a "key client" in their website updated in 2013 (Image 2).[8]

Image 2: Pepper Cube has listed Ceylon Tobacco Company as a client.[8]

In 2018 a news website called Lanka Web News reported that the UNP paid “millions of rupees” to Pepper Cube through Harsha de Silva to conduct surveys prior to the elections.[9]During a television interview in 2015 Harsha de Silva stated he started a research and consultancy agency and later sold that to Neilsen Company due to personal issues.[10] It is unclear whether his mentioning was related to Pepper Cube. Our multiple attempts to obtain a clarification from him on the issue were unsuccessful to date.

Tobacco Related Activities

Harsha de Silva attended the event League of Multinational Corporates (LMNC), a consortium by the multinational corporates in Sri Lanka on 28th September at The Blue, Hilton, Colombo (Image 3). LMNC is formed with seven multinational companies including Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC). For more details read the page League of Multinational Corporates (LMNC) [11].

Image 3: Dr. Harsha de Silva attending the event “League of Multinational Corporates (LMNC)”. Ceylon Tobacco Company and LMNC Chairman Michael Koest, Keynote speaker of the event Jim Lawless, Minister Sagala Ratnayake and Minister Harin Fernando are also in the picture.[11]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked pages:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 H. de Silva. Harsha de Silva/Biography of Dr. Harsha de Silva, 2015, accessed June 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Sri Lanka ParliamentMembers of parliament, 2019, accessed June 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 Manthree.lk. Harsha de Silva biography, Undated, accessed April 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Undated, accessed April 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Harsha de Silvade Silva Brief CVAugust 2007, Accessed date November 2019
  6. Derana TV. Discussion with Harsha de Silva, TobaccoUnmasked Archive, 05 February 2018, archived August 2018
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pepper Cube. Pepper Cube, 2013 accessed June 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 Pepper Cube. Key Clients, 2013, accessed June 2018
  9. Lanka web news. [1] 14 February 2018, accessed June 2018
  10. Sirasa TV. Ilakkaya Discussion with Dr. Harsha de Silva, TobaccoUnmasked Archive, archived on January 2019, accessed January 2019
  11. 11.0 11.1 Daily Mirror. League of Multi National Cooperates 01 October 2018, accessed October 2018