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3000% difference between estimated & purchased prices when purchasing animals – COPA

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During the period from 2018 to 2020, the Committee on Public Accounts disclosed that although the estimated amount for some birds was around 50000 rupees, they were purchased for around 1.5 million rupees. Thus, it was disclosed that the amount purchased is about 3000% more than the estimated amount.

In this procurement, due to the condition that the supplier should supply 32 types of birds, the Committee drew attention to the loss of nearly 17 million rupees as the birds had to be purchased at higher price.

This was disclosed at the Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna in Parliament as the Committee met on 05.07.2023 to examine the Auditor General’s report and current performance of the Department of National Zoological Gardens.

The Committee emphasized that it was problematic to have such a large difference between the estimated cost and the actual cost of this purchase. The Committee questioned at length why there was such a high gap between the estimated cost and the actual cost given that the department has an understanding of the subject and the market context. Therefore, the COPA Chair emphasized that a report should be given on this and an internal circular should be issued in future emphasizing the need for an accurate assessment.

The Committee emphasized the need for an urgent amendment to the Act as matters including the incorporation of the new zoological parks in to the Act.

COPA Chair directed to complete the work within the next month post coordination with the Compilation Department and submit a report on this before August 5th, 2023.

The need for proper classification of the income of the Zoological Department was pointed out at the Committee meeting held. Accordingly, the Auditor General instructed that the income from tickets and other activities should be presented separately.

As it is observed that there is no proper program for the conservation of endangered animals, the Committee Chair informed that the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Department of National Zoological Gardens should jointly appoint a committee and prepare a program. The need to regularly update the information on endangered animals in the country as per the IUCN Red Data Book was also pointed out. Accordingly, it was emphasized that a comprehensive national survey should be conducted in this regard.

Attention was drawn to the issues at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Wagolla Pinnawala Zoo and Ridiyagama Safari Park. Out of 900 animals in the Ridiyagama Safari Park, 485 animals were either male or female and were not identified. It was revealed that more than 300 of these animals are star tortoises brought from India and are under the custody of the zoo until the case is over. Moreover, the Committee Chair instructed to fill vacancies as soon as possible as there is only one vet in this safari park.

Moreover, since the institute does not have a proper strategic plan, he also instructed to prepare a new plan for the year 2024-2030 and complete its work by December 31 of this year.

Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition was present on permission of the Committee. Sate Minister Diana Gamage, Hon. Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, Hon. Kader Mastan, Members of Parliament Hon. Ashok Abeysinghe, Hon. Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Hon. Niroshan Perera, Hon. J. C. Alawathuwala, Hon. Hector Appuhamy, Hon. Jayantha Ketagoda, Hon. Isuru Dodangoda, Hon. (Dr.) Major Pradeep Undugoda, Hon. Weerasumana Weerasinghe and Hon. (Dr.) (Ms.) Harini Amarasuriya were present at the Committee meeting held.

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Notice on rebuilding or compensating housing damaged by bad weather

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Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka, announced that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed to take the necessary measures to either rebuild or provide compensation, subject to a maximum limit, for houses that were completely damaged by the recent adverse weather conditions.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka also stated that measures will be implemented to assess the damage and provide compensation, subject to a specified maximum limit, for the repair of partially damaged houses.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka shared these views during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (20), concerning the rebuilding of houses fully and partially damaged by recent adverse weather conditions.

The discussion extensively covered the reconstruction of houses affected by natural calamities such as strong winds, floods and landslides, which have impacted various parts of the country in recent days. The provision of suitable compensation, subject to a maximum limit, was also deliberated.

To ensure appropriate compensation within specified limits, for fully damaged houses upon agreement with beneficiaries, and prompt construction of such houses with the assistance of the Armed Forces. Additionally, the assessment and repair of partially damaged houses, with compensation also subject to a specified maximum limit, were discussed.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka also directed District Secretaries to submit formal reports on houses fully and partially damaged by natural calamities.

In attendance at the discussion were State Minister of Defence Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, the three commanders of the armed forces, and heads of relevant line Institutions. Participating remotely were District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries via online technology.

(President’s Media Division)

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Piyumi’s income generated from Lollia Skin Care – CID

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has initiated a thorough investigation regarding a beauty products manufacturing company named Lollia Skin Care (Pvt) Ltd, which is said to be the main source of income of model Piyumi Hansamali, who is under investigation for her assets.

It was informed to the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday by the Illegal Assets Investigation Division of the CID. This company has been registered under the Business Registration Number PV00256805.

According to the CID, the investigation will be focused on businesses carried out by this company, taxes paid and also the imports and exports carried out by the company.

The Illegal Assets Investigation Division of the CID on Wednesday (19) informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that an investigation was initiated regarding the purchase of a Range Rover Jeep for Rs.78 million, the purchase of a house from Grand Housing Complex in Colombo 7 for Rs.148 million and maintaining 20 bank accounts with suspicious transactions by Piyumi Hansamali. It has been revealed that these 20 accounts have been opened in relation to the National Identity Card numbers of her and people closely associating the model.

The investigations were based on a complaint lodged by President of the ‘Magen Ratata’ organization Sanjaya Mahawatta under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

(dailynews.lk)
(This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Dharma Rashmi Homagama Poson Zone to commence today

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The Dharma Rashmi Homagama Poson Zone annually held to coincide with the Poson Poya will be held from June 21 – 23.

This year, the Poson Zone spans across 13 kilometres covering Diyagama, Pitipana, Dampe, Meegoda, Godagama, Panagoda and Homagama.

The event is jointly organized by the Homagama Sasanarakshaka Bala Mandalaya, the Presidential Secretariat, the Transport and Highways Ministry, the Western Provincial Council, the Homagama Divisional Secretariat, Homagama Pradeshiya Sabha, the Homagama Zonal Education office, the Army and the Police.

Cash prizes to the value of Rs. 4 million will be given to the winners of the Poson Lantern competition.

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