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



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.


Motion approved to remove MP Ali Sabri Raheem from Parliamentary committees




A motion to remove MP Ali Sabri Raheem from all Parliamentary Committees was approved by the House a short while ago.  

The motion which was moved by Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa was unanimously approved by the House.

MP Raheen was caught trying to smuggle gold and smartphones in May this year.


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Party leaders call for removal of MP Ali Sabri Raheem

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Rocky successfully carries out ‘call termination’ racket




Local phone service providers including Telecom and Mobitel as well as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) are losing a colossal amount of revenue due to a ‘call termination’ racket operating in Sri Lanka, it was reported.

Agencies conducting investigations into the matter have received information that one such racketeer earns as much as Rs.02 – 05 million per day.

It was reported that these racketeers earn this amount by redirecting over 100,000 minutes of IDD calls in a single day.

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC is equipped with the technology to detect this kind of call termination scams and has also set up a separate unit called the ‘Fraud Management Unit’ solely for this purpose.

This unit, which is currently operating under the networking division, is said to have been well-functioning when it was under the financial division.

Senior officials reportedly shirked from launching investigations into these racketeers by citing the arrival of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, IMO, Viber and Messenger as the reason for these daily revenue losses.

Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that the racket is currently being largely operated by an individual named ‘Rocky’ who is originally from Gampola and has now settled in Colombo.

Investigations revealed that Rocky is pretending to be an UK national and uses a phone number registered in England.

Apart from this, he is also said to be involved in Undiyal transactions.

He has been arrested by the police in connection with this fraud on a previous occasion as well.

According to security forces, those involved in this racket continue to do so again even after being reprimanded, as the relevant fine is as low as Rs.10,000.

Security forces also note that since such racketeers also support terrorist activities, questioning them under detention orders would enable them to weed out this racket altogether.

Heads of mobile phone service providers allege that the arrest of such traffickers keep getting delayed due to the lukewarm reaction by the investigation departments.

Meanwhile, former chairpersons of service providers, former cricket players and former presidential secretaries have also been accused by the media of being involved in this racket.

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Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn




The Walasmulla Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a Beedi businessman was kidnapped and assaulted before forcefully taking Rs.1 million from him.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26. A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Unit had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

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