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Audit reveals Rs. 200m loss due to mismanagement in state entities

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Whether purchasing gunny sacks or constructing buildings, public entities are required to follow strict procedures to ensure taxpayer money is not wasted. But recklessness and mismanagement have resulted in a loss of almost Rs. 200 million, according to a recently-released audit report for 2021.

The State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company purchased unusable medical raw material, the University of Peradeniya made mathematical errors in the contract for elevator installation, and Litro Gas Lanka cancelled orders without obtaining a refund, are just a few of the instances contributing to the loss.

The audit report covers 160 entities’ procurements and projects in 2021 with a few long-term ones extending as far back as 2017.

The Rs. 200m does not, however, include losses due to violations in the bidding process itself, which was not exactly calculated in the audit, but likely amounts to hundreds of millions of rupees. In one case, a vaccination was purchased at 156 times the estimated price because only one company submitted a bid and the State Pharmaceutical Corporation failed to call for another round. In another instance, the Gem and Jewellery Authority overpaid Rs. 36 million for renting a building from the highest rather than lowest bidder.

Many entities displayed a blatant disregard for accountability by violating due process.

Bid requirements were changed mid-way, fewer people were appointed to technical evaluation committees than required, advance payments were made prematurely, product tests were not conducted, and indeed, in several instances a bidding process was simply not followed at all. Lakdiva Engineering Company (Pvt) Ltd, for example, did not call national bids for the procurement of spare parts worth Rs 571m for buses and garages.

Furthermore, by law, public corporations are required to prepare action plans, corporate plans, progress reports and procurement plans to ensure progress and prevent corruption. Nevertheless, the audit revealed that 21 institutions had not created procurement plans, while 19 had not formulated action plans, and a further 12 did not even have a budget for the audited year.

sundaytimes.lk
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff) 

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MP Ali Sabri Raheem released on bail (Update)

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Puttalam District MP Ali Sabry Raheem has been granted bail after being produced before the Puttalam Magistrate’s Court today (July 20).

The Puttalam Acting Magistrate has ordered the MP to be released on a surety bail of Rs. 200,000 and also to appear before court on 22 July.


(Previous News on 20th July, 2024 at 11:51am)

MP Ali Sabri arrested

Puttalam District MP Ali Sabri Raheem was arrested by Kalpitiya police earlier today (20). 

The parliamentarian, against whom a warrant had been issued recently, had appeared before the Kalpitiya Police this morning (20), after which he was arrested, police said.

Police said that he will be produced before the court today.

In March, the Puttalam District MP was suspended from Parliament for a period of one month, after a resolution proposing the suspension of Raheem from parliamentary proceedings was approved in the Parliament.

Raheem was embroiled in controversy last year after he was detained at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo along with a stock of undeclared gold and mobile phones.

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Teachers and principals to work to rule for two weeks starting Monday

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The Teacher-Principal Trade Union Alliance has announced that the work-to-rule campaign will begin for two weeks starting Monday, as previously decided.

The Alliance stated that this action is due to the failure of negotiations held yesterday (19), which included Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, Treasury officials, Public Service Commission officials, and others.

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105 killed in Bangladesh protests; nationwide curfew imposed

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At least 105 people have been killed in Bangladesh as police cracked down on unrelenting student-led protests against govt job quotas despite a ban on public gatherings.

The govt has decided to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy the army.

Earlier in the day, telecommunications were disrupted and television news channels went off the air.

Authorities had cut some mobile telephone services the previous day to try to quell the unrest. 

According to reports, police and security officials fired bullets and tear gas at protesters and banned all gatherings in the capital Dhaka. 

The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply this week, represent the biggest challenge to PM Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after the January polls.

The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces across the capital to lock down campuses and break up protests. 

On Wednesday, universities including the country’s largest suspended classes and closed dormitories, and on Friday police in Dhaka said they were banning all gatherings and demonstrations in the capital. 

According to foreign media, border guard officials fired at a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters who had gathered outside the head office of state-run Bangladesh Television, which was attacked on Thursday. 

The border guards shot at the crowd with rifles and sound grenades, while police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Bullets littered the streets, which were also marked by smears of blood. 

Internet services and mobile data were widely disrupted on Thursday night and remained down on Friday in the capital, Dhaka. 

Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp were also not loading. A statement from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said they were unable to ensure service after their data center was attacked by demonstrators, who set fire to equipment. 

Student protesters said they will extend their calls to impose a shutdown on Friday, and urged mosques to hold funeral prayers for those who have been killed.

Source: Times Of India

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