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TISL files FR petition over Human Immunoglobulin & other controversial medical supplies

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Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) filed a Fundamental Rights Application (SCFR/ 99/2024) at the Supreme Court on April 16th, highlighting the serious ramifications on the health sector and the general public from the recent controversial procurement of medical supplies including human immunoglobulin (Human-IG).

The Cabinet of Ministers, the incumbent and former higher officials in the health sector, former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, the companies involved in the controversial supplies of Human-IG, Treasury Secretary, Auditor General, Director General of Customs, Inspector General of Police, Members and Director General of CIABOC and the Attorney General are among the 66 Respondents named in the Petition.

The FR application has been filed in the public interest, with the aim of seeking accountability for the misuse of public resources and the violation of fundamental rights of citizens.

The Petition requests the Court to declare that the purported decision of the Cabinet of Ministers and the health authorities to procure medical supplies from Isolez Biotech Pharma AG (Pvt) Ltd, Livealth BioPharma (Pvt) Ltd, Yaden International (Pvt) Ltd, Nandani Medical Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Divine Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Gulfic Biosciences Limited, Novachem Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Slim Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd   is wrongful, illegal, unlawful, null and void, and of no force or avail in law.

Arguing that the actions or inactions of the Respondents amount to an infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution, the Petitioners seek the intervention of the Court to review the issuance of Waivers of Registration in procuring medical supplies, and direct the Respondents to comply with the procedural safeguards imposed by law, regulations and rules to ensure transparency in procurement.

“It is evident that the alleged ‘emergency’ which prevailed in the healthcare sector was largely owing to mismanagement, giving rise to concerns as to whether such gross mismanagement is indicative of the machinations of individuals holding office in inter alia the Ministry of Health, who orchestrated the said emergency for ulterior motives,” the Petition states.

This Petition is filed in addition to TISL’s ongoing Petition (SCFR/65/2023), which was filed in February 2023, in view of the glaring malpractices and disregard for compliance with law when importing pharmaceuticals under the Indian Credit Line.

TISL, in its latest FR Application, requests the Court to direct the Auditor General to conduct a special inquiry into the decision to procure medical supplies from medical suppliers to whom Waivers of Registration had been issued, and compute the cost incurred by procuring medical supplies through them.

In addition, it requests the Court to direct the Attorney General (AG) to commence prosecution of persons identified to have obtained financial or other benefits through the procurement of medical supplies through the use of Waivers of Registration. It further requests the Court to direct the AG to recover the costs incurred to the State or the public, and seek compensation from the relevant parties mentioned in the Petition.

Meanwhile, Isolez Biotech Pharma AG (Pvt) Ltd and Livealth BioPharma (Pvt) Ltd are said to be owned by Sugath Janaka Fernando, the first suspect in the incident of supplying substandard Human-IG.

In addition, Yaden International (Pvt) Ltd is owned by Sashimal Dissanayake with its manufacturing operations carried out in Katunayake. (Mr. P. Dissanayake, a former chairman of the State Timber Corporation, who was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million, is Sashimal’s father.)

Slim Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd is headed by one Sumith Premaratne.

Nandani Medical Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Divine Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd, Gulfic Biosciences Limited and Novachem Lanka (Pvt) Ltd are all Indian companies.

(Excerpts : lankabusinessonline.com)

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India in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines

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India is in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines in the island nation.

The demand for graphite is steadily increasing, as it is the most common material used for anodes in lithium-ion and other batteries.

The Indian government had discussions with the government of Sri Lanka on acquiring graphite mines there, sources said.

(PTI)

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Karapitiya Hospital to be a National Hospital

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The Cabinet has approved the proposal to develop the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital as a National Hospital.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet briefing that took place today (May 23), Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardane said that this will be the third National Hospital in addition to the two National Hospitals in Colombo and Kandy.

The relevant Cabinet paper had been presented by Health Minister Ramesh Pathirana.

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36,900 power breakdowns due to inclement weather

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The Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last 3 days due to inclement weather, says Power and Energy Minister – Kanchana Wijesekera.

Taking to X, the minister notes that additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers.

If consumers are unable to repot power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, they can use the SMS option to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, use the CEB Care app or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk, he adds.

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