Jun 19, 2019

Akila before Presidential Commission – TAB purchase delayed by a week Featured

Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has been summoned before the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the corruption and fraud committed in the state institutions over the past four years, over the purchase of Tabs for A/L students and teachers which is alleged to have been done flouting proper tender procurement procedures.

The complaint has been lodged by the Employed Graduates Association.

Based on their complaint, the Senior Assistant Director Mahesh Hewawitharana had been summoned before the commission on May 15th.

According to the complaint the Education Minister and several others had received commissions through the Suraksha insurance scheme introduced for school children and that an additional Rs. 156 million had been spent to print four additional pages to the text books including the picture of Minister Kariyawasam.

The Presidential commission is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne and Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha had also been called to give evidence.

President inquires how all students could be given Tabs under a pilot project

While approval has been granted to provide Tabs to A/L students in government schools free of charge as a pilot project, President Maithripala Sirisena expressed disgruntlement over the actions of the Education Minister to provide Tabs to all A/L students of all national schools, during the Cabinet meeting held yesterday (18).

The President asked how the whole programme could be implanted if it is a pilot project. He postponed the discussion regarding the Tabs for next week.

The President pointed out that at a time when all state institution expenses are being slashed by 15%, it is problematic to spend Rs. 2275 million for the provision of these Tabs.

The President expressed his views regarding this issue in reference to the proposal presented by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam on February 12th seeking approval for the purchase of tabs for 189,000 students.

The Cabinet meeting took place yesterday around 9.30 under the patronage of the President after the lapse of two weeks.

According to Kariyawasam’s proposal, the tabs are to be purchased from Abans who had bid for the supply of the tabs in the second round.

Earlier it was agreed to purchase the Tabs at Rs. 27,000 per unit, but due to the rising dollar and the market price increase, the tabs will now cost Rs. 31,946 per unit without taxes.