Apr 01, 2017

RDA crooks continue robbing even under good governance Featured

Information regarding a group engaging in misappropriation of public funds during the implementation of roads and highways projects during the Rajapaksa era with the assistance of the political administrators has been received by the Presidential Secretariat, weekend publication - 'Sath Handa' reports, quoting an official.

According to the petition received, the same rogues are engaged in large scale fraud and misappropriation of funds with the aid of certain ministers in the present government.

During the previous regime Mahinda Rajapaksa was also the subject minister for road development and the Road Development Authority Chairman was R.W.R. Premasiri.

The Director in charge of the Southern expressway was R.M. Gamini.

The 'Sath Handa' further reports as follows :

Misappropriation of State funds:

Allegations of fraud have been levelled against these officials and the political leadership while it is stated that they had engaged in misappropriation of state funds with the collaboration of the Chinese contractors and other advisory companies.

In the petition sent to the President, a group of engineers had alleged that the Senior Project Director R.M. Gamini is engaged in large scale misappropriation of State funds through the Southern expressway project together with the current Highways Minister in the same manner as it was done during the previous regime.

Reducing the cost by 123 billion:

The Engineers further pointed out that when the cost of the Matara-Mattala expressway construction can be reduced by Rs. 123 billion, entrusting the project to the same Chinese contractor as the previous government at Rs. 242 billion and allocation of Rs. 12 billion to Chinese firms as consultancy charges, the exorbitant fraud being committed previously is still taking place.

During the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime R. M. Gamini functioned as the Project Director of the Southern expressway.

Under the recommendation of the Chairman of the RDA, Gamini had appointed four Project Directors for the four stages of the Matara – Mattala expressway project on January 16, 2016.

Under his advice 30 Chinese Consultants were appointed for consultancy services for the four segments of the expressway from Matara to Mattala. Eighty four representatives from local companies are also included in this project.

Ranil issues order to Kabir:

However subsequent to the good governance regime assuming power, orders were issued to  subject Minister Kabir Hashim to investigate the alleged fraud that had taken place during the previous regime. Accordingly, a four member committee was appointed.

A committee including the Finance Ministry Secretary and RDA Chairman was appointed and an expert in this field M.B.S Fernando was entrusted with the task of investigating the allegations and formulating a report.

According to the report, the engineers had pointed out that the consultancy charges could be reduced by Rs. 2.8 billion but it is very surprising that having being shown that the consultancy charges could be reduced, under the current regime Rs. 12 billion has been spent on consultancy.

Chinese Consultants unqualified – fraudulent visa!

Although there are many criteria that has to be fulfilled in providing consultancy services, the Chinese Nationals employed for consultancy services for the project have not met any of the requirements.

The majority of them have arrived in the country on tourist visas.

Many of these Chinese nationals are not even capable of reading the project plans and they were caught on camera dozing off during the day when they should be actively engaged in the project supervision. 'Sath Handa' possesses video footage of these Chinese Consultants idling on the job.

With the approval of the Finance Ministry

We inquired from the Senior Project Director of the Matara – Mattala expressway project, R.M. Gamini regarding the discrepancies pertaining to the project.

When asked from him, “Why are you paying unqualified Chinese nationals who come to this country on tourist visas to obtain consultancy services, while they are sleeping on the job?”

He replied; “That is not decided by me. There are four project directors and I act upon their recommendations.”

Q : “But, you cannot escape from this as it is your responsibility. This is a grave crime and a huge waste of public funds. Do you endorse such wastage?”

Gamini: “I complained about this to the officials of the previous government too and have written to the Director General as well. We were against fraud during the previous regime too. We cannot talk about this in this manner. Come to my office.”

Q : “I am asking you whether this political administration knows of the corruption that took place during the previous regime.”

Gamini: “Here, I don’t know all this happens with the approval of the Finance Ministry.”

Q : “We are accusing you of conniving with certain ministers of this regime too and continuing the corrupt activities that were carried out during the previous regime.”
Gamini: “we can’t talk about this issue in this manner. Come to my office and I will divulge all the details.”

(Sath Handa)