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Horrendous fraud by the government on the development of the North

EDITORIAL 

(October 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Our investigative news ‘Government awards contracts to commission paying contractors in the North’ (http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/09/government-awards-contracts-to.html) and ‘euroville given free hand by president’s brothers (http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/09/euroville-given-freehand-by-presidents.html) has attracted considerable interests from our readers.

The news exemplified the cursory and underhand intentions and the rogue agenda of the government that hyphens it’s never ending publicity of development work in the north by playing the game of stunts and propagation of falsehood.

Our news revealed the symptomatic agenda of the government to use its faithful media to bolster its scandalous agenda of development work in the north of Sri Lanka post defeat of the LTTE.

Appointing a high powered team headed by President’s brother Basil Rajapakse and awarding contracts through underhand methods to the Tamil paramilitary groups and their associates tells volumes of the mission of the government that is testing the intelligence of the Sri Lankans by expecting the people and the world that only what it says must be believed.

‘President Mahinda Rajapaksa by virtue of powers vested in him by Article 33 (f) of the Constitution of the Democratic, Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, appointed a 19- member Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province. It is mandated to prepare strategic plans, programs and projects to resettle internally displaced persons, rehabilitate and develop economic and social infrastructure of the Northern Province’ (quote).

‘The 19 member taskforce (not one Tamil in the committee) is chaired by President’s brother Basil Rajapaksa MP who is the Senior Presidential Advisor and the Essential Services Commissioner General S.B.Divarathne is the Secretary. Other members of the Task Force are, Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunge, Secretary, Defence, Public Security Law and Order and the brother of the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, (quote).

‘At the Jaffna District Development Council meeting held recently, at the District Secretariat, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapakse instructed all the departmental heads to work in tandem with the District Secretary and Divisional Secretaries in the ongoing process of de-mining, resettlement and development. 

‘Jaffna District Secretary Mrs. Imelda Sukumaran presented a detailed report on the de-mining, resettlement and development activities, implemented after the conclusion of the war. She also gave an account of the development activities planned for the coming months. The work plan included, road rehabilitation, highway reconstruction, bridge building, reconstruction and reopening of schools, paddy, vegetable, fruit and cash crop cultivation, upgrading standard of palmyrah products, and palmyrah development. The development plan also included a wide range of other activities deemed essential to take the peninsula on par with other developed areas.

‘Basil Rajapaksa, having observed the report, gave instructions to expedite the development process of the areas and took steps to provide the necessary financial allocations needed to complete the projects. He also promised to provide more funds in the event of the authorities ran short’ (The Island 29/10/10). 

We ask our readers to read the above references in conjunction with the authentic news we have published about the nefarious nature of the governments handing of the development work in the north.

The Minister Basil Rajapakse’s authoritarian decision making at the recent meeting does not refer to any long term sustainable programme of development in the north. Instead it is lopsided and ad hoc decision making and confirms how he is prepared to freely dish out funds at a stroke.

Further, there are recent cabinet decisions published in the media that the war torn north is acutely suffering from lack of skilled contractors and for many years the government has relied on a single contractor N Ramathasan and his Euroville Engineers and Constructors (PVT) Ltd to provide services at exorbitant contractual sums approved by the cabinet.

Our investigative reporter found the extent of the fraud embedded in the contracts awarded by the government to Euroville. Character of the Managing Director of Euroville N Ramathasan in all encompasses absolute fraud and deception in his service delivery. Government contracts have been awarded without proper free and fair bidding processes and Euroville have been the winner, as it is privy to insider information of the bidding process.

When enquired with N Ramathasan’s contacts and those who know wealth of information about Euroville, it is evident Euroville is special for the ministers concerned to siphon off commissions from the contractual sums awarded to the company. The abhorring practices of N Ramathasan have refrained competitors from submitting tenders. The Euroville is used as a wagon to fund the fraudulent commissions to the ministers and also for the clandestine activities of the paramilitary groups operating with the blessing of the government. The company is evidently a fraudulent fund transmitter to the rogues associated with the government.

The Euroville is allowed to exploit the war damaged properties in the north to ease its costs, in order to recoup its immoral payments to the ministers and the paramilitary groups. Without fear or scruples, stealing the valuable fittings from abandoned properties and illegally demolishing the war damaged buildings with the blessings of the government for the company’s building and development contract work, exposes the extent of the government in maintaining standards in its upbeat development work in the north.

It is further relalised, the government departments deliberately do not pay the small time contractors for the work they have done. The small time contractors in Jaffna have to visit the government office (Kachcheri) several times and put pressure for payments. A contractor said ‘it is frustrating indeed’. Many contractors have given up hope and also washed their hands off from doing government contracts.

The other hindrance the contractors face is Minister Douglas Devanand’s men in the Kachcheri demand large sums for a Trust registered in the name Ms Maheswary Velautham from the contractors for the release of funds. Ms Maheswary Velautham was Douglas’s legal and political secretary and was shot and killed by the LTTE few years ago.

Having failed the Tamil contractors, the government has started to engage the southern Sinhala contractors, under special terms to be paid on time in Colombo. This is seriously hampering the local economy, regeneration and empowering the people in the north.

Funds generated from the donors for the northern development work are plundered in the broad day light to fatten the purses of the ministers and the unscrupulous politicians, military men and the paramilitary groups.

N Ramanathan- a multi billionaire in rupee terms is living in luxuries with his illegal manoeuvrings, whilst the war ravaged civilians are finding it hard to meet their ends.

The arrogance of the government to involve in underhand dealings with questionable characters must be condemned downright and the government must be made to open its books on its rogue dealings in awarding contracts to these well established Commission Kaaka’s who are plundering the very basics of good economic development.

Having blatantly shut the door for the international NGO’s, development contractors and the free media, the government ministers have become the biggest commission Kaaka’s in the country. It is clear they are fattening their pursues by espousing the cause of the suffering Tamil people, thus causing further pain and sufferings for them.

Awarding contracts with the practice of special treatment to a corrupt contractor and justifying that there are not many contractors in Jaffna to do the work is unacceptable. Even if the assertion of the government is right, it should have found contractors from elsewhere, instead of exclusively relying on a corrupt Tamil contractor like N Ramathasan and his private limited company Euroville Engineers and Constructors (PVT) Ltd.

The information provided by our readers following the publication of the news further confirm massive racket being practiced in awarding contracts.

Amongst the comments received, one contractor from Jaffna said that he has given up tendering for any government projects, as the outcome will be forgone conclusion to award contracts to the henchmen of the government.

Our inquiries further reveal that the government is also engaging few questionable characters from the Tamil diaspora in the development work. One of them is a known fraudster according to news published in the media. Having swindled large sums of funds in his host country, he has taken the first flight to Sri Lanka following the defeat of the LTTE to make a kill from the ruins of the war. The man is on the spree to buy properties and is being patronised by the state by fast tracking BOI certificate to build hotels in the north. Though there is no first hand evidence of false money dealings, having known his reprehensible financial dealings overseas, suspicion is ripe that nothing will be clean. Sri Lanka Guardian will publish any information on wrong doings by these unscrupulous characters.

Minister Douglas Devananda’s financial empire is broadening ever since the defeat of the LTTE. With his shilly-shally dancing with the powerful Minister Basil Rajapakse, he is starching his wings in an unprecedented scale. His links with Euroville is a massive booster for him. His multitudes of businesses are unregistered, clandestine and are massive income generator for him.

Since his association with the rogue businessman Ramathasan, he has broadened his activities to acquire luxury buses overnight and ply between Colombo and Jaffna, thus heavily competing with the small time bus operators. From where he derived funds to acquire dozen of band new coaches and whether he is registered with the Sri Lanka’s Inland Revenue to disclose his income, profits, assets and liabilities will not be known easily.

The government is embroiled in the victory euphoria over the LTTE and preoccupied with the suppression of the dissenting voices and does not have the will or ability to take forward a well planned development programme.

Any structured programme is anathema for Rajapakse & Co., as they come with proper system, controls and accountability. Personalised agenda of Mahinda & Co., is the way forward and this is additionally strengthened with the recent 18th Amendment to the constitution that further empowers the President. Tell a Friend

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