Grama Seva officers yet to be given tabs as per budget proposal
The 2017 budget (supplementary estimate) proposed to provide 2-in-1 tabs for all Grama Seva officers. Through an advertisement on the 25 August 2017 issue of Daily News, bids were invited to supply the tabs. However, reports reaching Lanka News Web say the authoritarian decisions by officials of the Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ministry are taking the procurement in the wrong track.
In violation of all state procurement regulations, the lowest bidders have been ignored and a company that made a high bid has been given the tender in order for the officials to pocket something for themselves out of it. A pre-bid meeting was held on 08 September 2017, led by ministry secretary Wasantha Deshapriya and also attended by ministry and ICTA officials. On September 21, six bids were opened. The lowest was Rs. 683 million, followed by Rs .731 m, and the highest was Rs. 854 m.
 
Normally, a technical evaluation committee evaluates the bids to find out if the bidders are qualified to be selected to supply the intended item. The tender board and the technical evaluation committee should act in a manner that ensures that the public money is spent properly without any wastage. Within 14 days of the submission of the bids, the ministry secretary informed all bidders that V S Information Systems has been chosen, and to submit any objections to the presidential appeal board. Accordingly, one bidder made an appeal, which was taken up by a three-member committee on October 27. Deshapriya, two members of the technical evaluation committee and the appellant participated. 
 
It is now 79 days since that inquiry. But, nothing is yet known about the outcome. Also, the project has come to a standstill. Had the authorities acted properly, the Grama Seva officers should have had their tabs with them by now. There is evidence that the tender board and technical evaluation committee members have close connections with V S Information Systems. In the picture given below, ministry secretary Deshapriya is posing with Kasun Warnakulasuriya of EZY, which supplies computers for V S Information Systems. Also, ICTA has close connections with EZY. The other pictures were taken by their employees in Los Angeles.
 
No state official has any right to misuse public money in this manner. The result is that the tabs due for Grama Seva officers are yet to be given to them.
 
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