President of the Academy of Health Professionals Ravi Kumudesh divulged a number of irregularities and corporate violations surrounding the PCR Laboratory established in Mulleriyawa by the debts obtained from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a statement today (18).
Laying down the discoveries the Academy of Health Professionals urged the government to conduct an immediate probe into the matter and penalise everyone responsible for destabilising the country.
A. Nearly Rs. 100 million out of Rs. 250 million the expressed funds has been spent for the building of the Mulleriyawa Laboratory itself, in contradiction to the standards, whereas less than Rs. 10 million is required to such a construction. Up to Rs. 140 million thus has been spent on the supply of equipment and reagents, while Rs. 90 million has been spent on PCR kits, with an equipment cost of about Rs. 50 million.
B. Beijing Genomic Institute, the Parent Company that supplied the equipment, is a global leader in molecular genetics. Following much deliberation by a local agent, appointed by HSEP upon the completion of direct purchases and selected upon the Ministry of Health’s failure to deliver engineers from the Parent Company to set up the HSEP laboratory, the price of PCR kits has been slashed by more than 50 per cent. By doing so, the ADB Agent and the Director HSEP have lost the ability to receive commissions.
C. The Local Agent has emphasised the need to meet the requirements of the laboratory building infrastructure as per the recommendations of the Parent Company, as well as the poor sanitary and rest facilities provided to the laboratory staff who had been put under intense pressure to handle a large number of ‘high-risk’ samples. It should be specifically noted that these staff members have been performing an extremely difficult task by handling such high-risk samples wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) for lengthy periods.
D. HSEP has left a substandard building in the hands of the Director and staff of the Mulleriyawa PCR Laboratory, forcing them to perform 4,000 tests in a laboratory originally designed for only 500 tests (noteworthy that the contract is signed for a 500 test capacity only) as if a miracle could be performed with limited resources.
E. The Director HSEP has invited top ADB officials from Japan to visit the laboratory and take smiling photos with the ‘threatened’ staff, forcing them not to spit a word about how they were being treated to the visiting delegation, in what can only be defined as rather a malicious and criminal act.
F. These events indicate how cunningly and blindly even the professionals, who pretend to be ADB’s so-called transparent activists, are working, disgracing the name of the ADB, which advocates so much for human rights and social well-being.
G. In the event that the Local Agent pointed out all the above shortcomings and anomalies to the HSEP, the angered Director HSEP, in collaboration with the ADB designated engineer in charge of the laboratory building infrastructure, has created faulty circuits and furniture and sabotaged the process, making the Local Agent vulnerable to perform any smooth action and leaving him no option but to bow to the HSEP’s bidding.
H. Through the actions of the Director HSEP, it is clear that his intention was that they pay all the dues to the main supplier at the time of the initial purchase and reduce the price of the PCR kit by more than half the original price, punishing the Local Agent for failing to meet their required commissions and saving the national wealth by not paying their freight costs.
I. In the event that the HSEP failed to meet its commission, the Director HSEP who signed the “Negotiation Minute” and appointed the Local Agent has threatened to forcibly remove the Local Agent by the HSEP itself.
J. The Local Agent Company, which is a leading consulting firm registered in Sri Lanka, has completed a number of projects with other countries despite its limited experience in Sri Lanka.
The local agency, which is primarily a consulting firm registered in Sri Lanka, has completed a number of projects with other countries despite its limited experience in Sri Lanka. The Parent Company had fully supported the work in Mulleriyawa, along with the poor laboratory infrastructure provided by and the valuable training sessions (offered by the Parent Company) discarded by the HSEP.
The Director HSEP’s selfish and vengeful conduct against the local agent and the Health Secretary’s failure to avert such corporate violations have driven the laboratory professionals and their affiliations in Sri Lanka to lose many opportunities in the field.