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SL Tourism promotion Global campaign delays amidst tender forgery 

The launch of Sri Lanka’s long-awaited global tourism advertising campaign is still being determined due to a controversy involving the alleged forging of bid documents by officials of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). 

It’s reported that a group of officials forged bid documents favouring one company out of two during an international tender. The Tourism Ministry is investigating the matter, and the officials involved have been temporarily transferred pending the completion of the investigation. 

The delay in launching the campaign, anticipated by the tourism industry, is seen as a significant loss to the country’s tourism sector. The campaign aims to attract more tourists and increase arrivals from various countries.

Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry has already instigated a comprehensive investigation into recent procumbent forgery allegedly involving several top officials of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).  

Tourism Ministry Secretary Buwaneka Herath said the investigations into the alleged tampering of bid documents by officials over two key multi-million rupee procurement exercises is still ongoing.

 “As the investigations are ongoing, I cannot comment on the matter further,” he told journalists this week. 

The matter has now forced Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) to float fresh tenders. The initial inquiry has revealed a deliberate effort by the accused officials to alter a bid by substituting documents in favour of a party over another during the international tender.

Six SLTPB officials including Managing Director, Director Finance, Director PR and Assistant Director Procurement have been transferred to the Ministry.

Alleged offence in tender for PR had been exposed when the Committee responsible for Digital Marketing procurement was debating the final awarding.

 A bid clause which was flagged off in favour of one of the two short-listed was found to have been overlooked in the finalised tender for PR, prompting the Ministry to direct SLTPB to call for fresh tenders for both initiatives.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said if the offences are found serious the case will be handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Responding to concerns about the integrity of the procurement process, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Priantha Fernando reassured that corrective action had been taken. 

“Although attempts were made to tamper with bid documents by SLTPB officials, the tender was not awarded and it was detected well in time and action was taken. It would have been worse if it took place, but it was stopped at the correct time averting severe setbacks,” he added.

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