As exposed by us previously, top officials of the Education Ministry have conspired to grant the tender to provide GCE advanced level students with tabs to Metropolitan company in order for personal gains.
For that, the additional secretary (procurement and construction) of the ministry and the chairman of the technical committee got together and prepared an evaluation report to the advantage of that company. At the procurement committee meeting to discuss that recommendation, despite attempts by the chairman, the committee said that since that company’s bid price was very high, discussions should be held with that company to get the prices reduced. The additional secretary did that and the company brought down the price from Rs. 7.4 billion to Rs. 6.8 billion. But, that was not at the level expected by them. It is a violation of tender procedures to discuss with only one bidder to get the bid price reduced.
In the meantime, another company that made a Rs. 5.5 billion bid and produced fake certificates for a certain accessory of the tab, instead of the FCC certificate requested by the technical committee chairman, came forward to fish in the troubled waters by bribing the minister and the chairman. The result was that on the minister’s instruction, the chairman and another technical committee member, a lecturer of Colombo University, got to work. The chairman held another meeting with the members and tried to convince them that the FFC certificate produced by another bidder, Abans which was removed at the technical evaluation, was a genuine one. That left other members surprised. They suspected his attempt to change their previous decision, and carefully observed the certificate together with the samples given to the ministry. They found them to be incorrect and contradictory. Therefore, they rejected the chairman’s request and decided their previous decision be implemented. Ashamed, the chairman had to accept their decision, and the attempt by him and the minister failed.
Recently, the procurement committee met to take a final decision, where the chairman made a lengthy speech justifying his decision. Following arguments, the committee decided to grant the tender to Metropolitan, whose bid was Rs. 3.2 billion higher than the lowest bid. Anyone closely watching the procurement procedure will understand that the officials tried to swindle public money, with political backing by the minister, additional secretary, technical committee chairman and the secretary of the education state ministry who was the overall coordinator.
This government came to power on the promise of eliminating fraud and corruption, but responsible officials are planning a massive swindling while the ministry secretary keeps silent, giving rise to suspicion that he too, is party to the conspiracy.
As we said previously, the additional secretary Anuradha Wijekoon, when he was at the Department of Motor Traffic, gave all its tenders to Metropolitan. Now, at the Education Ministry, he is trying to do the same. By citing a certificate applicable only to the USA, they are trying to swindle Rs. 3.2 billion of public money allotted for the education of the country’s children. The expression of interest letter awarding the tender to Metropolitan is given below.
We are ready to accommodate, if additional secretary Anuradha Wijekoon has anything to say about this.