We have previously reported about corruption taking place in granting tenders for projects by the education ministry and other government ministries and institutions. This is yet another instance, which is about awarding a tender to install computers and CCTV cameras at Lanka Sathosa.
The most absurd thing of all in this is that the tender has been awarded to a company that is without any experience or expertise in the subject. Since the day the present regime took over, top officials appointed to Lanka Sathosa made various changes, not to develop the institution, but to get more money pocketed as commissions.
New computer network
One decision is to install a new computer system and CCTV cameras for its branches countrywide, despite the existing computer system operating smoothly. When tenders were called, many known and experienced companies placed bids. However, the management ignored them all and awarded the tender to Softwatch that was facing closure due to inefficiency.
Who owns it?
The other bidders raised the matter with the management, but to no avail. Softwatch is owned by wealthy businessman Rajan, whose main trade is to import rice. He has amassed wealth by importing rice during times of rice shortages in the country. He has created links with top officials of Lanka Sathosa and through them secured this tender.
The computer and CCTV systems were installed on a decision by the IT head and the management. However, the branches island wide began to complain about the systems. Softwatch is without personnel experienced in maintaining the installed systems.
Complaints covered up
Instead of investigating the complaints, the management stopped the complaints from coming. Softwatch has used very cheap equipment for the systems. Rajan is throwing money at the management level officers in order to cover up the fraud. Such incidents will only speed up the collapse of state institutions and their getting distanced from the public.
The secretary to the ministry in charge of Lanka Sathosa has taken no remedial measures, leading to the question as to whether he too, is part of that corrupt officialdom. What will happen to the trust placed in the Yahapaalana government that came to power with a promise to eliminate fraud and corruption, if one of its institutions is being dictated to by a rice trader and its officials are bent on earning commissions from tender deals?