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TISL flags Rs. 40 m in Govt. pilfering 

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By Madushka Balasuriya

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has flagged over Rs. 40 million in misappropriated public funds in a filing at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) in Colombo yesterday.

The move is the latest by the organisation, under its Programme for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) and Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC), to utilise the Right to Information (RTI) Act in holding state officials accountable for their actions.

The first complaint was in relation to the World Bank-funded North East Local Services and Infrastructure Project (NELSIP), which aims to “improve the delivery of local infrastructure services by local authorities in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka in an accountable and responsive manner”, where a planning engineer is alleged to have colluded with contractors to swindle millions of rupees.

“According to the attached report by the committee appointed by the Northern Provincial Council to investigate the corruption and misappropriation of funds under NELSIP, it has been alleged that a sum of Rs. 4.34 million has been misappropriated by an Engineer - Planning, in collusion with the contractors during the period 2013 to 2015,” stated a letter filed by TISL, which was submitted alongside several supporting documents procured via RTI request. The second complaint was with regard to allegations of misappropriation by officials at the Provincial Road Development Authority in the North Central Province, amounting to Rs. 37.5 million.

“We have obtained a number of letters dated between 2012 and 2016 concerning a large sum of public funds allocated for road construction, which has been allegedly misappropriated by the officers of the authority. According to the General Manager of the Provincial Road Development Authority, the total sum misappropriated is in excess of Rs. 37.5 million,” the letter stated.

“No action has been taken to recover the amounts despite two officers being suspended. The present General Manager has also complained that he has faced severe threats due to the disclosure of this misappropriation. There are also documents from the Auditor General’s Department Audit query, which confirms that the loss has been caused through irregularities which need to be recovered from the individuals concerned.”

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