Corruption rampant in Gem & Jewellery Research Institute
The Gem and Jewellery Research & Training Institute in Ratnapura is facing a grave crisis as a result of grave corruption and malpractices, alleges the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya.
Addressing a press conference organised by the Coalition against Corruption (CAC), Buddika Gunarathna treasure of the branch of Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya said the director-general of the Institute responsible for this state of affairs.
It was pointed out that a power auger drilling machine bought at a cost of 13 million rupees in 2007 at the sole discretion of the director-general has been lying idle and allowed to deteriorate. The Institute pays 150,000 rupees as annual insurance premium to date. The machine manufactured in India which is just stacked in an enclosure without being used, has been bought through a company called Trident. The company has since closed down and it will not be possible to obtain spare parts, in case a need arises.
It was further alleged that it was the director-general himself who went on a week’s training course on the use of the machine. Although it was claimed that it was a brand new machine, once it arrived several persons said that it was a reconditioned one. The Society claimed that the director-general had collected a sizeable e commission from this deal.
Alleging that the director-general is planning to shift the office to Maharagama paying a monthly rent of Rs 400,000 whereas the present rent is only Rs 110,000, the Society claimed that the proposed building is in a congested area and the environment is not suitable either for use as an office or for training.
Another deal that is being talked about is the purchase of a machine to heat ‘geuda’ sapphires at a cost of six million rupees.
The Society listed out a series of malpractices which are punishable offences under clause 31:1:7 under the Establishment Code. These include:
- Although a payment was made to a printing press belonging to a person known to the DG at Pannipitiya for the printing of 75,000 handbills, the job was not done.
- Submitting a false receipt drawn by the DG himself and obtaining Rs 37,500 for a three-day stay at the Palali army camp.
- Claiming nearly Rs 60,000 through false declaration that he is an external advisor of the Colombo training centre.
- Getting the drivers to record false mileages for official travelling.
It was also alleged that although around Rs 400,000 is being spent on looking for sources of gems in the Buttala area, no proper research has been undertaken. However, the DG and persons known to him are paid allowances. Although no tangible results have been shown over a period of over two years, a monthly rent of Rs 30,000 is paid for a house rented in Buttala for the project.
Saman Rathanpriya and Thilak Kariyawasam convenors of the CAC, Joshep Stalin and R.S.Nandala also spoke at the conference.
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