Secretary General of Parliament says Rs.1.2 mn fine imposed on service provider
Responding to front-page news item captioned ‘Vasu demands accountability in House over sound conference system contract,’ on May 10 issue, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulegoda says a fine of Rs. 1.2 mn had been imposed on the service provider for failure on its part to adhere to the agreement.
The Secretary General told The Island that the Parliament had withheld the payment pending the conclusion of the inquiry. The official said that there was provision for the contractor to appeal against the fine.
Asked whether the Parliament was committed to inquire into charges of irregularities, waste and corruption, Kitulegoda said the parliament wouldn’t turn a blind eye to allegations. He confirmed that Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa had received a complaint from Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara last week regarding the installation of sound conference system in Committee Room I.
Political sources said that parliament, too, should be subject to the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
Minister Nanayakkara had the backing of a section of the House though some weren’t happy about the investigation, sources said adding that Nanayakkara had called for investigations into questionable transactions.
A new sound system had to be installed due to last year’s flooding of Parliament. Although some believed the damaged system could be restored, the parliament decided to go for a new system at a cost of Rs. 13.3 million. Asked whether the supplier had met the required criterion, sources said that the selected company and another firm were qualified. In spite of a Rs. 4 million difference in the contract price between them, the parliament had chosen the higher bidder, sources said. An alleged attempt had been made to protect the contractor when he failed to complete the job by Dec 31, 2010 and was ordered to pay a Rs. 1.2 million fine
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