Grenade lobbed into newspaper office
A grenade lobbed into the Upali Newspaper premises yesterday morning was
defused by the Bomb squad after being detected by an employee.
The police suspect that the grenade may have been thrown over the wall,
which runs parallel to the Divaina editorial, Sunday Island News Editor
Suresh Perera said.
"One of the employees had seen it around 8 a.m. and informed the security
who in turn alerted the Kotahena police," Mr. Perera said.
The live grenade, which failed to explode was later defused by the bomb
squad. Adjoining the wall from where the grenade is suspected to have been
thrown is a rest room used by minor employees.
The news editor said they were unable to determine the motive behind
the attack or the persons involved.
Recently the PA's Colombo Central candidate Mervyn Silva stormed the
Divaina office to protest against a story published in the Divaina. After
the incident, the newspaper group has sought police protection, but there
has been no positive response.
SPMC a corrupt den, says former boss
State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation Chairman Nihal Kiriella
-who was sacked by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on Thursday-has
pledged that the setback would not deter him from his quest to provide
safe, effective and good quality medical drugs to the people at the lowest
Mr. Kiriella's removal has plunged the SPMC into something like an epileptic
fit amidst signs that a top officer who was interdicted by Mr. Kiriella
some months ago on corruption charges might be brought back to the corporation.
Mr. Kiriella, a top banker, who was invited by former Health Minister John
Seneviratne to take over the SPMC in November last year, said he was sick
of the widespread treachery and disgusting frauds in the corporation.
He told The Sunday Times he believed that his removal was directly linked
to his fight to stop corruption by top bureaucrats in the corporation.
Last week, in the wake of a row over a Rs. 9.3 million tender for the
import of raw material required for an epilepsy drug, Mr. Kiriella had
been asked to resign by Minister de Silva. But a day later, Mr. Kiriella
withdrew his resignation. After a tense standoff for a week, Minister de
Silva on Thursday fired out a tough letter to Mr. Kiriella, saying he was
being removed from the SPMC with immediate effect. The minister said the
removal was linked to charges of improper tender procedures and financial
Mr. Kiriella told The Sunday Times there had been an urgent need for
the supply of Carbamazepine powder required for the manufacture of a drug
to treat epilepsy and they had called for tenders in March this year. The
samples were sent to the quality control unit of the SPMC but there was
a long delay and finally the unit had disqualified all 11 tenderers and
suggested instead that the contract should be given to the former supplier.
Mr. Kiriella said that during the past year, he had seen clear evidence
that the SPMC had been wracked by a long history of corruption, especially
in the quality control unit where some officers were clearly in connivance
with dealers. Mr. Kiriella said he had obtained clear evidence of nefarious
activities by bureaucrats and it was not an easy task for him to clean
the stench and the rot.
He said the extravagant life style of some SPMC officials also provided
evidence of ill-gotten wealth. He said that in the tender in question,
the quality control unit had recommended the former supplier whose product
would have cost up to half million rupees more than the price quoted by
another tenderer. Mr. Kiriella said he and the managing director had in
some instances told the quality control unit that samples should be tested
without the name tags of suppliers to ensure integrity and fair play. This
had been resisted. Mr. Kiriella said he believed that corruption among
some elements in the bureaucracy of the state sector was of the worst order
and some of those bureaucrats had a devastating influence on politicians.
Mr. Kiriella alleged there were occasions when suppliers lavishly entertained
SPMC bureaucrats, giving bribes and bonanzas. He claimed there was one
instance where at a party for bureaucrats a drunken supplier had bragged
that even the chairman or the managing director could not stop him from
supplying his products to the corporation. Finally, this particular tender
was awarded to the lowest bidder but weeks later the chairman was removed.
State property: Abuse goes on
By Shelani de Silva
As violence increases, the Elections Department is also receiving an increasing
number of complaints regarding misuse of state property, illegal transfers
and related violations of polls laws.
An official of a special unit monitoring these matters said upto 70
complaints had been received by Friday afternoon, while there might have
been scores more which are unreported.
The official said they were taking immediate action and had asked the
relevant ministry secretaries to withdraw the facilities that were being
illegally used. In Gampola district, about ten double cabs belonging to
state organisations are allegedly being used for party political work,
a watchdog group has reported.
Tenants reject private power
Kollupitiya's Lucky Plaza tenants whose electricity supplies were cut due
to alleged irregularities over payments to the CEB, have rejected an offer
from the building owner to restore power through a private supplier. The
tenants said they would not agree to anything but supplies from the CEB.