Mult-million urea deal worked out in six hours

Action against top government officials

By Chandani Kirinde

The Police and the Public Services Commission (PSC) will be asked to take action against top officials allegedly involved in a multi-million rupee fertilizer tender fraud, following a report by a three-member Presidential Committee.

The three member committee headed by the Prime Minister’s Secretary, M. Bandusena, handed in its report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. The report said there was evidence that several officials, including the Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Development, had failed to follow the proper procedure in awarding a tender valued at Rs. 892 million.

House Leader and senior minister Nimal Siripala de Silva presented extracts from the 40-page report to Parliament on Thursday and vowed government would act against any corrupt officers.

It has been alleged that the import tender was awarded to a company by the name of Transammonia, at US $ 327 per metric tonne of bulk urea where as another company had bid for US $ 279 million per metric tonne.

The loss incurred by giving the tender to the higher bidder was Rs120 million.

In addition to the Ministry Secretary, allegations have also been made against the Colombo Commercial Fertilizer company’s Competent Authority Chanaka Benjamin and a personal assistant to Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.

The urea fraud case came to light in April and was highlighted by JVP parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake who is a former minister of agriculture.

It is alleged that the approval to award the tender was given over the phone by the Secretary to the Ministry to his personal secretary and Mr. Benjamin. The deal had been concluded in a record time of six hours.


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