Only transfers and dismissals in scam at Sethsiripaya site

A case of forgery and fraud has come to light in connection with a multi-million-rupee government construction project, but the only punitive action taken so far is to have had certain government officers and private sector employees transferred, say parties who have an interest in the case.

A private civil engineering company that was given the job of building the pilings for the Urban Development Authority’s Sethsiripaya project in Battaramulla had obtained a certificate attesting to the quality of the pilings. However, according to a third party that later conducted an independent load test, the pilings were below standard.

It is alleged the company concerned tampered with the original certificate issued and submitted what amounted to a forged document to the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB). The altered certificate suggested the pilings were in order.

CECB chairman Nihal Rupasinghe told The Sunday Times that the forgery had been detected in time and that the construction company had been ordered to rectify their work on the pilings.

Mr. Rupasinghe said it was up to the client, the UDA, to initiate action against the construction company.
Meanwhile, UDA director general Prasanna Silva told The Sunday Times that steps had been taken to rectify the defects in the pilings, and that work on the Sethsiripaya project was going ahead as usual.
Mr. Silva said that after the forgery and sub-standard work had been detected, certain junior staff members of the CECB had been transferred, and some of the employees of the construction company concerned had been dismissed.

Meanwhile, Institute for Construction Training and Development (ICTD) working director Gamini Gamage told The Sunday Times that he had no recollection of receiving any complaints in connection with the Sethsiripaya building project, and that even if there had been a complaint, the ICTD was not in a legal position to take action on its own in this matter.

When The Sunday Times contacted Geo Tech Services Pvt Ltd, the company that provided the original piling test report, Geo Tech senior consultant Parakrama Jayasinghe declined to comment.

Experts in the construction industry say that serious problems would certainly have resulted if the faulty pilings had gone undetected.

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