Alleged textile fraud before Bribery Com.

By Madhushala Senaratne

Sub-standard uniforms were being fobbed off on soldiers and airmen as a result of irregularities in the handling of textile quota allocations, it is alleged.

Allegations of malpractice have prompted a call for the dissolution of the government body responsible for allocating quotas for the textile industry. It is believed that irregularities in quota distribution could have cost the state more than Rs. 1 billion. The official body in question is the Domestic Textile Allocation Committee (DTAC).

Textile Minister Mahinda Ratnathilaka said the complaints against the committee would be referred to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and the Presidential Investigation Unit.

The Domestic Textile Allocation Committee allocates quotas for the supply of textiles to the public sector, which includes the security forces, the health services, schools and other government bodies. It is alleged that the committee has been favouring selected private traders and institutions over state-run institutions, such as Lanka Salu Sala Ltd and Lanka Fabrics Ltd. The result, it is alleged, is the large-scale supply of sub-standard materials and consequent loss of revenue to the state.

Last week, The Sunday Times reported that certain textile producers who were registered to supply locally-made materials to the government for school uniforms and military uniforms were in fact supplying imported fabrics while enjoying government concessions specially created to encourage local textile manufacturing and processing and to generate jobs.

Under the concession scheme, the government gives a better price for locally processed materials than it would for imported materials. For example, if a piece of imported fabric costs Rs. 65 a metre, the government will pay Rs. 100 for a similar piece of locally produced fabric.

“The local textile industry would have greatly benefited if these quotas had been distributed among state institutions,” the minister said. “It has been revealed that this year orders worth Rs. 905 million were awarded to a single private trader, and that similar orders have gone to eight or 10 other favoured traders.”

Minister Ratnathilaka said Industrial Development Minister Kumara Welgama, under whose purview the Textile Ministry falls, has been informed of the malpractices. “I have requested Minister Welgama to submit a Cabinet paper to dissolve the Domestic Textile Allocation Committee and set up a new committee,” he said.

According to the minister, the present DTAC does not reflect the recommended committee membership profile, and most of the committee members lack knowledge of the textile industry. The DTAC is headed by. W. D. Jayasinghe, who is Additional Secretary to the Textile Industry Development Ministry, as well as chairman of the Textile Quota Board.

The minister alleged that Mr. Jayasinghe had some time back requested the then Treasury Secretary, P. B. Jayasundara, to close down Lanka Salu Sala. “Mr. Jayasinghe’s term as chairman of the Textile Quota Board expired a couple of months ago,” the minister said. “He was appointed chairman in April 2006 and his term was to expire in April this year. Therefore any decision he has made since April this year cannot be considered valid.” Lanka Salu Sala Ltd working director Thushara Kodikara told The Sunday Times that Salu Sala had not received any orders from the DTAC for more than a year.

“I recently made a request for a quota for 200,000 abayas [clothing for Muslim women] from the Muslim Religious Affairs Department. However, I was informed that the order had already been referred to the Domestic Textile Allocation Committee. If that order had come to us, Salu Sala would have made a profit of Rs. one lakh, he said.”

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other News Articles
Indian aid: Govt. and ICRC cross swords
IP shot dead
Hush-hush hedge: Cabinet, CPC board in the dark - Investigation
Grave crisis in North-East hospitals
Millions for ministers’ houses
Alleged textile fraud before Bribery Com.
Camp shooting: Suspect in court
Lankan Tea drive overseas
Refunds down after VAT scam revelation
The 'Train of Brotherhood'
A Buddhist temple of their own for Lankans in Norway
Railway accidents: Green for danger?
Ministry official, artiste arrested
SC Judge passes away
Get ready for snap polls, Ranil tells party officials
Quick answers not coming at question time
Army Chief to continue
Stroke victims need organized care
East: Rise of terror amidst the boom
EPC has no powers, says Pillayan - Interview
Cases of rough treatment filed by cop and lawyer
Kandy a close second on LTTE hit list: DIG
The sad story at Mundel
Rajapaksa's heavyweight punches


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution