Millions in public funds spent on politicos’ vehicles

By Chandani Kirinde

In the first eight months of the year the Government presented to Parliament for approval 12 supplementary estimates totalling more than Rs. 20 billion. While the bulk of the money was for development programmes and the payment of subsidies; millions have gone towards the purchase and maintenance of vehicles for politicians and officials.

Up to the end of August, Parliament had approved supplementary estimates amounting to Rs.18.8 billion. Two estimates of another Rs. 2 billion will be put to the House when Parliament meets in September.

Between June and July more than Rs. 386 million were paid out from supplementary allocations under the supports services and contingency liabilities project of the Department of the National Budget.
More than Rs. 144 million of this money was used to settle deferred payments for equipment purchased by the Sri Lanka Air Force as well as accounting for grants given by various UN organisations.

More than Rs 4.7 million went to cover the vehicle maintenance expenses of the Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, while another Rs. 3 million went to pay for the repair of the Speaker’s official vehicle.

Another Rs. 5.5 million was granted to the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage to provide official vehicles for the Secretary to the Ministry, while nearly Rs 1.6 million went to the Department of External Resources to cover the air travel expenses incurred by the Asian Development Bank vice-president’s visit to the North and East in March.

Another Rs. 35.5 million went to the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services to account for the foreign aid grant given by UNICEF for the construction of 1,000 toilet units for internally displaced persons in camps. Another Rs. 23.6 million went to the Ministry of Construction and Engineering Services to build 500 toilet units at the camps.

Earlier this year, supplementary allocations amounting to Rs. 15 million were made for the purchase of official vehicles for the Attorney General and the Secretaries of two ministries.

Of this amount, Rs 4.095 million was allocated to the AG’s Department, while sums of Rs 5. 5 million each were allocated to the Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services and the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Management for the purchase of motor vehicles for the Secretaries of each ministry.

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