1st June 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Arms deals under check

President Chandrika Bandarnaike Kumaratunga has come down hard on procurements by the armed forces after media exposures of alleged irregularities.

Acting on her instructions, Defence Secretary Chandrananda de Silva has sent out a detailed directive to the Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force. In that he has spelt out the new procedures the Commanders should follow. Even the setting up of a Tender Board will now require prior approval.

Some top rungers in the services lauded the President’s move but said another welcome step should follow. That is to probe the billion and million rupee deals that have been shrouded in deep controversy. Some procurements of the Air Force and the Navy are being cited as examples. Meanwhile, some Army deals have also raised eye brows.

Caught up in this move appears to be an Army request to obtain flak jackets. Some top rungers say the request is held up with a bureaucrat at the Ministry of Defence. They complain further delays may cause serious problems.

Lover boy in soup

Remember the love tryst of the man in pips and stars who accompanied a lady boss of a State concern on a mission to improve conditions in cook houses of camps in operational areas ? (The Jungle Telegraph May 4).

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Rohan De S. Daluwatte has detailed Brigadier Ivan Dissanayake, the senior most Military Officer in the north from the CCMP (Corps Ceylon Military Police) to probe the incident.

Army Headquarters is awaiting his report to take further action.

Meanwhile the two male officers who were in the same mission have met senior military officers to explain that they had no role to play in the non official things that went on.

They insisted they focused attention only to ensure better quality food on the table.

Move to stop fleeing cops

Defence authorities are examining the possibility of introducing Emergency Regulations to impose tougher penalties on police refusing to serve in areas assigned to them.

They point out that existing provisions including those involving cowardice was inadequate. It entails only a fine of Rs 500 by a Magistrate.

Prompting this move is the dearth of policemen to serve in newly re-captured areas in the north.

Look out for Tiger ship

Despite their heavy commitments, both the Sri Lanka Air Force and the Sri Lanka Navy have stepped up coastal surveillance after reports that LTTE may attempt to smuggle a fresh arms shipment. Insiders say the new shipment is on its way from Kampuchea.

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