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Jungle Telegraph

30th August 1998

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Egg and chicken tender

Here is a shocker for those in the higher echelons of the defence establishment who are genuinely concerned about shady deals in procurements. On May 13, 1998, the Ministry of Defence circulated a "restricted" document to registered suppliers calling upon them to bid for tenders to supply explosive detectors.

It said "this equipment should provide immediate detection and location of concealed explosives and IEDs" (Improvised Explosive Devices).

The product one supplier offered from an European manufacturer was accompanied by a colourful catalogue. It said their explosive detectors were suitable for "immediate detection and location of concealed explosives."

The wordings are a co-incidence, one might say. But there are far too many.

The specifications lists 14 separate requirements. And the phraseology (and more importantly the specifications) are strikingly similar. A few examples:

Specification: Simple and quick operation system Catalogue: "…immediate detection and location of concealed explosives…"

Specification: The detection should be free of radiation source..

Catalogue: "…No Radioactive source…"

Specification: A minimum of one year warranty period. Catalogue: One year against defects covering all parts and labour.

There are far too many similarities which cannot be spelt out for space restrictions. The question is whether the Ministry copied the manufacturer's catalogue for its "restricted" note or the manufacturer copied the MOD note. The latter seems highly remote.

Insiders say an airy expert drafted the document and that later received the endorsement of unsuspecting Ministry officials.

Is this another ruse to fix tenders they ask. No easy question when the deal amounts to over Rs 400 million. And no little wonder that even those with the scissors do not want these shady deals highlighted.

WO on the mat

The incident at the popular poor man's beach resort at Polhena in Matara (Jungle Telegraph - August 23) has had its sequel.

A Warrant Officer who released the soldiers for "Operation Brute Force" has been placed under open arrest. The move came after Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Rohan de S. Daluwatte, called for an immediate report on the incident from the Southern Command.

They say that the WO in question will be called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

It has now transpired that the WO released the soldiers at the request of a senior retired Major General, reportedly after some sea bathers had teased and abused his daughter.

And now, orders have gone out forbidding lending soldiers to meet the personal requirements of retired officers without approval from higher authority.

OK. Resign.

One top politico who wanted a dear relative for the top cop's post was furious his request was not heeded. The man threatened to resign. "Let him do that if he wishes to," was how the boss responded.

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