Minister’s wife had 12 henchmen appointed

Ayurvedic Drug Corporation bigwigs before COPE:


By Saman Indrajith

Chairman and Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation yesterday admitted before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) that 12 henchmen of Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had been recruited on the recommendations of the minister’s wife, according to highly placed sources.

Two top officials of the corporation admitted before the COPE that out of 61 workers they had hired after assuming duties in the corporation, 43 had been recruited without following stipulated procedure.

The COPE summoned top officials of the corporation including the Chairman and MD yesterday to Parliament. Two female officials cried when they accused the higher officials of using foul language on women. All lower ranking officials complained that they had to undergo numerous difficulties because of the present management.

Of the 12 persons recruited on letters of recommendation from Minister Senaratne’s wife six had been recruited as project coordinating officers and others as security officers, the chairman told the COPE. Though each of them had been paid a salary of Rs 20,000 none of them worked at the corporation; they were serving as staff members of the minister. They had been recruited from Agalawatte, Panadura and Mathugama areas, the officials told the COPE.

The two top officials also admitted that seven million rupees had been spent on an exhibition held in December, 2015 to introduce seven new Ayurvedic drugs. It transpired at yesterday’s COPE meeting that only two new drugs had actually been introduced while the remaining five were rebranded old ones.

The officials also admitted that they had bought a vehicle for passenger transport at a cost of Rs 7.9 million but used it for transporting goods after removing its seats.

The chairman who is a kinsman of the minister has been appointed without the approval of the Committee on High Posts. The official had failed to send a copy of his CV to the High Posts Committee but he had forwarded a copy of his CV to the COPE, a senior COPE member told The Island last evening.

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