Sirisena admits his Ministry a den of corruption
*Vows to implement NDP, clean up Ministry before quitting
January 14, 2011, 9:38 pm
By Don Asoka Wijewardena
Healthcare Minister Maithripala Sirisena
recently admitted that his Ministry was a bottomless pit of corruption and vowed to clean it up before relinquishing his portfolio.
Speaking at a Workshop on Registration of Drugs and Medical Equipment in Colombo, he said corruption, malpractice and irregularities were the order of the day at the Ministry and a drug could not be registered without a bribe being given. Nothing could be done at the Ministry without bribing some official or another, he said.
Minister Sirisena said he would leave no stone unturned to implement the National Drug Policy, which had been delayed, before leaving office as Health Minister.
Minister Sirisena vowed to implement the National Drug Policy in 2011 by hook or by crook. Several problems in the Health Sector had arisen due to non-implementation of the policy, he said adding that since he assumed duties seven months ago, he had been holding talks with relevant officials on the implementation of the National Drug Policy. At the same time he had instructed officials, formed committees and authorities, but nothing had materialized.
He said that he had studied all documents and legal aspects in an effort to implement the National Drug Policy, but in vain. In other words his untiring efforts were relegated to limbo, he said. But, he was determined, he said, to prepare a drug policy and implement it as early as possible.
Minister Sirisena added that some anti-social elements in his Ministry had not seen the things in their right perspective because whenever a committee was appointed to work on introducing the National Drug Policy, those elements would sabotage the programme. He was well aware of the ulterior motives of some officials, he said adding that back-biting, cut-throatism and bureaucracy had been dominating the Ministry and genuine employees were branded as anti-government elements.
He said that he had been receiving a deluge of complaints, petitions and anonymous letters from the general public against the Healthcare Ministry, because the image of the Ministry had been tarnished. Some employees attached other Ministries were interested in joining the Healthcare Ministry, because they were under the impression that they would be able to earn a fast buck. He would welcome reports on any sort of bribe-taking, corruption, malpractices and irregularities in the Ministry, he said.
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