Bribery Commission begins probe into ‘irregular appointments’ of SJGH director and deputy

Following two petitions by joint trade unions

By Suresh Perera

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has launched a probe into petitions filed against two high-ranking officials of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH), a senior official said last week.

"The process of investigation has begun", he said, referring to the petitions filed by joint trade unions against the "irregular appointments" of SJGH’s director, Dr. Shavendra Gamage and deputy director, Dr. (Mrs) Chamila Ariyananda.

"We need to first investigate the two complaints and establish a prima facie case", the official said. "If necessary, the director and his deputy will be summoned before the Commission".

Under the law, the Commission is empowered to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption and to direct the institution of prosecutions for offences under the Bribery Act and the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975.

As government servants, these officials can be held responsible and answerable, he noted. ""We are going into the matter",

Trade union action had disrupted the smooth functioning of SJGH — a key semi-government medical facility – which has witnessed a drastic dip in admissions coupled with a virtual breakdown in administration.

A petition signed by 724 employees including 125 nurses and some medical practitioners was handed over to the President Secretariat last week.

The Aluth Avurudhu celebrations scheduled for April 28 have also been cancelled, said Chandana Jayalath, Secretary, All Ceylon Health Employees Union. "For the past two decades, we had this annual event, but a sudden decision was taken to call it off after we complained to the Bribery Commission".

He said the unions have also protested against putting up two sign boards complete with arrows indicating ‘Mortuary’ near the cardiology unit and children’s ward. "This is in bad taste because for the past 20 years people never had any difficulty in locating the hospital’s mortuary".

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