Health Ministry pays pvt. security firm Rs. 3.5 bn pa – docs

‘Competitive bidders ignored, CEB, contractors not paid regularly’

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Health Ministry has hired a security firm to work at 54 state-run hospitals for eight years by paying the company Rs. 3.5 billion per annum (5 per cent of the total health budget). But, the Ceylon Electiciy Board, some contractors and canteen operators in some of the hospitals have not been paid regularly, according to a group of doctors.

The the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) yesterday alleged that instead of calling tenders from competitive bidders, the Ministry had favoured the particular security company called Land Reclamation and Development Corp. Private Security Service. The LRDC on the pretext of being a government-owned company had been offered the tender for the last eight years regularly. The GMOF was of the view that a powerful public servant was behind the hiring of the security services company.

It pointed out that the total health budget was about Rs. 70 billion, but 5 per cent of the total budget was squandered unnecessarily. A few years ago there were hospital watchers to do the security work. The LRDC Security service was not a government-owned company, the GMOF said. Each year the number of security personnel in that particular company increased, the GMOF said.

When contacted a senior Health Ministry official on condition of anonymity dismissed the allegation leveled against the Ministry by the GMOF. The LRDC was a government-owned company which had been providing security personnel to the hospitals. Their work had reached a high degree of excellence. Therefore the Ministry wanted to retain the services of that particular company.

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