Home » 2013 Colombo CHOGM balance sheet opens can of worms

2013 Colombo CHOGM balance sheet opens can of worms

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By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) balance sheet in 2013 is still to be made public due to its massive scale of waste and corruption for Rajapksa regimes extravaganza, a recent financial analysis report revealed.

Accordingly the Colombo Municipality has to repay over Rs 800 million of state bank credit taken by the then mayor for. City and Road beautification programme.     

This massive debt has been recorded in state bank  balance sheets as non performing loans without taking any action to recover it allowing it to be written off. Normally these state banks like loan sharks are going after poor innocent debtors who are struggling to repay their credit card dues amounting to Rs,100,000-200.000.

Forty-nine luxury buses imported in view of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) In 2013 and later used for public transportation on the southern expressway now lie idle with Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) due to lack of spare parts to repair them, a news report revealed.

It has been, denying daily revenue of Rs. 80,000-90,000 to the government coffers, the report added. 

A sum of Rs 1.18 billion was spent, by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, on publicity and media coverage, in relation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2013. This was revealed in official documents.

It was also revealed that a colossal sum of Rs 10 million was spent on a dinner for journalists on the eve of CHOGM in 2013.

Accordingly, the funds, allocated through Treasury grants, were spent under nine categories, which were; for the construction and maintenance of the Media Centre, publicity programmes in electronic media and, public awareness programmes.

A massive sum of money was spent to purchase office equipment, creation of the official logo and newspaper advertisements, entertainment of local and foreign journalists, including dinners, allowances for the officers of the CHOGM Project Office, allowances for officers and other expenses. 

Subsequently, a breakdown of the expenditures incurred by the ministry shows that Rs 8.28 billion was spent on the construction and maintenance of the media centre while Rs 180,55 million  was spent on public awareness programmes.

There was no outcome of the high level government probe into the contract awarded to the Sri Lanka National Gem and Jewellery Authority to make specially-designed distinct brooches for spouses of heads of governments attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka following allegations of corruption, informed sources said.

A craftsman in Buttala had been assigned the task of making these brooches with portraits of spouses of heads of governments embedded in it and the cost was to be in the region Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 49, 000, these sources revealed. 

The actual cost to make 72 brooches was Rs. 2.88 million, according to the quotation given by the craftsman.

However the price quoted by the Authority for a brooch was Rs. 250,000 and the total cost to make 72 brooches was Rs.18 million.

The Authority has been accused of inflating the price of a brooch by Rs.201,000 and total cost by Rs.15.12 million and this is under investigation, the sources said.

Even after 10 years of this financial misappropriation no action has been taken against any official involved in the corrupt deal and no one knows about the plight of the top official level probe into irregular spending of Rs. 35 million allocated for Commonwealth Heads Spouses’ Programme.

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