‘Former top minister got commissions from school uniform programme’

A powerful minister in the previous regime had received commissions from the school uniforms programme too. The Good Governance government has cried halt to the era of ministers earning commissions, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

He was addressing the gathering at a felicitation ceremony organised in his honour by the Beruwala Good Governance Forum for receiving an International Award for Tobacco Control from the World Health Organisation.

He said the government would continue the free school uniform programme without a break.

The previous regime had to decide on two options namely whether the school uniform supply was to be handed over to local businessmen or to import it from China. Since the programme faced a delay, it was decided to import the cloth from China at the last minute, Dr. Senaratne said.

“Under this import programme, a powerful minster in the previous regime collected a commission of Rs. 20 per metre from imported cloth. The former education minister was not to blame for this because he was above board. The commission went to a powerful minister who was more powerful than him,” the minister said.He said it was to stop this commission business that the government decided to introduce a voucher system instead. “Those who are complaining that children had not received uniform material were only trying to back racketeers,” the minster said.