By Our Jaffna Correspondent
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian, Suresh K. Premachandran, has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, to investigate a massive fraud, allegedly involving Chief Secretary of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).
He alleged, the Chief Secretary has defrauded millions of rupees allocated to a project titled NELSIP funded by the World Bank.
Premachandran told Ceylon Today that he had received several complaints with regard to the mishandling of funds allocated to the project and that he was in possession of ample evidence to prove the alleged involvement of the Chief Secretary of the NPC.
He also claimed the fraud involved a group of senior officials and was aimed at discrediting the objectives of the project with the view to scuttling any move to build capacities for Local Governance, so that corrupt politicians continue to thrive through fraudulent activities.
“The fraud itself came to light due to unfair sharing of plundered money within the group. The reports of glaring lapses in the project indicated the strong possibility of such a fraud and this had been made known to the Chief Secretary. She continuously harboured the officials and ignored these lapses purposefully. According to our understanding, there are sufficient evidences within the official records themselves to confirm the fraud. These documents and records which suggested improvement and corrective measures should be carefully and intelligently looked at in order to get more light on the causes. We are also made to understand that the systems were deliberately let loose, decisions were deliberately procrastinated, authorities were unduly centralized, procedures were deliberately deviated and proper checks and balances not installed to prevent such frauds,” Premachandran charged.
The TNA Parliamentarian in his letter to the President and the Chief Minister, requesting an extensive investigation into the alleged fraud, has also submitted several documents and reports to pinpoint the fraudsters.
Premachandran further stated that the view of the public was that as a result of the conduct of several officials the province has lost an opportunity to inculcate good practices at the local authorities and cultivate an environment for good local democratic governance for which it was longing for a long time, deprived opportunity for replication, extension and upgradation of similar projects in the province.
“In the context of the far-reaching implications of this, I earnestly request the President and the Chief Minister to appoint a panel of experienced officers to investigate into the matter and restore the damages caused and bring the culprits to the books in time,” Premachandran added.
The copies of the letter have also been sent to the Governor Northern Province, Auditor General, Project Director, NELSIP, Chairman, Parliament Accounts Committee, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Country Representative of the World Bank and the Senior DIG, Northern Province.