Deletion of NMRA data: SLPP MPs accused of protecting culprits

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balaveya (SJB) lawmaker Manusha Nanayakkara says a section of the SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) parliamentary group is trying to save those responsible for deleting NMRA (National Medicines Regulatory Authority) data.

Galle District MP Nanayakkara questioned the rationale behind SLPP MPs highly publicized visit to NMRA at a time the institution was under fire over deleted cloud data. The former UNPer accused the SLPP of working overtime to protect crooks, instead of having the institution investigated.

The NMRA regulates the issuance of licenses to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and pharmacies in the country.

SLPP MPs met top NMRA representatives in the wake of Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s assurance that the CID would inquire into the issue at hand and submit a report in this regard. The assurance was given on August 30 at a meeting with the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka. Among those participants were State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana, the Number two at the German embassy Oliver Malchow, section head of the German Delegation Andreas Hergenroether, Health Secretary Maj. Gen. Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, DGHS, Dr Asela Gunawardena and NMRA Chief Dr. Rasitha Wijewantha.

Lawmaker Nanayakkara emphasized that the government shouldn’t try to absolve itself of the responsibility by diverting public attention.  The SJB spokesman maintained that the SLPP was engaged in an effort to suppress the controversy through propaganda means. According to him, only four persons had the required pass word to access to the erased data.

Therefore, at least one of them had to be involved in the deletion of data, MP Nanayakkara, said, urging the government to name those responsible for it.

Lawmaker Nanayakkara compared SLPP MPs’ visit to NMRA with their earlier similar high-profile performances to hoodwink the public like the demand that the Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila should resign over fuel price increase, over 100 SLPP MPs writing to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the releasing of Riyaj Bathiudeen, a section of the government calling for a three-week lockdown and sharp split over the East Container Terminal.

MP Nanayakkara alleged that the SLPP was pursuing a political strategy to deceive the people.

MP Nanayakkara said that it wouldn’t be difficult to establish the identity of the person behind the clandestine operation. But the issue at hand was whether the government had the political will to go the whole hog, the MP said, vowing to raise the issue both in and outside parliament.

Lawmaker Nanayakkara asked who would benefit from deleting NMRA data. According to him, those who sought to cripple it wouldn’t have proceeded unless they were sure of political backing.

The group of SLPP MPs who visited NMRA addressed the media outside the authority and subsequently at the Government Information Department. The ruling party basically blamed the previous government for the current situation on the basis the system was established during that period. The group insisted all data pertaining to Sri Lanka’s covid-19 response was intact as such information had been manually recorded.

MP Nanayakkara said that the SLPP had proved over and over again the new administration couldn’t be trusted. The handling of investigations into 2019 Easter Sunday carnage showed the government’s response to such a sensitive issue, the MP said, urging the public not to be deceived by the present lot ruling the country.

Thank you

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