PM tries to cover up procurement irregularities?

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has proposed to the cabinet committee on economic management that the police be ordered to handover to the National Procurement Commission the current FCID investigations into complaints against questionable procurements by state institutions under the current administration.

In a letter dated 09 March 2017, he has noted the Commission has been set up as per the 19th amendment to the constitution, and said it should investigate those criminal complaints, according to ‘Ravaya’.

Legal experts are surprised by this attempt by the PM to relieve the FCID, which is experienced and has expertise in investigations, of this duty as procurements are considered where corruption, fraud and irregularities are most common in the state sector.

Not an investigative body

Furthermore, the National Procurement Commission is not a crime investigative body and is tasked with regulating goods and consultancy and other services, supply of information systems etc. of state institutions.

It also reports to authorities on procurements that had taken place outside the due procedure, although even for that, the commission is without any officers of investigative capacity.

Legal experts are concerned this is an attempt to cover up procurement irregularities of the present government.