June 13, 2024

Irregularities and corruption run deep into State-Owned Elkaduwa Plantation’s operations

3 min read

The Elkaduwa Plantation Ltd was summoned before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in a meeting Chaired by Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Member of Parliament. last week. The following issues and concerns in relation to SOE’s operations were raised by COPE when examining the Auditor General’s report and current performance for the years 2018 and 2010.

The cost of litigation for the theft of two kilos of pepper worth Rs.400 is Rs. 274,000, COPE reveal

It was disclosed that the cost of litigation for the theft of two kilos of pepper worth Rs.400 is Rs. 274,000.  The COPE Members who were present inquired on the matter to which the officials present, accepted that this is true. However, the officials pointed out that this case was filed around the year 2014. They mentioned that the current officials in the institution have no relation to the matter. Accordingly, COPE was of the view that necessary action should be taken against the officials who were involved in the filing of this case. Furthermore, the COPE Chair mentioned that the officials including the Board of Directors during this period will be summoned before COPE in the future.

Focus on the unpaid Employees’ Provident Funds and Employees’ Trust Funds to the employees of the institution

COPE drew its attention to the unpaid employees’ provident funds and employees’ trust funds, to the institution’s employees. Accordingly, it was disclosed that from the year 2022 to the year 2016, employees’ trust funds of 9,284,933 rupees, employee provident funds of 113,618,008 rupees, provident funds of plantation workers of 5,828,972 rupees and provident funds of Ceylon planters of 8,370,625 rupees have not been paid. The officials present mentioned that 215 million rupees out of this amount have been paid within the last 3 years. The officials mentioned that the remainder will also be paid monthly in the future. Accordingly recommended to give the COPE Committee an accurate plan on how to pay this amount within 3 months.

Thus, COPE recommended to provide an accurate plan on how to pay this amount within 3 months.

COPE looks into to how the money collected from those who visit the Sembuwatta Estate reservoir is used

COPE paid attention on how the money collected from those who visit the Sembuwatta Estate reservoir is been used. It was also mentioned that the amount of money collected from the people visiting the reservoir through tickets is approximately 4 million rupees per month. Officials present stated that they are working to credit this money to a separate account. Accordingly, the Committee Chair recommended that a report be given to COPE in this regard.

COPE looks into the recruitment of an unqualified official for the post of HR Manager on a contract basis

Attention was also drawn to the recruitment of an official who did not meet the qualifications for the position of Human Resource Manager on a contract basis. Furthermore, COPE pointed out that there are a lot of allegations of corruption and irregularities related to this official. The officials present here pointed out that this officer was appointed in the year 2019 and the current Chairman was not involved in this appointment. Furthermore, the officials who were present mentioned that this person is on bail related to 136 cases. Accordingly, COPE decided to summon the chairman and the officials who were present during the period when this appointment was made.

Attention paid regarding the non-appointment of a permanent officer for the post of General Manager

COPE also drew its attention to the non-appointment of a permanent officer for the post of General Manager. The officials who were present mentioned that even when the new management was appointed, an Acting General Manager was covering the service.
However, due to the economic situation in the country during the last period, it was not possible to make this appointment, the officials said. Accordingly, the officials stated that this appointment would be made within the next 2 to 3 months.

Focus in respect of functioning and defunct factories owned by the company.

COPE also looked into the functioning of the factories owned by the company and the factories which were defunct. The officials present here pointed out that two factories have been leased and it will cost a lot of money to re-operate the factories that were closed 20 to 25 years ago. Furthermore, the officials informed that there is a litigation related to the factory.

Furthermore, COPE inquired regarding the delay in financial reports. Furthermore, within 4 months, this institution will be summoned before COPE, the COPE Chair said.

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