SLBFE in corrupt tender deal over office space

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At a time when the country is in the grip of a financial crisis, it has been brought to the attention of the Attorney General how the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) through a tender process selected an office space in Kandy for a monthly rent of
Rs 600,000 as opposed to the lowest bidder who had quoted Rs 325, 000.

According to reliable information,  already the SLBFE Kandy office has begun shifting its office equipment to the said Rs 600,000 rented office in Mahaiyawa, Kandy.

Around nine months ago the SLBFE’s Kandy office had shifted to Mulgampola due to a landslide threat at the previous place and at Mulgampola the owner of the land Neeta Kanthi Perera had already spent about Rs 2.5 million to create an office space for the said rent of Rs 325,000 per month for the SLBFE office. However, it has come to light that the SLBFE had called for a tender as part of the official procedure and had then selected the bidder who quoted Rs 600, 000 rental in Mahaiyawa, Kandy.

Senior Assistant Secretary (Administration) of the Ministry of Labour, Deepal Chandraratne submitting a letter to the Labour Minister has stated that Perera, a resident of Heerassagala, Kandy had forwarded a letter to the subject Minister and the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment, the Procurement Committee of the SLBFE, the Treasury and the Ministry of Labour with regard to a complaint related to obtaining facilities to the Central Province Office of the SLBFE on 29 April 2022.

Chandraratne had advised the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment, K. D. R. Olga to probe the complaint lodged by Perera and report to him within seven days the status of the follow-up to the complaint.

As per the complaint Perera has alleged that she had quoted a sum of Rs 325,000 to improve the facilities of the said building while a separate bidder had submitted Rs 600,000 as being the rental for his office space. Hence, Neeta Kanthi Perera has alleged that an act of corruption has taken place and therefore she has urged the authorities to investigate the tender process and mete out justice to potential bidders preventing corruption and fraud.

By Sulolchana Ramaih Mohan