Doctors call for probe commission

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Doctors called for a commission to be appointed to inquire into the activities of the Health Ministry and its affiliated institutions during the past 10 years.

President of the Medical and Civil Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCPA), Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa expressing great concern over the recent revelations, made at the COPE Committee, regarding a colossal sum spent on software developed for the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) for Inventory Management, urged the Prime Minister and the Government to appoint a Commission to conduct an independent investigation into what had been revealed at the COPE Committee. “The COPE Committee should not be made into a place where officials of the health ministry are pin pointed and mudslinging takes place, only for the revealed malpractices to be swept under the carpet leaving room for fraudulent activities to continue,” he said.

Dr. Sanjeewa noted that Presidential Commissions had been appointed previously, during the good governance government, where similar probes were conducted and officials of the Health Ministry included had been accused of fraud and corruption. However, instead of action being taken against them, those officials have either been promoted or continue in the same positions.

He urged the Premier, the COPE Committee Chairman and parliamentarians who are its members to appoint the Commission to probe what had been revealed while permitting officials with data and evidence with regard to the matter to submit it to before that Commission. “If there are politicians or bureaucrats who are exposed of  having committed fraud, there should be a process in place to punish them,” he stressed. Likewise, action should be taken to carry out probes into the Ministry’s activities during the past 10 years, he added.

For the past 74 years people of this island have been talking about the bribery and corruption. “Whichever government comes into power, if we don’t move beyond to take action against the officials, institutions or the middlemen involved in those corruptions they will continue to remain where they are to carry out more fraud,” he said.

Dr. Sanjeewa said that the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), which was maintained at the level of a high security zone in other countries, was yet another place where even the data base had been tampered with. “We condemn any politicians or individuals interfering in the affairs of the Authority.  “Appropriate experts should be appointed to the NMRA top positions sans political interference,” he said noting that there was an NMRA Act under which it had been established, while the Senaka Bibile drug policy itself identified as to who was most suitable to hold positions in it.

“The Public would lose faith in the NMRA if Each Minister that holds the Health Ministry portfolio is to appoint those who were partial to him or her,” Dr. Sanjeewa added.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne