The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has made more than 15 unqualified appointments, some of which are in high positions within the organisation, Chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP), Ranjith Vithanage said.
He claimed that as a first step in stopping these unqualified appointments, they asked CAA Chairman to appoint qualified persons to the right positions. If the Chairman does not follow it or initiate any inquiries, he warned, the NMCRP will file suit in Court.
According to him, the CAA is the only organisation authorised by law to defend consumer rights in Sri Lanka. It was founded by the Consumer Affairs Authority Act No. 9 of 2003, and that Act makes it quite clear how officers should be hired by that authority.
He continued pointing out that Section 3 (1) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act No. 9 of 2003 mentions the composition of the Authority.
“The authority shall consist of a chairman and not less than ten other members appointed by the minister from among those who have recognised qualifications in the fields of industry, law, economics, commerce, administration, accounting, science, or health and have attained experience and excellence in those fields,” he said.
He said they express their opposition to the Government regarding the appointment of a ‘group of friends’ as members of the CAA, aside from defending the rights of consumers, despite the fact that it is mentioned in the Act and the Minister has gone on to do so in violation of the relevant Act.
“There are over 400 grads employed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Minister should be humiliated for choosing unqualified individuals to supervise these graduates and it is ironic that these members also look into complaints made by customers. We ask the Government to appoint suitably competent individuals to the CAA in place of those who are not qualified,” he added.
BY Thameenah Razeek