Cabinet approves import from Blacklisted firm – Handunnetti
BY Kumudu Jayawardena and Tharaka Samman
Singapore’s Vitol Asia Pte. Ltd., to which the Cabinet approved the granting of an 8-month contract to supply petrol and diesel from January 2022 to August 2022, has been blacklisted in Sri Lanka several times, JVP Politburo Member Sunil Handunnetti claimed.
“This Government is getting anything that is given for free and on credit. Now, we have to check how much they get as commissions. The truth is, this is just a business, not a need for fuel. This type of transaction is good for their pockets. This is a company that has been blacklisted on earlier occasions. These people have forgotten what happened before,” Handunnetti claimed.
The said the company had been blacklisted in Sri Lanka for the first time in 2009. According to the Auditor General’s Report, prepared in May 2013, titled ‘Special Audit on Procurement of Petroleum Products by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation during the period of 1 June 2011 to 30 June 2012,’ the company had paid a sum of US$ 150,000 to the CPC on 27 July 2011 and the CPC reinstated the registration of said company as a supplier of petroleum products.
“On 26 and 27 July 2011, under BK/29/2011, a bid had been awarded to import 20,000 metric tons of High Sulphur fuel 1500 Sec. and 20,000 metric tons of Low Sulphur oil 1,500 Sec.
considering the urgency of fuel to avoid possible interruption to power supply. SSCAPC also had suggested to the Chairman of the CPC to import the cargo,” the report said. Furthermore, the Auditor General observed that 794 complaints had been received on damage caused to 1,657 motor vehicles and machines and subsequently it had been revealed that the distributed Gas Oil had been a contaminated product.
Due to the supply of the above inferior quality petroleum products, the supplier, the said Singaporebased Asian Oil Supplier had been removed from the registered supplier list with effect 30 August 2012 and the CPC had initiated legal action.
Moreover, according to a report published on fuelsandlubes.com, then Minister Susil Premajayantha had instructed to blacklist the company again following the complaints received in 2011 A report prepared by an observation committee appointed by Premajayantha, due to the damages caused by low quality fuel, the government had to endure a loss of Rs 490 million.
Also, according to the foreign media, the company had tried to bribe authorities in several countries in Europe and Latin America. However, Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila, on being asked for comment, said that the company was only blacklisted in 2009. It was reinstated as a supplier of petroleum products later.
The Minister added that, only this company has applied to supply fuel to Sri Lanka. The government announced, during the Cabinet media briefing yesterday (26), that the Cabinet approved the proposal by the Minister of Energy to award the relevant contract to M/s Vitol Asia (Singapore) Pte. Ltd as recommended by the Special Standard Procurement Committee convened by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Bids were invited from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s registered suppliers for a long-term contract to import 1,341,000+10/-5 per cent barrels of Petrol (92 Unl) and 459,000+10/-5 percent barrels of Petrol (95 Unl) for an 8-month period beginning 1 January, 2022 and ending 31 August, 2022.