Irregularities in fertiliser distribution: Ministry suspends five officials

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The committee appointed by the Agriculture Ministry has taken steps to suspend the service of five officials involved in fertiliser distribution misconduct for the years 2018/2019 with immediate effect.

The decision was taken based on a number of allegations, including falsification of documents and alteration of laboratory test reports. Accordingly, three assistant directors and two development officers who served in the Fertiliser Secretariat at that time have been suspended, according to the Ministry.
Investigations into the fraud were carried out according to the Auditor General’s report which revealed a fraud of Rs. 1.2 billion at the Lakpohora Company, and at the request of Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a special committee was appointed by Agriculture Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Sumedha Perera to look into the matter.
During a recent visit to Lakpohora, the Minister also urged the relevant officials to expedite and investigate frauds. Accordingly, the committee appointed on the advice of the Minister carried out these investigations and recommended the suspension of the five relevant officers.
The report of the committee was handed over to the Ministry Secretary, and Minister Aluthgamage has instructed the relevant officials of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to take legal action against this fraud, in addition to the investigations being carried out at the ministry level.
The Auditor General’s report also recommended that investigations be referred to the CID.