Business

Alcohol breathalyser tender of Police mired in fraud, deceit allegations

  • Bidder alleges foreign supplier doesn’t exist
  • US company website hosted from Sri Lanka
  • Bidder alleges Securatec involved
  • Alleges a politician delaying court case

BY Shenal Fernando

According to allegations by Lanka Industrial Services Agencies (Pvt.) Ltd. and its associate company, Assent International (Pvt.) Ltd., which took part in the tender process for the supply of alcohol breathalysers to the Sri Lanka Police in 2020, Securatec Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., which also took part in the tender process, had fraudulently represented itself as a foreign supplier of alcohol breathalysers with the intention of deceiving the former and causing damage to their reputation.

Speaking to The Morning Business, Lanka Industrial Services Agencies Director Malinga Fernando claimed that the Securatec Lanka Managing Director (MD) “is not on good terms with me and the company due to the fact that we basically compete for the same security and defence tenders”.

He further claimed that he heard rumours that had been speaking ill of him (Fernando) in various circles within their industry and had described Fernando and Lanka Industrial Services Agencies as a trouble to him.

Explaining further, Fernando accused the MD and his company of forgery, cheating, and attempting to deceive, and claimed that this raises questions as to the legitimacy of the documents previously produced by them in other tender processes.

According to the complaint filed by Lanka Industrial Services Agencies with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the Police Department had announced on 29 June 2020 a tender bearing No. LA/S1/375/2020 for the supply of 18,000 breathalysers. Consequently, Lanka Industrial Services Agencies had submitted a bid for the tender, together with the breathalyser samples it had acquired from what it had believed at the time to be Alcoh-Test, a US-based company which produced alcohol breathalyser testers, founded in 1998 and having its factory in France.

However, according to Fernando, an investigation was carried out by the company after the bid was made due to suspicions that had arisen following the delay in acquiring certain documents from the foreign company. Such investigation by the company had revealed that the Alcoh-Test website had been created only on 30 June 2020 and was hosted from Sri Lanka. Thereafter, the company had withdrawn its bid and lodged a complaint with the CID.

Lanka Industrial Services Agencies further claimed that Alcoh-Test/Securatec Lanka offered a CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) value of € 0.32 per tube with balloon, which is € 0.1-0.2 below the market price, and that by quoting a lesser CIF value for the breathalysers, they ensured that Lanka Industrial Services Agencies won the bidding.

They further claimed that the actions of Securatec Lanka and its MD, who they believe to has orchestrated the entire deceit, amounts to the offence of cheating, which are described under the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, and offences described under the Computer Crimes Act pertaining to the creation of fake company documents.

The Morning Business got the opportunity to study the B Report submitted by the Police to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, which sets out that the investigations had revealed that Alcoh-Test had on 8 June reached out to Lanka Industrial Services Agencies, which was at the time actively looking for a breathalyser supplier, informing that it could supply breathalysers for the tender, following which both parties had shared information.

Accordingly, Alcoh-Test had represented itself as a US company established 1998, with its address at No. 4112, Pallet Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603, and that its products are manufactured in a French factory.

The report clearly highlights that investigations revealed the domain (www.alcohtest.com) to be registered to Lanka Web Solution (Pvt.) Ltd., which was registered to a person named Ranjith Haputhanthri.

It was further revealed that Haputhanthri was a friend of Hashan Lakshitha Weerasinghe, a Director of Securatec Lanka, which had paid Haputhanthri Rs. 30,00 for creating the relevant domain and the email address (info@alcohest.com) that was subsequently used in correspondence with Lanka Industrial Services Agencies.

The report also claims that the Paris Interpol had confirmed that no such company has been registered in France. At the time the B Report was presented, the Sri Lanka Police were still waiting for a response from the Washington Interpol.

Furthermore, The Morning Business received information from a source that wished to remain undisclosed, who claimed: “The suspects had been called several times to give statements before the CID and were pending arrest. However, political influence has forced investigations to be delayed and required that the suspects not be arrested.”

Alcohol breathalyser tender of Police mired in fraud, deceit allegations