Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Bring contractors to justice

The Hansard on July 19 (435 – 449 pp) exposed the payment details, with cheque numbers, of the colossal sums that a particular Chinese contractor had given at Temple Trees manoeuvring politics and elections for the pursuance of acquiring public money through unofficial contract benefits a few years ago.

Such cheque details of the cheque payments with its respective issuers’ names of the contractors were tabled in the parliament. Those cheques were given not only by the Chinese contractors. Additional cheque payments details with cheque numbers are available with regards to the local road construction contractors. The aim was to garner undue benefits from contracts on the people’s account. It was stressed in the parliament that those payments which are considered as de-facto bribes and also election violations shall have to be investigated by the government.

In establishing sincere good governance by the Yahapalanaya government which is aspired by the people, the referred colossal amount of payments that had been handed over surreptitiously at the Temple Trees which is the Supreme Officiate of the country not only by the Chinese contractor but also by several undue privileged local contractors as well needs to be found out. That phenomenon has given undue advantages out of the public money from construction contracts. This shall have to be investigated by the Bribery and Corruption Commissioner and should be subject to judiciary action.

It is also the responsibility of the business chambers in the construction industry along with their professionals who are supposed to administer the contracts in the construction industry and specially the National Construction Association of Sri Lanka under its regulations of good practices to be adhered by their member contractors to take necessary disciplinary action on such bad practices of their members who are thwarting the advancement and protection of the private sector good governance and to mitigate such bad practices in the construction industry.

The truth is such practices are the common phenomenon among the contractors. During the past it was a common practice to pay commissions and enhance their estimates in the contract value by provisioning of additional percentage for commissions and other emoluments for the benefits of the higher officers as well as to the hierarchy as well as local level politicians and also to so-called technical committee experts of respected gentlemen professionals who are liaison with politicians of central governance as well as of their cronies.

There were instances in the past in the construction industry that their regulatory body, the government respected office premises was also used on the eve of general elections as venues of congregating such contractors having meetings with the politicians in organising such election campaigns. This menace has to be stopped by their own business associations and chambers and by other regulatory institutions and should not be condoned by the private sector business chambers in order to fortify and to establish the prevalence of democracy and good governance in the country as well for a healthy stable growth of private sector driven economy which is essentially needed for a better society.

 

Jayasiri Samaratunga
Kelaniya

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