CBK demands Ranil to inquire into CWE frauds

Aug 30 (InfoLanka) President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday in a letter to Prime Minister has requested enumerating five alleged frauds in connection with the CWE to conduct immediate investigations and furnish a report indicating the course of action to be taken on these allegations.

The Presidential Secretariat issuing a press communiqué informed following allegations where most of them were related to transactions taken place in CWE.

It was stated 30,000 tons of Nadu rice and 10,000 tons of White Raw rice purchased at a cost of Rs. 26 per kilo after being fumigated when soiled, had been sold to the private sector at a low rate between Rs. 18 and Rs. 17.50 per kilo incurring thereby a loss of Rs. 330 million to CWE and also thereby allowed the private sector to obtain a good profit by selling the rice for Rs. 24.

Another allegation was that 2,000 tons of sugar purchased at Rs. 28.05 per kilo has been sold to a private trader at Rs. 28.10, whilst the same private trader had sold the stock at Rs. 29.25.

Subsequently, the CWE is alleged to have replenished its stock through purchase from elsewhere at Rs. 30.10 and the loss incurred to CWE through this transaction was estimated to be about Rs. Five million.

"It was alleged that in November 2002, the CWE has purchased a stock of Red Dhal at Rs. 49.50 per kilo, whilst the same variety was available less than Rs. 43.00 per kilo in the local market and the loss incurred to the CWE thereby was estimated around Rs. 15 million,".

The letter also stated the loss on the transaction of big onion during the period between December 2002 and February 2003 was recorded nearly Rs. two million, where "65 tons of this stock had got soiled and damaged," the letter added.

"This was the adverse effect due to lack of knowledge in the store capacity and the market position."

In the letter she also has disclosed the fact the contract of building a new market complex in Kandy at Rs.15 million has been given to a dear and near person where renovating the Kandy CWE supermarket has caused a seepage of yet another Rs. 15 million.

The letter stated US $ 200 had been spend on a troupe of vocalists invited by the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, entrusting procurement of telephone facilities of the entire CWE sales outlets to the private sector.

The development of private sector security services despite the availability of a large number of security personnel of its own and use of private sector lorries for transportation purposes whilst a sufficient fleet was available with the CWE.

Keeping all sales outlets opened right round the clock and thereby incurring a loss.

Allowing a person alleged to be a brother of the CWE Chairman to put up a newspaper enterprise in a building, taken over on lease basis by the CWE, were several other allegations noted.

The letter also states the management is alleged to have purchased several low quality commodities from known parties after transferring out the quality controllers who were said to be vigilant over such malpractices.Complaints also have been made to the effect that employees not belonging to Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya were ill treated and discriminated."An amount of Rs. one million is said to have been credited to the CWE Management Services Ltd. every month to pay the salaries of large number of Ministry officials.