Authorities gear up to act over reports of “disappearing vehicles”

Authorities gear up to act over reports of “disappearing vehicles”

Authorities gear up to act over reports of “disappearing vehicles”

Written by Tharushan Fernando

25 Sep, 2016 | 8:05 pm

Reports are emerging on the disappearance of 1500 vehicles used during the tenure of the former president.

January 23, 2015:Police seizes 53 vehicles found parked at a land belonging to the Sri Jayawardenepura Multi-purpose Cooperative, of which 32 were bullet-proof vehicles.

 January 28, 2015:Police seize 65 vehicles attached to the Presidential Secretariat.

August 24, 2016: News1st cameras capture footage of several abandoned luxury vehicles at Mumtaz Mahal in Colpetty.

September 6,  2016:Police seize a luxury car owned by Namal Rajapaksa.

A report compiled by the Committee on Public Accounts in Parliament, has revealed that the documents of 597 vehicles registered at the Department of Motor Traffic have been misplaced.

The first report of the Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna was tabled in Parliament on September 22.

Thirty eight (38) state institutions were investigated, based on audit reports from 2005 to 2013.

Under this process, on January 9, the Committee on Public Accounts called for an investigation at ministry level against the officials responsible for misplacing documents containing details of 597 vehicles and ordered for these documents to be immediately handed over to the Auditor General.

However even though a group of officials of the Department of Motor Traffic had  on March 24, submitted details of the documents, they had only provided details of 52 of the 597 vehicles.

Commissioner General of Motor Traffic, Jagath Chandrasiri stated that nothing can confirmed because, during the tenure of the previous Commissioner General, the archives at the Department were on the verge of falling apart, which prompted the authorities to immediately relocate and place all the documents inside 15 containers at the Werahera premises

He added that the documents had been placed in an improper manner and not in any particular order, and those documents cannot  be located at present.

Speaking on the measures taken in this regard, the Commissioner explained that the required financial allocation for the construction of a new archives section has been provided and many documents as possible will go through a scanning process.

When questioned as to when the proper information on this will be given to the Committee on Public Accounts, the Commissioner replied that three more containers had recently been added to these 15 containers, making it a total of 18 containers, and the misplaced documents can only be located after an an extensive scanning process when the new archives section comes up.

“We have close to 40 million documents. There is no reason for these 597 documents to go missing. That is our view. Because we are looking for something old that goes beyond our administration”, he said

This is footage captured of the documents placed in the containers which can be found sitting in the yard of the Deparment of Motor Traffic in Werahera. Please see video.

Auditor General,Gamini Wijesinghe stated that is difficult to determine if these documents are in these containers or whether they have been intentionally misplaced. Nevertheless, it is being attempted to ascertain the accuracy of these details.

He pointed out that when looking at some of the facts here, the computer printout of the Department of Motor Traffic says some of these vehicles are “seized vehicles” but when looking at the other papers of the same vehicles, they have been registered as different cars and vans, and there is no evidence that the process has been carried out under any particular computer system or security.

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