Testimony on controversial heifer deal to resume on 22nd April

Testimony on controversial heifer deal to resume on 22nd April

Written by Staff Writer

16 Apr, 2019 | 6:59 pm

Colombo (News 1st): An additional police team has been deployed to carry out preliminary investigations into the complaints filed with the Presidential Commission tasked with probing fraud and corruption at state institutions over the past 04 years.

A spokesperson for the commission said following a request made to the IGP, 06 additional personnel were provided. The recording of evidence on complaints filed will resume on the 22nd of April, with testimony on the controversial accord on importing dairy heifers to Sri Lanka, to be recorded on that day.

An agreement was reached during the previous government to import 20,000 dairy heifers to Sri Lanka from 2012 to 2019. At the Presidential Commission, it was revealed, the agreement was in fact amended following the present government coming into power.

It should be stressed, in the first phase 5000 heifers were imported and some of them died falling victim to various diseases. Despite this, it is now evident, an advanced payment was made to import another 5000 heifers under the second phase of the agreement.

Earlier, the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Rural Economic Affairs said the Ministry is not even in possession of a copy of the agreement signed in 2016, let alone the original document. A copy of the agreement, obtained from the local agent of the controversial Australian company, was later submitted to the commission, by the additional secretary.

Upon its submission, the commission members who examined the respective document failed to determine the identity of the signatory representing the controversial Australian firm.

News 1st previously exposed, that approval for the advance payment in this regard, was given a few days prior to the retirement of the former secretary to the respective ministry. The former secretary is the wife of the secretary to the prime minister, Saman Ekanayaka.

These issues have now elevated, grabbing the attention of international media. Recent articles published on Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian website, Farm Weekly have confirmed all revelations that News 1st has continuously exposed throughout the years.

The foreign media institutions add that this loss has left local farmers broke, and in some cases, suicidal. Businessmen who are currently facing severe difficulties due to the purchasing of these heifers are due to testify at the commission on the 22nd of this month.

To the State officials as well as state and private institutions responsible for importing these heifers to the country, which jeopardized the future of the countries dairy farms: The people are watching you!

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