Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
15 May, 2020 | 9:18 am
COLOMBO (News 1st): The Auditor General’s Department has launched an investigation into the Rs. 5,000 allowance granted for the people who had lost their daily income, in line with the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“Irregularities with regard to the provision of the Rs. 5,000 allowance will be investigated,” said W.P.C. Wickramaratne, the Auditor General on Friday (15th May).
According to the Auditor General, the investigation has been launched, based on complaints received and the issues in the allowance scheme, brought to the attention by media on multiple occasions.
News 1st has been in the forefront of continuous reporting on the issues related to the Rs. 5,000 allowance granted for the financially affected families in the wake of COVID-19.
The most recent such report was on Estate workers being deceived by the Rs. 5,000 allowance; where Estate workers at the Mora Tea Estate in Bogawantalawa claimed they did not receive the Rs. 5,000 allowance.
The Auditor General noted, “The general public can continue to lodge any complaints regarding the Rs. 5,000 allowance.”
The investigation into the Rs. 5,000 allowance is being conducted under the supervision of a Deputy Auditor General and across the island on district and regional level.
In the meantime, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence in a letter addressed to the National Election Commission’s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya on the 17th of April 2020, also leveled allegations against the Rs. 5,000 allowance scheme.
The letter titled “Use of official voter registration lists without Election Commission approval,” stated, the Director-General of Department of Samurdhi Development had issued a circular on April 1st, with a letter dated April 12, 2020, “…to all District Secretariats requesting them to hand over the 2019 Voter registration lists to Samurdhi Bank Societies and Samurdhi Community Base Bank for the purposes of identifying beneficiaries and preventing the potential double-counting of beneficiaries.”
“Reports and information we received so far confirm that Samurdhi rural banks and Samurdhi officials are using these Voter registration lists in many areas of the country for purposes other than the social relief programmes,” noted the CMEV, in its letter.
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