Prison manpower agency; Opposition reveals inmate labor exploitation fraud

Prison manpower agency; Opposition reveals inmate labor exploitation fraud

Written by Amani Nilar

10 Dec, 2021 | 4:05 am

COLOMBO (News 1st); Opposition MP Thalatha Athukorale, speaking at the Parliament on Thursday (09) alleged that the Department of Prisons had formed a manpower agency with the use of inmates.

Speaking at the Parliament on Thursday (09), during the debate on the budgetary allocations for the Justice Ministry and the State Ministry of Prisons the Opposition made several revelations on the exploitation of prison inmates.

SJB MP Thalatha Athukorale, speaking at the Parliament stated that according to the Prisons ordinance, inmates can’t be used for types of labor that generate revenue, and inmates cannot be allocated work for more than 48 hours a week, while medical advice must be sought if they are to be given hard labor.

Moreover, she pointed out that while such laws exist, the Department of Prisons had created a workforce using several inmates, and charges 3,500 for the services of an inmate daily.

The MP also inquired as to who receives these funds, and whether it is received by the Government or the Prisons Department.

Speaking further, the MP said that the prisoners receive Rs. 500 each and alleged that the Department is forming a manpower agency using inmates and are allowing some people to earn money through this exploitation. She also said that those involved in this fraud are also holding top posts as secretaries of certain institutions and ministries.

Meanwhile, SJB MP Mujibur Rahman said that in violation of the Prisons Ordinance, the Department is charging Rs. 3,500 for the services of each inmate illegally while giving inmates Rs. 500.

Pointing out that there is no source as to where the remaining Rs. 3,000 goes, the MP alleged that the company, Avant-Garde which works closely with the President is also involved in these illegal activities, and added that these activities are happening with the permission of the Defence Secretary while the Minister of Justice remains in the dark.

Later, a tense situation arose in the Parliament subsequent to this revelations as well.

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