7 April, 2020

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Canadians Continues To Fund Corrupt ICES Even After A Damning Evaluation Report

By Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

This expose` is sequel to an earlier expose` of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), Colombo, Sri Lanka, published online in Colombo Telegraph on January 17, 2016.

While the previous expose` revealed the process of research fraud committed by the ICES on an on-going research and advocacy project (Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women – GrOW Sri Lanka) funded jointly by the Department for International Development (DfID, UK), International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada) and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA) and administered by the IDRC, this expose` will reveal financial fraud committed by the ICES on two research projects funded by the IDRC from 2006-7 to 2008-9, according to an evaluation commissioned by the Peace, Conflict and Development (PCD) Programme of the IDRC. Dr. Mark Hoffman of the Department of International Relations, London School of Economics was the author of the foregoing Evaluation Report dated May 2009 who undertook fieldwork in Sri Lanka for this evaluation in October 2008.

Since I did not receive my salary for over two months since the commencement of the GrOW Sri Lanka project, on December 15, 2014 I wrote to Mano Buckshi (Grant Administrator at the IDRC, Ottawa) (copied to Madiha Ahmed) telling him that “I suspect that the GrOW money is being spent on other activities of the ICES which is why the delay in payment of my salary, buying laptops, and hiring personnel. This is my speculation because I do not have any evidence. I cannot figure-out any other reason for the foregoing delays.” The Grant Administrator assured me that “we will certainly consider your account of how the project is unfolding when the program visits with the institution and its project staff in early 2015 as part of our regular monitoring. We would expect ICES to honour its contractual obligations and hopefully the issues you have raised and from which you are directly impacted will be resolved shortly.”

The Senior Programme Specialist overseeing the GrOW Sri Lanka project in Ottawa, Madiha Ahmed, and Dr. Navsharan Singh (Senior Programme Officer) from the Asia Regional Office in New Delhi visited Colombo and the Northern Province in early February 2015. Madiha Ahmed told me that the IDRC Regional Office in New Delhi will conduct an audit of the GrOW Sri Lanka financial accounts at the ICES. During a Skype conversation with me on August 07, 2015, Madiha claimed that IDRC did not find any financial irregularity in their audit of the project accounts at ICES and promised to send me the audit report, which I have not received to date (January 2016). However, Mark Hoffman in his Evaluation Report dated May 2009 has revealed the same financial fraud at the ICES, which I had suspected in GrOW Sri Lanka project, in two previous projects funded by the PCD / IDRC during 2006-7 to 2008-9.

The IDRC has funded two research projects entitled “Post-Tsunami Reconstruction in Contexts of War: A Grassroots Study of the Geo-Politics of Humanitarian Aid in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka & Aceh,Indonesia” (project no.103614) and “Diasporas, Transnationalism and Global Engagement: Tamil and Sinhala Transnational Communities and Networks in Canada and their nexus in Sri Lanka” (project no.103776) between the period 2006-7 and 2008-9. The Principal Investigator of the former was Dr. Malathi de Alwis and the latter was Dr. Rudramoorthy Cheran (a replacement for the originally proposed Principal Investigator Radhika Coomaraswamy).

Mark Hoffman (2009) claims that “IDRC has a long standing working relationship with ICES.”…….and “…….some of the lead researchers on the projects (Malathi de Alwis and Radhika Coomaraswamy) being ‘know quantities’ to the PCD/IDRC programme officers added to PCD/IDRC confidence about the sustainability of the two projects. As is discussed later in the report, the faith in ICES may have been misplaced, especially in the area of financial management.” (Page 12)

The evaluation report by Mark Hoffman highlights the methodological weaknesses and non-fulfilment of the comparative analyses proposed originally; i.e. in the post-tsunami study, the comparative perspective of Aceh and Sri Lanka as well as the comparisons between the east, north, and south of Sri Lanka never materialised. (Page 16) Indeed the post-tsunami research completely abandoned fieldwork in the eastern and northern provincesof Sri Lanka and concentrated entirely in the southern province due to the deteriorating security situation.

The aforementioned Principal Investigators (Malathi de Alwis and Rudramoorthy Cheran) have told the evaluator, Mark Hoffman, that “the pool of researchers associated with ICES had become ‘institutionalised’, working primarily in elite language (English) and in an elite, Colombo-centric mind-set. They tended to be people ‘stamped’ with an overseas MSc and were not as ‘street wise and smart’ as some of the ‘homegrown’ researchers were. As one interviewee wryly noted: ‘Their primary skills seemed to be an ability to function in English and socialize easily at ICES events with the international community’. The lead researchers were also disappointed in the quality of the research produced by the available pool of ICES researchers.” (Page 19)

On the issue of financial probity of the ICES, Mark Hoffman noted that “Its (ICES’s) capacity for financial management was deemed by PCD / IDRC staff to be ‘surprisingly weak given the amount of funding it was receiving and controlling’. Senior researchers on the two projects noted that the institute would regularly use funds from one project to cover costs on another. Some of these problems were known to PCD / IDRC as it sent in a financial control to provide assistance and staff training in the area of financial control. It is clear that as a result of the revelations, ICES’s reputation within Sri Lanka has been tarnished and senior staff are slowly disengaging from it, which over the medium term may undermine its research credentials.” (Pages28-9)

He continues “These failings do not apply solely to ICES. Instead, ICES’s problems may be fairly typical for a number of the older, more established Sri Lankan research institutes. The implication for IDRC partnering is that it may need to turn to some of the newer institutes which tend to be staffed by a younger generation of scholars with better management skill and who are more resourceful, in responding to changes in the political and funding environments.” (Page 29)

Mark Hoffman had explicitly urged “PCD to explore new researcher partners outside the ’usual suspects’ while maintaining links to existing partners and geographically expand outside the ‘metropole’ and the dominant country locales.” (Page 31)

Mark Hoffman argues that “The development of research capabilities needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner at different levels. There is the need to build up an indigenous, non-metropole research capacity which has access to and the trust of local populations, fostering an awareness and understanding of local dynamics, able to interpret information/findings within a local context, and to assist in giving voice to the local as a counter-balance to external and/or metropole-centric view of the societal dynamics at play…………….In pursuit of its capacity building objectives, PCD may need to develop a closer monitoring role with regard to how extensive it is, how deep it is and how sustainable it is rather than leaving this to reporting by lead researchers and lead research institutes.” (Page 32)

According to Mark Hoffman, the evaluation of the two projects funded by the IDRC and implemented by the ICES Colombo from 2006-7 to 2008-9 “is not an accountability evaluation, but should be considered as a learning exercise.” (Page 4) I cannot understand what lessons have the IDRC learnt from the past experiences with the ICES Colombo because IDRC has since then partnered with the ICES Colombo on two projects under the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) and Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) Programmes.

I publicly call upon the Canadian Minister for International Development to probe the unethical and unrepentant conduct of the IDRC in Sri Lanka, especially its continuing relationship with the corrupt ICES, even after the damning Evaluation Report by Mark Hoffman of the London School of Economics in 2009. I understand that the Regional Offices of the IDRC do the screening of its partner organisations in different countries in the decision making process of the project applications. Mark Hoffman had interviewed Navsharan Singh at the Asia Regional Office of the IDRC during 2008-9 programme evaluation. In this circumstance, it is important to make Navsharan Singh and other decision makers in Ottawa accountable for the IDRC’s decision to accept the ICES as the sole grantee in the GrOW Sri Lanka project despite the fact that PPID was a co-applicant. I earnestly hope that the Government of Canada will do justice to its tax payers.

I also publicly call upon the Secretary of State for International Development and the Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom to probe the persistent unethical conduct of the IDRC in funding perennially corrupt ICES in Sri Lanka and review its development cooperation with the IDRC. Since both Arjan de Haan (Programme Leader, Inclusive Growth) and Madiha Ahmed (Senior Programme Specialist) have been long time employees of the DfID in London and Islamabad respectively, before joining the IDRC, they along with Mano Buckshi (Grant Administrator) should also be made accountable to their actions and/or inactions in the GrOW Sri Lanka project.

This and the previous expose` of the ICES in Sri Lanka raises serious concerns about the accountability of the countries such as Canada and the UK in funding corrupt and unethical civil society institutions such as the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in post-civil war Sri Lanka.

*Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Ph.D. Wales, M.Sc. Bristol, M.Sc. Salford, and B.A. (Hons) Delhi) is a Development Economist by profession and the Founder and Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development (http://pointpedro.org), Point Pedro, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. He was an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Monash University, Melbourne (2011 – 2012) and a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C. (2008 – 2009) who can be contacted on sarvi@pointpedro.org

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Latest comments

  • 8
    5

    Most NGOs are corrupt.

    Even during the days of the war, NGOs, just did overtime,finished work in three daas inthe war zone. After that there jeeps were parked near five start, seven start hotels. they got to go to see their families every month.

    that is how they served affected people.

    but, they always have to write damning reports in order get finances.

  • 4
    6

    Muthu why dont you just [Edited out]

    • 14
      4

      Tamil from the north

      Don’t call yourself a Tamil if you use such degrading language.

      It is disgusting.

      Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has the freedom to express his views. If you disagree, you put your own arguments against it and engage in a responsible dialogue.

      I am also a Tamil from the North but do not think and respond like you. You behave as though you are the sole authority on the Tamil issues.

      I hope this note will help correct you in the future.

      • 8
        4

        Rajasingham #2

        Did you not read how the other Rajasingham degraded the CM and all Tamil politicians describing them as “maggots wallowing in blood”! Did you have any wise-words for him?

        Had you read Saravana’s tasteless critique of the CM recently, and quite sometime ago on the then budding artist MIA, then you would know what a slime-ball tactic he pursues, so unbecoming of an educated one, let alone a dignified researcher!

        • 2
          8

          Here comes the menacing Kumar R.

          Being the breed of the menacing Rajasingham and proving to be a turncoat in the evolving post war Tamil society, I leave it to you to let loose your wise words or go further head down and worship the CM.

          All what you said herein is reflection of your own character of hate, prejudice and ego centric preoccupation that you should direct at your own proven embodiment of malice and ego centric scatter brain approach to very serious issues.

          Instead of limiting your stir frying to your kitchen you are using your skills and ability in a way to prostitute with your maverick mindset that will only plague towards further decay in your progressing frustration over your downright failures in your life.

          You are mentally sick needing serious rehabilitation.

          • 4
            2

            Rajasinghams,

            Kumar R becomes menacing only because you guys try to sell snake oil, and when confronted asking for forthright responses all you can do is either go on personal attack with absolutely no credibility or relevance, or crawl back into crevices that you pop out from time to time!

            As a vivid, unmistakable illustration of you deceit, let me repeat the question that I asked you last time you were in this blog and which made you take a hiatus for possibly three or four months!

            You were full of praises for a seemingly new group Non-Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka, saying that you happened to attended one of their meetings, and you were so impressed by the eminent Tamils and their views expressed at the meeting. Among all the different political groups you felt this group was somehow singularly the best for all of the Tamil issues!!

            Based on your comment, I asked you if you would be candid and disclose if you are part of that group, perhaps even an executive, and asked if you feel these eminent Tamils have such marvelous credibility and standing among the Tamil community, why will you not identify them so as to justify your claim? You had no answer – why? Isn’t your silence incongruent with your pretense of championing “transparency”? What in the hell are you trying hide?

            • 3
              4

              Kumar R.

              I will only explain to someone who is naïve and not to a person like you who is seriously suffering from some form of chronic disorder arising out of deep down frustration and failures.

              By responding to my forthright comments, you have revealed identity. Thank you very much.

              Let me be very frank. You are a frustrated woman living with a frustrated man and using his name in reversal to discharge hate against us brothers as we too are Rajasinghams.

              Both of you have so far established a history of failures after failures and evidently engaged in nefarious activities for some time now. This is the product of both your violent past.

              Having established how frustrated you are and that you have nothing else to do other than flirting in the CT to extend your frustration arising from your failures, I once again ask you to seek some form of psychological or medical help to redeem yourselves.

              When you see me in a public form next time, please do not run away. I am glad to see you face to face and respond to your frustrating and menacing queries to be witnessed by others.

              • 3
                2

                Rajasinghams,

                You both keep ranting that you know me, and my life, among your other pointless comments and blatant lies. Now you think I am a woman who lives your neighbourhood.

                If that indeed is the case, I challenged you to identify and expose me. I made this challenge earlier, perhaps a couple of months ago – and you disappeared promptly. Now that you have re-emerged from the burrow that you guys inhabit, I challenge you again – identify, expose and shame me, if you are not lying!

                Are you such a coward that you can’t take up a challenge on your very explicit claim? ANd, from a woman at that?!

                [Edited out]

              • 2
                0

                This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

          • 4
            2

            Rajasinghams,

            Sure, I will remain menacing, and very menacing at that, until you cease to be a threat to the community with your rogue, selfish initiatives with shamefully ulterior motives. If not, why is it not possible for you to be forthright?

            All your obviously borrowed and dug-out colouful language is a reflection of sheer frustration – nothing more. Perhaps you are unaware, but that is all just a great source of amusement for me – being so frustratingly menaced, and diverted from your intended fraudulent motives!

            • 3
              4

              Kumar R.

              Your ugly crusade in your manly name and your failing egoistic mission proves the scale of your frustration that only the infected scratchy street dogs will display.

              I do not need to borrow any ones language and further write within your menacing and mendacious remit. Just because you have cramped the English dictionary, it does not give you the honours to sit in judgement.

              Your credibility lies with your own self. Everything you discharge is virulent hate and ego centric diatribe. Your own history lies with violently braking away from the prison and to enter England clandestinely and to gain your certified asylum status that you are ashamed to frame and hang on your walls.

              Your sickening and menacing behaviour is familial and your failed life has made you an embodiment evil and a frustrated person. Evil that stinks in everything that you have engaged.

              I stop there without going further as it will be very personal.

              • 4
                2

                Rajasingham,

                You just keep proving what a slime ball you are – unable to substantiate any of your claims or to be forthright. Tells much about upbringing. Shameful!

                You both have repeatedly claimed having known me personally – and I have given you every unreserved right to expose me if so. What is holding you back, if your claims are not based on utterly selfish narrow objectives, dishonest masquerades and feigned concerns for the community topped with a massive dose of psedo-intellect as you most thoroughly revealed in the tuk-tuk episode.

                You seem frightened of a woman in your neighbourhood – all I can say is “Good for her!” Mirandavan kannukku irundathelam pei!! Menacing indeed!

                • 0
                  2

                  [Edited out]

              • 2
                0

                This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

              • 2
                0

                This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

          • 3
            2

            Rajasinghams,

            Kumar R becomes menacing only because you guys try to sell snake oil, and when confronted asking for forthright responses all you can do is either go on personal attack with absolutely no credibility or relevance, or crawl back into crevices that you pop out from time to time!

            As a vivid, unmistakable illustration of you deceit, let me repeat the question that I asked you last time you were in this blog and which made you take a hiatus for possibly three or four months!

            You were full of praises for a seemingly new group Non-Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka, saying that you happened to attended one of their meetings, and you were so impressed by the eminent Tamils and their views expressed at the meeting. Among all the different political groups you felt this group was somehow singularly the best for all of the Tamil issues!!

            Based on your comment, I asked you if you would be candid and disclose if you are part of that group, perhaps even an executive, and asked if you feel these eminent Tamils have such marvelous credibility and standing among the Tamil community, why will you not identify them so as to justify your claim? You had no answer – why? Isn’t your silence incongruent with your pretense of championing “transparency”? What in the hell are you trying hide?

            Sure, I will remain menacing, and very menacing, until you cease to be a threat to the community with your rogue, selfish initiatives with frightening ulterior motives. If not, why is it not possible for you to be forthright?

            All your obviously borrowed colourful language is a reflection of sheer frustration – nothing more. Perhaps you are unaware, but that is all just a great source of amusement for me – being so frustratingly menaced, and diverted from the intended frauds!

            (This is the full comment I sent – somehow, only the last two paragraphs got posted first – perhaps an inadvertent oversight on my part).

            • 0
              3

              Kumar R.

              [edited out]

          • 2
            2

            Rajasingham Jayadevan “Here comes the menacing Kumar R. “

            no he is live and kicking on CT

            here comes the menacing Rajasingham Jayadevan

      • 4
        2

        Rajasingham Jayadevan “Tamil from the north .. You behave as though you are the sole authority on the Tamil issues. “

        Tamil from the north…you are stepping on Rajasingham Jayadevan’s toe. Only he is the self appointed sole authority on the Tamil issues.

        • 2
          3

          Rajash

          You thrive on telling Gonibilla stories by enjoying anonymity with your bogus name.

          Say many thanks to CT for allowing you enjoy scatter brain crusade in anonymity.

  • 4
    5

    Hey Rajasingam Jayadevan I am not writing in this manner because I am an authority on Tamil issues but because I am tired of this rascal from Pt. Pedro making up stories about issues at hand. I know what he did sometime back to a person, how he denigrated that poor individual based on absolute garbage and speculation, branded a legitimate charity an LTTE front and many other things. I have issues with this low life shi&. So I will write what I want and you write what you want. So bugger off.

    • 4
      4

      Tamil from the north

      I can understand your feeling.

      This culture of propping up hate is rampant and I experienced it from the day I initiated the peace process in Sri Lanka in 1999. It started with UK LTTE activists and then to be substituted by the former LTTE cadres settled in the UK. Nasty things were done including bringing hell to the Charity I run. Two partners in marriage of Convenience of the LTTE are still on the rampage against me.

      I did my part legally and they were learnt hard lessons. It is much a trouble free terrain now, except for the two founding partners of the LTTE who are in matrimony.

      I hope I will get the opening to face them in a statutory forum to respond to their hate campaign.

      Amount of time wasted with these trouble makers is a blot in my life which I could have used purposefully for my own betterment and the community.

      Please score your anger in a sensible and cynical manner without going to the gutter level of using utter filth. It will not help you.

      • 2
        0

        [Edited out]

  • 3
    4

    @Rajasingam, remember this rascal from Pt. Pedro and another two fellows fabricated and let out some crude uncouth comments about a charity which educates kids from hard hit areas of Vanni. The other two slime balls are living down south………….Ambalavanar and Michael Roberts. After slinging all kinds of dirt at this wonderful charity run by very highly educated individuals, they realized they screwed up. They simply crawled under a rock and hid for sometime thinking people will forget. No man, I will never forget what they did. They also attacked this ex-LTTE lady for writing a memoir of her life in the LTTE. I have read this dirt bag’s comments……………….his conclusions of her was all drawn from his wild imaginations and attacked this poor girl mercilessly in public face to face. What kind of a PhD is he? He is not a PhD, he is a scumbag. Now you take this as a lesson, people react this way for a reason. If you are going to question my motive, there is none. But let me tell you this, you attack me then I will turn around and attack you back. We ran away from a nasty war from racists among the Buddhist low lives from the south and LTTE murderers. Muthu should be shut down, otherwise he will start his pranks again. These are the dirt bags who are the main reason for the demise of the Tamil community.

    • 7
      3

      I wonder whether, it is men like him, ready to swim against the tide and deal with issues objectively,who will ensure the survival of the Tamil community. Only time will tell!

      Dr.RN

      • 2
        5

        Rajasingham,

        So, what you have now conceded is that the tide is actually against Saravanan’s views, meaning the tide is really siding with the CM?!

        I thought you guys were just arguing that the masses were opposed to the CM, and the CM would lose if he had to face an election!

        What gives?? Logic challenged, vis-à-vis tuk-tuk?!

        • 0
          3

          [Edited out]

      • 4
        2

        My comment above refers to Dr.Muthukrishna Sarvananthan.

        Dr.RN

        • 2
          2

          Rajasingham,

          Of course you are! And, so am I !!

          Previously you wrote to the effect Saravana’s criticism reflects the sentiments of the masses who are now disenchanted with the CM, meaning the “tide” was with Saravan — that Saravana was swimming WITH rather than AGAINST the tide! Saravan was then your hero for being with the tide.

          And now suddenly, Saravana is the lone ranger, the hero that you expect to swim solo against the tide to bring relief to the suffering masses of Tamils, who ironically make that tide! That “tide” is now selectively flowing against Saravana, and Saravan the hero!

          (It is sad that this has to be spelled out to a PhD!)

          These are your illogical arguments of convenience, grand standing, and “writing entirely for publicity, nothing more” as another commentator rightly pointed out.

          If you have even a modicum of sincerity would you not have addressed the question of reimbursing MR’s stolen funds that you partook in gobbling up, and which came at the expense of these slipper-less 80 students and their families on whose behalf you were pretentiously shedding tears just about a week ago? What made you suddenly go so starkly mum on that account? Too ashamed to concede the truth or too cheap to return the money.

          Your canards, grandstanding and fraud can go on only for a limited time, before they get exposed.

          (I can only hope CT does not find this noncompliant, given that CT felt it responsible enough to let you generalize all the Tamil politicians as “maggots wallowing in the Tamil blood”)

          • 0
            3

            [Edited out]

  • 4
    4

    The Colombo Telegraph is wasting time and space in recognizing these Rajasingham brothers. They write for publicity only. Do not contribute anything. Please consider this before publishing any of their writings. This column has not benefited anyone.

    • 2
      4

      The Colombo Telegraph is wasting time and space…
      since the end of the war and the end of the Rajapakse regime CT struggling …not the fault of CT, this is due to the political and economical change it Sri Lanka. we are still far cry from any progress though

      • 3
        3

        Rajash

        First of all correct yourself and come clean before trying to sit on high grounds to correct others including the CT that gives you the space to enjoy your gutless anonymity.

        Remove your fake mask and write sensibly to comments without discharging your charades.

        What a hypocrite you are.

        • 2
          0

          Rajasingham Jayadevan [Edited out]

  • 2
    3

    Rajasingham Jayadevan – CT and others can be corrected because they are sensible and will take on board constructive criticism.
    you are beyond stupidity!

    • 3
      2

      Rajash

      What a patronising comment to keep your ding dong comments to be published in these columns forever.

      First of all, you got to come of your bunker mentality to talk about others.

      Such veeraya verses are made when you you are in the twisted knickers. Only you can solve your mess even if you have to medical attention.

      Keep on ranting to help your sadistic network happy.

  • 2
    3

    ding dong !

    Absolutely right ….you have not grown out of your nappy
    so here is the poem for you to sing when you go to bed.

    Ding dong bell
    Pussy’s in the well
    Who put her in?
    Little Johnny Flynn
    Who pulled her out?
    Little Tommy Stout
    What a naughty boy was that
    Try to drown poor Pussycat,
    Who ne’er did any harm
    But killed all the mice
    In the Farmer’s barn!

    Ding dong bell poem

    • 2
      2

      Rajash

      Thanks for acknowledging your love for ding dong bell.

      This is what I was saying all throughout about you and your sickening frustration.

      Keep on singing to further enhance your excitement.

      • 1
        1

        I understand why you keep referring to ding dong…
        ding ding mani osai.. gives you income and excitement

        • 0
          0

          Rajash

          Weird thinking of a creepy. Going cockade at times.

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