Dr. Susitha Senaratne, quasi Director of Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) and Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage, Chairman SJGH have been consistently scheming and manipulating the process of implementing the Court verdict CA WRIT 184/2018 in an underhanded and illegal fashion with the blessings of Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns.
Dr. Susitha Senaratne, ordinary medical officer of Lady Ridgeway Hospital is nothing but a political acolyte and a stooge of Rajitha Senaratne. He was illegally appointed to SJGH in the aftermath of the formation of the Yahapalana government in violation of the common law and the all the administrative procedures including the release from the Public Service Commission.
Colombo Telegraph has exposed in the past the stark violations of this appointment along with the financial corruption committed by Senaratne as the quasi Director. He was also appointed as an ‘administrative consultant” to Lanka Hospitals where Lanka Hospitals paid him Rs.1 million to study an online MBA from the University of Adelaide. This claim was verified by Senaratne to Colombo Telegraph.
In the aftermath of a nurses strike which was compounded by support from other categories of staff, where the hospital came to a standstill for ten days, two employees challenged the legitimacy of the illegal appointment of Senaratne.
The court of appeal in its verdict No: CA WRIT 184/2018 specifically states that the quasi Director Susitha Senaratne cannot attend Board Meetings henceforth. Further the verdict clearly states that the position should be advertised within one month of 18.06.2018 and that a DULY QUALIFIED Director should be appointed following application.
Contempt Of Court: Plan A – Attempts To Scrap PGIM Qualifications
Ever since this verdict was issued Susitha Senaratne and Athula Kahandaliyanage have been acting in the most deceitful and underhanded fashion lobbying with specialists and trying to create an illusion of support for the quasi Director. Prior to a specialists meeting held on 22.06.2018 Senaratne spent hours calling and lobbying with the specialists to agree to get a common letter issued in his support to tout for political support to sneak back in to the position.
It is reported that at this meeting several specialists were touted by Senaratne to convince the forum that recognized qualifications offered by the Post-Graduate Institute of Medicine are not needed to be Director SJGH, thus attempting to pave way for Senaratne’s online MBA to be included in the required qualifications. However with the large dissent shown by the majority of the specialists who claimed that the law of the land and not individual customization of Schemes Of Recruitment should prevail, this move was aborted. There was no consensus to support Senaratne’s illegal attempts by the rest of the independent specialists. It was also pointed out that where a court order prevails the individual personal views of specialists do not matter in the eyes of law and would be viewed as contempt of court.
The Lawful Stance Of the Management Services Department
The Director General Management Services Department in his letter dated 21.06.2018 has clearly informed the Chairman SJGH to abide by the 184.108.40.206 Medical Services Minutes of the Sri Lanka Health Services stipulated by the Extra Ordinary Gazette of 1883/17 when considering the required qualifications for Director SJGH. We produce the letter below.
Contempt Of Court: Plan B- Kahandaliyanage- Senaratne Sneaking Behind The Board
When their first attempt at the contempt of court failed, Kahandaliyanage and Senaratne ventured Plan B where Kahandaliyanage attempted to manipulate the order given by the Director General Management Services Department by sneaking behind the Board in writing a letter dated 26.06.2018 requesting the Management Services Department to sanction the inclusion of unrecognized qualifications for registered medical practitioners in to the Scheme of recruitment for Director SJGH.
He has included falsehoods in that letter where he has stated that specialists have been recruited to SJGH under similar circumstances. He also indicates that in view of the financial viability that SJGH wants to achieve this illegal move is needed. However Colombo Telegraph has exposed the deterioration of the financial status of the hospital under the current management where it is running at a loss of 4 million per day.
Contempt Of Court: Plan C – A Bandwagon Of Stooges Go To Rajitha Senaratne
Senaratne-Kahandaliyanage engineered a desperate Plan C where he got 21 servile ‘managers’ who have been given irregular allowance inducement up to Rs 30,000 to their salary by illegal means to sign a letter pleading with the Minister of Health to retain the current quasi Director. These persons include the Chief Matron and three other matrons who themselves are irregular appointees to their positions. The insiders of SJGH claim that the most shocking signatory to this letter is Acting Deputy Director of SJGH Dr. Prabhath Werawatte, a qualified professional in Medical Administration assigned to SJGH by the Ministry of Health.
Werawatte, who is a professionally qualified Medical Administrator must be the only Deputy Director of a teaching hospital who is more qualified than its Director who is a mere medical officer and a political stooge. It is interesting to note that even he who has professional and legal insight in to this stark and shameless administrative irregularity against his own specialty has place this signature to this letter full of emotional appeals, illegal and irrational justification of retaining a completely unqualified political stooge in a responsible position. We produce below the illegal document in full:
Contempt Of Court: Plan D – Entangling The Specialists In The Mess
In a backdrop that all plans of deceit are crumbling Kahandaliyanage and Senaratne have engineered one last desperate attempt of Plan D to drag the specialists of SJGH to the feet of Rajitha Senaratne to coerce them to make a similar appeal as the ‘managers’ to retain Senaratne illegally by amending the lawfully approved qualifications. We produce an image of the email circulated by Kahandaliyanage stating that “The Hon. Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine has AGREED (emphasis- Ed) to meet the Consultants of Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital at 3.00 PM on Wednesday”.
Kahandaliyanage’s Role As A Liar
When inquired by Colombo Telegraph Kahandaliyanage categorically denied trying to manipulate the course of action ordered by the judiciary. “Regarding the Directors appointment what the court has ordered was carried out by me as ordered by the Board. I will refrain from commenting on it. If there is contempt let the court handle it,” he said.
We produce the extract of his email to Colombo Telegraph below.
“This is in response to your mail below which I saw just awhile ago. Thanks for the enquiry made. Appreciate it. What I am giving below is the truth. What you are informed does not seem to be correct. If you need evidence some one can come and verify please.There is no attempt by me to to change the recruitment scheme for the Director post of SJGH. Infact I had asked for a suitable recruitment scheme for this post from DG Management Services by my letter dated 08/02/2018 and a reminder dated 23/5/2018 for which I received the Management Services approved Recruitment Scheme by post, only yesterday, 03/07/2018, delayed due to the postal strike.
“A marking scheme was faxed to me on 22nd July without the recruitment scheme. The original letter of this too was received by me by post only on 03/07/2018. In the absence of a recruitment scheme when I received the Marking Scheme I had to consult DG Management Services about a Recruitment Scheme to suit SJGH as SJGH is not listed in the Medical Services Minute in Gazette No1883/17. You may find that out if you scrutinise this gazzette. All major Hospitals are gazetted except SJGH.
“However I have NOT arranged a meeting with DG MSD on 04/07/2018. That’s not correct. I do not know whether someone else has requested for a meeting but not me.
“On receipt of the Scheme of recruitment and Marking Scheme from Management Services (MSD) on 03/07/2018 I prepared a Board Paper recommending it to get the approval of the Board at the Board meeting scheduled for 04/07/2018, for both recruitment scheme and the marking scheme sent by MSD.
“Once approved by the Board of SJGH the advertisement would be published using the Board approved scheme in the Sunday papers on 8th July 2018 calling for applications for the post. Even the draft of the advertisement based on the already Board approved Scheme was made ready for Board approval on 04/07/2018.
“I have called my Secretary, Head of HR and Deputy Manager Robertson to get me the files containing the interview documents to get the sample Advertisement and the marking scheme used when Dr Lanerol and Dr Gamage were selected.
“I wanted to present it to the Board on 04/07/2018 for its approval. But when I received the MSD approved documents I decided to submit them.
“I do not understand what you mean by taking Robertson for the meeting. There is no such meeting arranged on 04 /07/2018. Therefore it’s not applicable.
“I have no intention of doing any manipulation to keep Dr Senaratna as Director. I appreciate the good work done by him whilst covering up the work over the last 3 years but that does not qualify him to be given the permanent post at formal selection. The best qualified person selected by the selection Panel has to get the post.
“As Chairman of SJGH I will ensure that the selection process will be done according to the law as prescribed by the courts. There cannot be a contempt of court at any cost. I shall not be a party to keep him illegally. In fact I have discussed this matter with some Board members and have agreed in principle to be transparent in the whole process.”
Specialists Speak: “We Know That It Is Contempt Of Court”
When contacted by Colombo Telegraph several consultant at SJGH responded. “I am not aware that we requested for a meeting with the Minister for him to “agree to meet the consultants,” one specialist remarked. Another responded: “We never requested a meeting? This is just another attempt by the Chairman and the Director in entangling the Consultants in their mess”. “We do our duty in our wards. The Chairman and the Board should have done their lawful duty. They have failed miserably. Why are they dragging us in to this? They should abide by the law and let us do our job,” a consultant said. It is reliably reported that Kahandaliyanage has summoned another Board Meeting this week to misrepresent facts and lobby for the change of the recruitment criteria already advertised in the newspapers as per the court verdict. It is also reliably reported that the party involved in litigation will be filing for contempt of court following this Board Meeting which is held for the sole purpose of further manipulations. Observers in the Ministry of Health and SJGH are of the view that this fiasco of by Kahandaliyanage and Senaratne to scuttle the process ordered by the judiciary will be a hallmark of the decaying and insincere rule of Yahapalanaya. (By Chinthika De Silva)