Following the expose on the loot machinery of the Ministry of Health which includes the brother of Rajitha Senarante, Minister of Health and Dr. Rukshan Bellana, quasi Acting Deputy Director of National Blood Transfusion services (NBTS), the harassment and intimidation of medical officers continues at NBTS, Colombo Telegraph learns.
Colombo Telegraph exposed the attempt by Bellana to procure a NGS machine which is not a current priority to NBTS against the recommendation of technical experts in cohorts with the brother of the minister and Thilak Manamperi, the favoured business associate of Rajitha Senaratne. Premium International is the local agent for the NGS machine in Sri Lanka.
In the audio clip below, Bellana, the quasi administrator of NBTS claims that the brother of the minister is involved in the procurement process. He reveals that the minister’s brother has come to discuss the procurement of NGS machine and that he has summoned Jayasekera (possibly an officer of NBTS) and briefed him about the minister’s interest. He further claims that the Director General Health Services (Dr. Anil Jasinghe-Ed), Beneragama (Dr. Hemantha Beneragama-DDG -Laboratory services-Ed), Chandragupta (Janaka Chandragupta- Additional Secretary, Devolopment-Ed) have briefed him on the interest of the minister’s bother to purchase the NGS machine.
Bellana, who is occupying a top administrative post in the NTBS is a formerly interdicted officer whose current position is not sanctioned by the Public Service Commission. Janaka Sugathadasa, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, famed for his unique brand of Sugathadasa Slumber in administrating the Ministry the way Rajitha Senaratne wishes, continues to turn a blind eye to this stark violation.
Bellana, prior to the exposure by Colombo Telegraph, admitted to corruption and administrative manipulations done by himself having the “backing and the sanction of the Minister of Health, Secretary and the Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health” (Listen to the audio clip below). It is reported to Colombo Telegraph that whenever he is challenged, Bellana is in the habit of delivering similar veiled threats, referring to the ‘power’ he derives from Rajitha Senaratne and the top administration of the Ministry.
Further to the initial expose of Colombo Telegraph, facts are now revealed about the ways in which Bellana has been a lobbyist and ‘an agent’ within the system in his attempt to obtain a whopping 73 million rupee service and maintenance agreement to Premium International from whom over 280 refrigerators and freezers have been purchased without a service and maintenance agreement under the Peripheral Blood Bank Project. Having purchased the above without maintenance agreement in the first place, Bellana has sought permission to enter in to a service and maintenance agreement stating policy necessity.
Resistant and courageous TEC report
The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) appointed to evaluate the “Comprehensive Service and Maintenance Agreement for the Kirsch refrigerators (supplied by Premium International-Ed) and freezers supplied under the Peripheral Blood Bank Project” has issued a courageous and a resistant TEC report standing up to the coercion of Bellana and the Senaratne loot machinery, categorically stating the following, depicted by the documents below (emphasis-Ed):
1. At the initial procurement, no service and maintenance agreement has been entered in to.
2. Hence there is no point of reference to justify spending 73 million rupees on service and maintenance.
3. Since the procurement of the refrigerators and freezers from Premium International an unprecedented number of breakdowns and technical failures, not reported in the history of NTBS have been reported.
4. When failures are reported to Premium International they claim unavailability of spare parts and go through lengthy process of call for tender for spare parts to carry out repairs. These delays result in compromised quality of blood and blood products endangering the lives of patients.
5. In 2017 Premium International has only quoted for labor charges in their bid. In 2018 they have quoted for labour and spare parts. In this conversion significant mark ups were quoted but the after sales services have been dangerously lacking.
Hundred percent defective sample of refrigerators by Premium International
The Technical Evaluation Committee has made submission in its annexed document a synopsis of the status of freezers procured and maintained by Premium International across the Blood Banks in the island. In a sample of 24 freezers depicted blow 100% of the freezers are defective compromising the quality and safety of Blood and Blood Products all across the island. In turn the defective storage conditions of these biological products and reagents can compromise the life of critically ill patients leading to treatment failure, sepsis, allergic reactions and sudden death. It is amazing that the Ministry of Health should even consider spending 73 million rupees to Premium International annually to get more of the same. The Senaratne- Bellana- Manamperi- Rumi” Loot Quadroika continues to sap public monies through the loot machinery custom made for them, supported by the administrative impotence of Secretary Ministry of Health, Janaka Sugathadasa .
Deputy Director General (Laboratory Services)’s clear instructions
Bellana on 06.03.2018 has written a letter, produced below, seeking permission from Deputy Director General Laboratory Services to enter in to the said whopping 73 million rupee service and maintenance agreement, hiding full facts from the DDG (LS).
The DDG (LS) has documented clearly, giving strict instructions not to venture in to new purchases of machines in a background of underutilization of machines in the following manner:
“It is very important to sign these agreements for preventive maintenance and fast repair in case of a breakdown. You can get in to an agreement with the respective supplier (the rate should have been given at the time of purchase for at least five (05) years). In case you need allocation of funds you may contact DDG (LS). Also please make sure that the equipment available are not under-utilized. I understand that it has happened in the past. If the service requirement is present you must make maximum use of the existing equipment rather than purchasing new equipment. I understand that this has happened in the past”. Signed .DDG (LS). (Emphasis by Ed).
It is reported to Colombo Telegraph that in the aftermath of this saga the medical officer coordinating the Netherland’s Project at the NBTS has been transferred from that position by Bellana after verbally abusing the doctor.
The Medical Officers of the NBTS are expected to make representation to the Public Service Commission about the illegal appointment of Bellana to his current post in the NBTS as a politico-financial transaction between Rajitha Senaratne and Bellana where the latter supports the loot machinery of Senaratne’s acolytes and the brother. In exchange, a miraculous and illegal pardon to Bellana for defaming Maithripala Sirisena, Presidential Candidate and Chathura Senaratne , son of Rajitha Senaratne during the Presidential Election of 2015 has been mediated by Rajitha Senaratne. The track of Yahapalana government remains tainted with repetitive transactionary appointments, nepotism and administrative inaction in the face of gross violations of law.