1 December, 2023


IDRC Had Raised Questions About ICES Financial Practices Long Before The Saravanathan Allegations

A Colombo Telegraph investigation has revealed that, in 2009, that is 7 years before Dr. Muttkrishana Saravananthan’s allegations leveled at the Colombo think tank and NGO the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), concerning financial improprieties, the same Canadian research funder, IDCR, had in an internal review come to similar conclusions as Saravananthan.

Dr. Navsharan Singh

Dr. Navsharan Singh

In a May, 2009 report, entitled, “ Evaluation of Peace, Conflict and Development (PCD) Research Support in Countries and Regions affected by Violent Conflict.” Commissioned by IDRC, Dr. Mark Hoffman, an independent reviewer of the Brussles based consultancy “channel research,” who is now with the London School of Economics, had this to say about two ICES research projects funded by IDRC. Noting that, there were “very favorable comments in the project planning documents regarding ICES as the partner institution,” Hoffman goes on to note, what he found:

“ The reality seems to have been otherwise… It transpired that institutionally it lacked tight administrative and financial management processes. Its 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 controler 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. While most of the field research on the post-tsunami project had been completed before these problems could adversely affect the research, it did encounter difficulties in making timely payments to some researchers because of the inadequacies in ICES’s financial management practices.” (p.28-9, Hoffman Report).

While IDRC own internal review – and this document is part of IDRC’s public web archive – had this to say about ICES more than 7 years ago, that Canadian institution still provided funding to the ICES for a Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program project, which Dr. Sarvananthan has now alleged was rife with financial improprieties.

Further, Colombo Telegraph has learned that Dr. Navsharan Singh, was an authorizing IDRC official in both programs, spanning a period of 6 years.

The question that needs to be asked in the public interest is this: “If IDRC, as it did, knew from internal evaluation, that ICES’ financial practices were suspect, why did it fund fresh projects at ICES, with out rigorous financial oversight? These are questions raised by Colombo Telegraph on behalf of Citizens of Canada and Sri Lanka.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2

    A research institution is only as good as the quality of the research staff and Publications. But ICES management and bureaucracy has a history of playing musical chairs with highly qualified researchers in order to swallow funds and spread conflicts between research staff. ‘Divide and rule’ is the management’s dirty game. This is fraud and nasty. Senior researchers know this and will not work there.

    So, ICES publications are half-baked and substandard today. Sadly, it claims to be a research outfit, but exploits senior researchers like Sarvanandan and treats with them with contempt, while selling CVs of senior researchers to gullible funding organizations like IDRC and Ford. ICES has no senior social scientist on a permanent basis and no ethics and not interested in quality research- only half baked legal policy work and making money.

    • 1

      While this may be correct about ICES, the Brusels based consultancy “Channel Research,” Belgium which gave a negative review of ICES, is an even more fraudulent Consultancy Company which gets big contracts from the European Union to evaluate global south research institutions. In order to do this they often need what the EU Evaluation Office terms “local Experts” and Channel research has a big racket going in obtaining and selling the CVs of highly qualified Sri Lankan consultants, who they drop after the contract in obtained. This has happened several times and some consultants in Colombo were considering reporting Channel Research – which is a phantom aid consultancy company to the EU. Channel Research, Belgium should be black listed by EU ODA brand.

      Several times this fraudulent outfit has got the CVs of highly qualified Sri Lanka researchers but once they got the contract from the EU they quietly drop the Senior Sri Lankan consultant and put in a junior person so that they can appropriate more funds.

      Channel Research, Belgium should be investigated for its own malpractices and it thrives on giving negative reviews to local organizations in the Global South, in order to get EU contracts and funds that should go directly to research organizations in the Global SOuth.

      Channel Research, Belgium is a Phantom Aid organization – another dimension of the European Union and IDRC’s foreign aid game!

      • 1

        It’s wheels within wheels… The development aid game.

        CT Editors maybe you should give ICES a break and investigate Channel Research Belgium and its shady game with European Union funds to short change Consultants and researchers from developing countries!

  • 2

    IDRC’s funding policies should encourage independent researchers like Dr. Muttkrishana to directly submit their proposals without going through power brokers or third party agencies that are managed by crooks.

    I was told that normally funding agencies would direct all PI’s to login to a website and force PIs to review all documents and approve it. Then only a proposal would be even considered to review it.

    It’s surprising to know that IDRC even funded a half million $ project without getting final approval for scope and budget from one of the PI!

  • 1

    How can we expect anything better than fraud and more fraud from the so called professionals. The whole country is full of EDUCATED FRAUDSTERS LET ALONE UNEDUCATED FRAUDSTERS.
    Since the fall of the Colonialism since the Sinhala race took over the country under the flag of majority the country was taken for ransom by the Politicians and the Half Baked Professionals who may have got their Qualifications through the back door. They too can be classed as uneducated but with the title bought by bribing.

    The children who are ADULTS now are they all FRAUDSTERS??? Certainly. They were the products educated by the so called present and past School Thieves Who bribed the Parents for their own GAIN AND Robbed government Funds allocated for our schools and school children present and past were not PUNISHED BUT THE CRIMES WERE SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET BY THE GOVERNMENT AND THE POLITICIANS.

    WE HAVE A COUNTRY FULL OF THIEVES. We elected a new government to CLEAN UP THE DIRT but they too appear to have joined the thieves!!! Then they have been thieves in the past government too.

    Oh !! Lord Buddha said not to steal , Lie or kill. What’s the point in one hand keep on lying in other hand crying wolf saying we are Buddhist and Buddha country leave us alone.
    Our country is leading in the world with all the bad deeds as fraudsters and criminals. Dishonest generations created by the dishonest crooked Teachers ,Principals, Politicians and finally by the Bhuddhist Clergies as well.

    We cannot move forward in the world with lies and dishonesty.
    It’s the gospel truth and the truth nothing but the truth , there’s no future for S L in the world. Good for those thieves in the country the moment a HANDOUT / WORLD FUND HANDED OVER freely by the world charities these vultures are there to bank it in their own banks/ safe havens. ( ie Swiss Banks)
    If it was not enough bribe the Parents and produce the present day children to future thieves to swindle the nation.
    Really a disgrace of a Disgraced Nation.

  • 1

    Is society as a whole, with few exceptions, become incurably dishonest in contemporary Sri Lanka? Leave aside the ruling politicians, most of whom have made corruption and thievery of public resources a fine art – some even a family business. The Police, the judiciary, School principals, Doctors in State service, Trade Unions – once looked upon with much respect – are all contaminated with this toxic vice – more so in recent decades. Even our Public Trustee and Supreme Court judges, long held in high esteem, fell by the wayside – tainted. Why? Is the coming of the consumer culture, after the flood gates of the Free Economy in the post-1977 was opened, the only answer.

    I believe it is time a group of honourable, learned citizens formed themselves into a body to study this scourge. A body of theologians from the different religions too should consider studying this decline and offer future guidance to build a more honest and responsible society.


  • 1

    Sri Lankan NGO racketeers think that as long as the funding is coming from outside the country, they are not oblidged to follow any Sri Lankan law.

    They make sure the powers-that-be at these NGO’s are wined and dined when they visit Colombo and a suitably favorable report is forwarded to the controlling body.

    The same is true at the other end of the pipe line. The head-offices of these NGO’s do not want to raise any corrupt practices of the past because it proves negligence on their part and sometimes their connivance too. That puts their funding streams in jeopardy. Just like govt-to-govt loans are diverted as commissions, the NGO funding is also split before the residual is spent on the project.

    So the best practice for all parties involved is to ignore, and then whitewash as necessary.

  • 0

    Every international organisation funding projects in various countries, have auditors who publish annual reports.
    Local auditors in each country appointed by the organisation provide periodic reports to the organisation.
    These are tabled at annual meetings/reviews and studied in detail.
    Members of the organisation also pay periodic visits to each country project headquarters.
    All this is usually insisted upon those who fund each international organisation.
    So, how could funds be used for unintended projects.

  • 0

    “If you do not fiddle the funds then you will not get any funds to fiddle” this is the great golden rule that governs foreign funding because “only those who fiddle funds can be made to dance to the tune of the funder” which is the second great golden rule of foreign funding.

    All fiddlers know this very well and they continue to fiddle very happily because they are born fiddlers and can do nothing other than fiddle. So happy fiddling my lovely little fiddlers and may your fiddles fiddle with joy.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.