Painstaking efforts by the all-powerful Executive Director of the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu have failed to cover up the organization’s white collar crimes, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
On October 10, 2014, Colombo Telegraph exposed corruption related to CPA – billing for un-held workshops, double billing scandals; i.e getting grants from two donors to do the same task and duplicating receipts, hotel bills and other bills to submit to donors (perhaps even submitting same bills to multiple donors), and hoodwinking donors by filing expenses under safe cost columns.
The particular Exposé was related to cheating two donors; the European Union (EU) and the United Nations’ Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Colombo Telegraph had continuously raised the issue with the CPA related to serious allegations – non compliances with standard procedures, fraudulent transactions and unethical practices committed – since 8th of June, 2014, giving the organization every opportunity to clarify and clear its name if indeed it had done no wrong. Unfortunately the CPA indulged in time-wasting tactics totally at odds with the organization’s rhetoric on transparency and accountability. The CPA never offered a comprehensive response.
Instead of responding to us, on December 13, 2014 the CPA denied any wrongdoing, supporting the claim by publishing an Executive Summary of a ‘forensic’ report by a company called Corporate Doctors (Pvt) Ltd,
The report itself is said to be 22 pages long. The compilers of the report offer the following disclaimer: “the executive summary is prepared based on the detailed report attached in Annexure 1 with a view of providing an overview of the outcome of the engagement to the reader. Therefore in case of any ambiguity or misunderstanding noted in the executive summary, the full version of the report given in Annexure 1 should be referred which should be taken as final.”
Colombo Telegraph urged the CPA to publish the full report since the executive summary published hardly cleared the CPA given information held by us and shared with the CPA. We did so since the published document itself essentially urges readers to refer to the full report if further clarification was required.
Instead of responding to our request the CPA has deleted its post form CPA’s official Facebook page. We copied the deleted post prior to the deletion. (Click here to see the deleted posts).
The Executive Summary of their findings can be read here.
Now let’s examine the conclusions of the so called forensic auditors.
Based on the available information and documents considred[sic] in above audit procedures applicable to the period covered in the audit scope, we could confirm that:
1. We have not found any duplicate payments made by CPA relating to the cocktail party held in Galle Face Hotel (GFH). CPA has paid only once against an “Accounst [sic] Statement” issued by Galle Face Hotel in the name of Namal Perera of CPA. The fate of the bills exhibited in the website were not known but we did not find any proof of using any of them for making the payment to GFH or in claiming this expense from the Donor European Union(EU). This payment had been claimed only from one Donor i.e. EU. Therefore we conclude that duplicate payments not made to vendor and this payment was claimed only one time from EU.
If “the fate of the bills exhibited in the website were not known but we (the auditor) did not find any proof of using any of them for making the payment to GFH or in claiming this expense from the Donor European Union (EU)”, did they contact the Galle Face Hotel to find out the authenticity of the bills published by the CT?
“CPA has paid only once against an “Accounst [sic] Statement” issued by Galle Face Hotel in the name of NamalPerera of CPA .” We have never said the CPA paid several times to Galle Face Hotel. Our question was, ‘Why did the CPA obtain different bills from Galle Face Hotel instead of submitting the original bill?’ What has Namal Perera had to do with this particular project? He had no engagement whatsoever with this project. He worked under Sanjana Hattotuwa in a project called “voice of reconciliation” – a multi million Canadian dollar project funded by “The Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society” (IMPACS), where various corruptions took place. The project funded and initiated the website Groundviews. CPA was about to go bankrupt due to Hattotuwa’s handling of the funds. Did this auditor interview Namal Perera? Have they checked the financial reports submitted to the IMPACS to find out if indeed there was double billing?
There is another question that went unanswered. The original bill issued by the GF Hotel says it is for 60 people (BQT Cocktail reception) The bill under Namal Perera’s name says; ““BQT – National Meeting Dinner for 100 people”. Why is that?
(Click here for the original bill which says for 60 people part one – part two , click here for the second bill and third bill and click here for the fourth bill which says “BQT – National Meeting Dinner for 100 people”).
2. According to different invoices issued by GFH as quoted by CT website, there had been a liquor related amount of Rs.66,547/50 included in the total bill of Rs. 152,047/50 paid to GFH. We are unable to confirm whether CPA produced the Account statement or any of the bills issued by GFH published in CPW for claiming reimbursement as we have not inspected any acknowledged copies of claim documents. However, we have inspected the report issued by EU auditors Moore & stephens (Chartered Accountants) on the said project, who have not given any adverse comments about not producing any claim documents. Further, we did not find any specific prohibition on claiming “liquor related” expenses under the “eligible costs” described in article 14 of the EU contract conditions. Therefore, we can not conclude that CPA has cheated the donors by submitting bills with incorrect descriptions.
Of course you cannot find out those original bills in the CPA accounts, because they have not submitted original bills to the donors. How can EU auditors raise those issues, since they could not have been aware of alcohol consumption with CPA submitting camouflaged duplicated bills? Obviously these “forensic doctors” have no knowledge about EU guidelines. Every time EU funded projects, they conduct special training to project coordinators and the accountants in beneficiary organizations. Did this auditors question the CPA accountant or EU to find out whether it is in line with EU policies or not to use EU money for the purchase of alcohol? Claiming for alcohol is not possible and this is why the CPA managed to obtain camouflaged bills hiding the actual spending.
3. Invoice from Havelock Bungalow matches very closely with the activities of CPA project and the same amount paid to this vendor by an employee of CPA had been reimbursed by CPA as a cost of dinner and the full amount claimed from EU. The invoice published in CTW had many liquor items and was not found in CPA records. Since the contract conditions did not prohibit claiming liquor bills we conclude that there was no fraudulent manipulation in claiming them from the donor.
Of course the auditors cannot trace the original bill since the CPA submitted camouflaged duplicated bills. Did the auditors request the relevant information from Havelock Bungalow to find out whether the Bill published by the CT is authentic or not? Auditors must name the “employee who claimed the bill. They should also explain under what line item the CPA paid back the said amount? No donor listed prohibited items in the main contract as we commented above they train the beneficiaries and explain what to do and what should not.
4. Two different projects on “Public Service Media” were running paralally during this period with EU and UNESCO and some activities had been carried out jointly. But the same expense had not been claimed from both donors.
If the CPA had done it, they should have mentioned and reported to the donors, but none of the CPA’s quarterly reports mentioned this fact! Can the auditor or the CPA disclose the activities carried out jointly?
5. Based on project updates reviewed, both projects had been completed and the finacials of CPA published the finance details in line with the standard disclosure requirements.
The auditor came to this conclusion based on “project updates”. The issue is those project update reports are not correct and they were misleading and blatant lies. Is camouflaging original bills a standard practice?
6. According to project updates, four panel experts had been paid Rs 123,000 (not Rs. 100,000 as published in CTW) based on the budget agreed in the proposal. Based on project updates inspected by us, we found all 4 panel experts got them selves involved in the relevant project.
According to the finance and project reports the amount allocated was 4,500 Euros. Did the Auditors talk to the working group? Are there any minutes to establish the truth or otherwise of the allegation that they never met as a group or never even in a group email communication?
7. Based on the project update reports, the 2 projects had been successfully completed.
The auditor came to this conclusion based on “project update reports”. The issue is those project update reports are not correct and they were misleading and blatant lies.
While we wait for the CPA to publish the so called forensic report in full, Colombo Telegraph can give you few minor examples of the way CPA had cheated the donors.
*. The quarterly report for the period Sep-November 2006, submitted to EU – Under the subheading “One-day training seminar for journalists” says; “4th September Kalmune, Zahira Collage auditorium for 31 Muslim journalists. Trainers: Uvindu Kurukulasuriya/ Athula Vithanage from CPA” . This is a blatant lie. The fact is Uvindu Kurukulasuriya was asked to deliver a 20 minutes lecture on “Public Service Media” at the venue of a Muslim media organization’s function that day. Uvindu, Athula Vithanage, Poddala Jayantha and a member a Muslim media organization call Munavar travelled form Colombo. Uvindu delivered the 20mins lecture and Munavar translated it into Tamil language! It was not a one day workshop on Public Service Broadcasting. ( Click here and here for the report )
*. The first quarterly report – March-May 2006 says that Sunanda Deshapriya was appointed as the Project Coordinator. This was also a lie. Sunanda was the Head of the Media Unit. He was a full time paid employee. His salary was paid from co-funding. (Click here to learn about co-funding.) According to the project proposal and the CPA financial reports, Sunanda’s fee was Euro 5,400. Not a single cent was given to Sunanda, but CPA said to the EU that the sum was paid. On or around March 20th 2007 Sunanda’s money was withdrawn from the EU/CPA project account. ( Click here, here and here to read Euro 99,497.16 budget )
*. Another Gall face Hotell bill – the original bill (number 0996), signed by Sunanda Deshapriya says it was a “half day seminar”. The camouflaged bill for the same date and for the same amount says; “ BQT- Full day seminar’!! ( Click here for the original bill and click here for the camouflaged bill)
Colombo telegraph is in a position to provide more hard evidence to prove how the CPA has been cheating donors in this particular project as well as other projects implemented by the CPA. We urge the CPA to publish the full report of this investigation respecting “transparency and good governance” and answer our simple questions we posed to the CPA last June.
Colombo Telegraph first asked the CPA to respond to certain questions based on our investigations on 8th of June, 2014. The CPA, after exchanging a few emails finally said: “We consider further communication with you futile and reiterate our position that these allegations are clearly mala fide’.”
We responded as follows:
“It is of course your prerogative to communicate or refuse to do so, but there are troubling questions that remain.
“Can you tell us which of our allegations are mala fide?
“Can you tell us whether the CPA and the International Federation of Journalists together have submitted proposals to UNESCO and EU to do a “Public Service Broadcasting” campaign/training or not?
“If “yes” can you tell us what workshops were, for whom and where they were held?
How many workshops were held using UNESCO funding and how many workshops under EU funding?
“Since both EU and UNESCO funded workshops and certain activities, can tell us how much monies were given by both funders?
“Contrary to your claim that the “CPA paid the Galle Face Hotel liquor bill”, Sasha Ekanayake (the Unit coordinator at that time) said CPA submitted a bill to EU as drinks and food “Since (we) can’t charge liquor, the CPA submitted a different bill to CPA”. This means the CPA got a different bill from Galle Face Hotel instead of submitting the original bill (a copy of which I sent to you). Would you agree?
“As we said before it’s not our duty to provide you documents. As you have implied in your last email, you have access to organization’s document so please check them.
“But don’t assume that we don’t have documents, we have all narrative reports which CPA submitted to the donors or a file of original bills, which the CPA did not submit to the donors.
“Just so you know, all documents are authentic and we can prove this if necessary.”
These are questions and comments that are based on damning documentary evidence in the possession of the Colombo Telegraph. The Colombo Telegraph finds it appalling that a strong advocate of checks and balances, accountability and transparency such as the CPA remains silent on the allegations.
Apart from above Colombo Telegraph can today reveal that Dr Saravanamuttu who was the paid supervisor, (according to the project documents his fee was 6,000 Euros for 20days) he was told by a whistleblower what was happening with regard to this project at that time it was happening. He asked the whistleblower to provide “hard evidence”. The whistleblower met him 6 years ago and provided him hard evidence. Although he agreed to take an action, but up to now he has failed to do so.
Exposé: Centre For Policy Alternatives Defrauded And Hoodwinked Donors
CPA’s Powerful ED Dr. Sara Is Travelling, CPA Says It Needs Two Weeks To Respond
Nirmal Condemns Hypocrisy Of “NGO Tribe”
CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 16 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Maintains Silence On Damning Charges
CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 23 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Says ‘Verification Of Documents Underway’
CPA Remains Silent: Genuine Intellectuals Should Stay Away From These Corrupted NGOs: Dr Amarakeerthi
Exposed: Rights Advocacy A Gateway To Lavish Lifestyles
Response To Article In Colombo Telegraph
CPA Hattotuwa Must Answer Instead Of Dodging And Misleading
Sunanda Saga, States Of Denial And NGO Accountability
Pasel / January 28, 2015
Compare to MR looting this is peanut
Renuka / January 28, 2015
Saravanamuttus are robing money according to the money they received from donors – Rajapaksas were also same. Saravamuttus get millions and Rajapaksas got billions. Same boat Pasel
Palmsquirrell / January 28, 2015
Millions? Haven’t seen claims of the discrepancy being in the millions.
Rajapaksa robbed the public while CPA, if the allegations are true, ripped off some of their donors.
It’s like comparing a street crook to the leader of an international drug cartel. The International drug cartel leader is a small time crook compared to International bankers that rig the system.
Janakie / January 28, 2015
Defrauding Sunanda’s money it self one million, what are you talking Palmsquirrell ?
Javi. / January 29, 2015
At London there is a newsprint “Private Eye` that is sold at the stands.
If this case as it stands now was something that took place in the UK even with a ruling minister involved and published in the Private Eye` then Scotland Yard would be at it immediately.
A favorite of the old guard left parties fed up with new parties-all corrupt.
It’s the media the 3rd house that can stop lobbyist like these working for charities.
Its all non taxable funds that go in and go out- so they take the piss off folk who need it most. As it is 90% do not reach the public its meant for therefore China is on the rise with its prison labor and infrastructure.
kambuandballs / January 29, 2015
Mr Saravanamuththu is a great person. Don’t subject him to baseless allegations. When everybody ran away from the country he was there is Colombo to raise voice for the innocent people!
Activist / January 29, 2015
@kambuandballs – “raise voice for the innocent people”? He was paid to do that. No volunteer work! The story above shows that apart from his salary, he was paid 6,000 Euros for 20 days. Do you need any more proof?
Javi. / January 29, 2015
Once again, Danda and Andda (stick nd eggs)
you are in pain because your very being has been exposed.
Opportunity made him the thief.!
You dont seem to be different.
RSS has more than danda for elk like you.
Analyst / January 29, 2015
No one is guilty until proven otherwise. The public is not the judge and jury. OK??
Analyst / January 29, 2015
Mud slinging and digging dirts by the Media and websites are the right thing to do the rest is for the Eminent Lawyers to thrash it out in courts TO PROVE THE INNOCENT GUILTY. All getting very interesting folks.
Come on More Mud and Dirt we need to hear CT. Are there enough courts and Eminent Lawyers to serve justice to Brow beaten SRILANKAN CITIZENS???
Khema / January 28, 2015
Saravanamuttu, what are you hiding? Please please please publish the full report!
Shiro / January 28, 2015
If these accusations turn out to be correct, it is such a shame, that people like this are so dishonest, they will stoop to such crime, and completely deprive the deserving poor of help they badly need. How can humanitarian agencies trust us, and help us, when so called Sri Lankan NGO’s are ripping them off?
At the end the poor people of Sri Lanka suffers.
Dr. Saravanamuttu should either be open and clear this up, or never bring dishonor to those who truly help our people. Power begets greed and personal ambitions, as we have come to learn these last few days.
Javi. / January 29, 2015
“” How can humanitarian agencies trust us, and help us,””
This exactly is the way they run : just like the unexpected windfall the Tsunami bought into the west. Within 3 months the money that is not used goes to another project and so forth. Who is going to bell the Cat??
The charity commissioner is a political appointee seated on a rocking chair like god and expects all under him to be honest.
Honesty is the best policy but the man who follows it is not an honest man.
Recently when the police infromed the british govt that a couple of charities are into terrorism that he quickly got them to show cause and these were found guilty.
Did he plug the loopholes? No because that is part of social engineering.
thondamannar / January 28, 2015
Pakayasothy Saravana Muththu are robbing from the donors who had created sh.t for which they have been entrusted to clean up.
Once MR on a visit to USA has replied to an Under secretary thus; “Unfortunately my terrorirsts are not no0t muslims & my war is diffrent to what you speak of terrorists .”
So next round in the air for Saravana Muthtus and the NGOs in Sri Lanka. Christian West will come to create the next mess in SL for the NGOs to clean up.
$$$$ will flow & NGOs go to town.
NEW WORLD ORDER ……….. Morning Brew.
Then certain sections will begin to think of the Known devil.
K.A Sumanasekera / January 28, 2015
This Dude doesn’t look like a White Collar Crim ..Does he ?..
I mean he has dedicated his PhD and all his life to protect the Elite and their culture, their privileges and their power , besides giving the LTTE and its Chief a helping hand, on Alternative Policies..
The Dr can’t do these tasks , eating Vegetarian at Saraswathie Lodge, after a few drams in a Wellawatta Pub.
We all good citizens should feel for these dudes, including poor Hotta who got the chop for a lousy piss up.with his mates, which only cost a couple of hundred Dollars…
Javi. / January 29, 2015
Its the opportunity of how charities work that made him the criminal- one does not need a drink to employ family friends as auditors- most charities in the west do.
There is an Irish journalist bloke I know who came to London with the troubles and involved with supplying labor to local councils- today he is `the trade union` heading one of London largest charities; never conspicuous with ministers at launching but no minister or public from any party can touch him and he wont retire having established a trust where only he has the say which is the new fountain of the charity.He is very good at media blitzing any whistle blower- his wife left him feeling ashamed that he used her initial contacts of lawyers and merchant bankers to be this.
The west is beginning to learn that charities are a bigger farce than the church it tried to replace with social scientist. Most school teachers on retirement run christian churches- that was from the initial concept that followed because few like to be in seminaries at young age seeing the chocolates and glamour.
Naga / January 28, 2015
People like this guy Pakiyasothy Saravamuthu join the NGO wagon to lead comfortble lives on the dollars dropped by the Western countries to carry out their neo-imperialist agenda. This neo-imperialist agenda agenda is disguised as good governance and rule of law.
Revelations here by Colombo Telegraph proves that guys like Pakiyasothy have no respect for good governnance when it comes to the administration of their own NGO affairs. In a way guys like Pakiyasothy are worse than the politicians. In the case of politicians, people know that they are crooks who invest money and buy the people’s votes to get to Parliament in order to be get positions as Ministers and Deputy Ministers. But, most people think these NGO wallahs are angels and champions of great virtues. They are sadly mistaken about the true nature and intent of these NGO guys.
My thanks to Colombo Telegraph for exposing Pakiyasothy Saravanamuthu’s true colours.
Analyst / January 28, 2015
Naga. They are there for a good time on someone else’s Dosh. These organisations it’s time to change your culture of impunity. You join these organisations to uplift the poor and needy not for your own GOOD LIFE.. Mind boggles with
what intentions they join .
paul / January 28, 2015
Clear as mud. Absolutely poor attempt at investigative journalism and even worse forensic accountants report. If this is the level we have sunk to only the almighty could save our country..
Analyst / January 28, 2015
Paul. What are you worried about have you been a party to the above mentioned expenses at the upper crust hotel.???
If so it should bother you. They were not your money you stooped to the level to have a FREE MEAL AND BOOZE.
HURRAY to the DONORS from your point of view.
pachoris / January 28, 2015
Saravanamuttu has an upper crust aristocratic [Edited out]. I wonder if he uses[Edited out]
. He does seem to live it up at 5 star hotel bars and restaurants a lot. Has extravagant tastes. He needs the money.
Javi. / January 29, 2015
his name itself says he is from merchant class not ruling.
Analyst / January 28, 2015
These are charity funds spent on eating and boozing isn’t it the norm for each person attending the meal/meeting to pay their own .I know a bit about charity and Funds. Funds are not your own they belong to the public organisation. Any partying should be from your own pocket not from the public money. Funds Donated by various organisations like UNESCO / EU were for the use of workshops etc for the Srilankan people not to go and Booze and enjoyed by the CPA..New Regime please watch the kind of public organisations does not mis use the donations given to use for genuine projects and not to be wasted on ‘Kala Beela ‘.
STRICT REGULATIONS ON PUBLIC FUNDS NEW REGIME PLEASE WATCH THE CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS
ISSUED WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT..THE PAST CANNOT BE BROUGHT BACK THE PRESENT CAN BE CHANGED WITH NEW BRUSH.
Kamal Gurusinghe / January 28, 2015
Deleting CT/Uvindu’s requests and the whole post from CPA Facebook page itself is enough to judge what is CPA and who this Saravanamuttu is. Shame shame, this man must not be invited to any of Human Rights or Freeeeeeedom of Expression seminars hereafter.
Horagolla Kapila's friend / January 28, 2015
Game kollak ( UG Kapila [Edited out] ) had to resign from his position as a “dish washer’ form “Pol Athu Kade” hotel situated in front of “Hora Golla Wallwwa” after been only accused of stealing foods. Why cannot Saravanamuttu?
ambi / January 28, 2015
Thanks CT for exposing all wrong doings. keep up the good work. We too have a duty to transend beyound all labels such as ethnicity/religion/caste/language and fearlessly support the cleaning up procedure. This is the only way to bring in an ethical just society for ourselves and future generations. As I have mentioned before in this blog I have faith that we will have a SL that can be a role model to the rest of the world. The good people cannot stay back and expect others to do the job, we must get involved in any small measures we can.
Javi. / January 29, 2015
Fine Chinese Philosophy: Nothing matters to a man who says Nothing matters.!
Emil Soundranayagam, Raj Rajaratnam now You?? Que Suppi??
justice / January 29, 2015
All foreign NGOs appoint a local auditor who sends periodical reports to the NGO’S chief auditor abroad.
P.Saravanamuttu would have been aware.
If he erred in spite of this, he may have known that the NGO would not consider such matters, serious enough to remove him from office – which has not happened.
CT’s tenacity in pursuing this affair is puzzling.
Is there someone waiting to step into P.S’s shoes?
Javi. / January 29, 2015
rich don’t pay taxes anyway.
The Tax office in general don’t ask the tax consultants many questions-
UK departments are not networked because they call it `nosing`and the Euro has no fiscal policy for London to be the financial hub of the world.
Do you expect UN NGO and EU NGO to be networked by any chance No unless there is terrorism they don’t move.
Rabok / January 30, 2015
It is not only Dr. Sara – this a common practice of many of the NGOs in this country – I have worked in one of the Big NGO for about nine years – so I perfectly know how they hoodwink clueless whites with their big talks laced with universal truths and ethics – I really do not think any of these NGOs practice what they preach – When these white color robbers submit their proposals to various international NGOs with their own agendas they usually itemize many non existing items in their budgets and claim money against these items with bogus bills and receipts – of course INGOs do support these claims and consider them as standard practice – NGO / INGO is an business of master hoodwiners
vishvamithra / February 2, 2015
Dear Dr Saravanamuttu,
I am one of your students at the BCIS. I had a great trust in you and Dr Rohan Edirisinhe but I am sure like me so many of your students have many questions about your integrity now.
I am not happy at all about the way you responded to the issues raised by Colombo Telegraph and we request you to provide full and detailed answer and I believe that failure to do on your part only damage your character and reputation.
Henna / February 4, 2015
What a low life this Muttu is?
premawathi james / February 8, 2015
A friend if mine calls him [Edited out]!!
Well he sure seems have come a long and crooked way [Edited out]
Parkiasothy or Sara or [Edited out]!!