Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) currently run by a Board of Directors chaired by Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage who is an infamous acolyte of the Rajapaksa Regime as well as the current Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne, is running the hospital at a whopping loss of 4 million rupees a day, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
Kahandaliyanage’s career is tainted by securing a politically crafted appointment as the Director General Health Services which was contested in courts. He was also scandalously removed from a full time course at the PGIM for pretending to be present while working at his station. He then rose to the ranks of Secretary Ministry of Health through pure servitude during the infamous tenure of Nimal Siripala De Silva. Kahandaliyange to whom securing, protecting and protracting illegal appointments is a second nature has been the guardian angel of Dr. Susitha Senaratne, political acolyte and stooge of Rajitha Senaratne who has been illegally occupying the office of Director Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital since 26th March 2015.
Wool over the eyes of the law
The Board of Directors consisting of noted professionals have been instrumental in putting wool over the eyes of the law since 2015 by supporting Kahandaliyanage in this massive administrative irregularity as they too are acolytes of Rajitha Senaratne. With the exception of the three specialists who represent the interest of the hospital at the Board, no other member has protested this illegal appointment which is costing the hospital stupendous loss of revenue in the form of spendings and bribes to Susitha Senaratne.
Susitha Senaratne is intricately involved in the Procurement Process of SJGH and is illegally sitting at the Procurement Committee in his non appointed state. He is in the habit of determining TEC members appointed although it is the duty of the Chairman Procurement Committee, Kahandaliyanage to do so. Senaratne habitually interferes with the technical evaluation process by summoning servile member and dictating TEC reports. These include the maintenance engineer Victor who was found guilty of massive financial fraud through a disciplinary inquiry but was kept scot free for future use. It’s a small wonder that the hapless medical officer Senaratne who came only with his medical officer’s salary to SJGH bought a BMW 5X within one year of office. He crashed this vehicle in to a wall of the hospital and was found in a semi-conscious stupor. He neither paid damages to the hospital nor was an inquiry ordered by Kahandaliyanage. Instead Senaratne was promptly flown to Singapore ‘for medical treatment’ accompanied by Dr Upul Gunasekera, the PR officer of Rajitha Senaratne and close friend of Senaratne, spending public money. Photograph depicting their journey to Singapore below show no reasonable signs of life threatening illness of Senaratne to be air lifted to Singapore.
The quasi Director and the Chairman are in the habit of doctoring and manipulating Board minutes to give the illusion that the hospital is financially well off when the numbers tell a stark and different story.
It is also reliably reported to Colombo Telegraph that without bribing Senaratne no payment is processed at SJGH. If the hospital is doing well financially why is there a 50 million rupee delay in making the payments for the suppliers of SJGH? This is due to the fact that unless interim bribes are paid to Senaratne no payment reaches the suppliers. In fact a supplier of building works reported to Colombo Telegraph stating “we are tired of paying bribes to the Director and the maintenance engineer. We will never ever look in the direction of SJGH again for another tender”.
“President is calling me!”
In early 2018, the hospital accounts were not available for 3 months due to poor financial management and the Board took no action against Senaratne for this stark irregularity and illegality. This financial crisis was notified to the Auditor General and Senaratne famously evaded all attempts by the Auditor General’s Department for scrutiny. Finally when a team from Auditor General Department arrived Senaratne pretended to answer a call on his mobile phone, stating “the President is calling to me his office” and rushed out of the meeting. Subsequently the Auditor General’s Department officials submitted their observations that “Senaratne evaded and fled the audit meeting”. Colombo Telegraph inquiry found that there are no logs of entry of Senaratne to the office of the President, nor President’s Residence on this day.
A Board Without Morals
It is interesting to note that apart from the three specialists representing the Board no other member has had the administrative or the moral courage to question these serious irregularities. These members include Prof. Janaka De Silva who is a staunch supporter of Senaratne who has not had the professional integrity to question how a Post Graduate Training Institute where the PGIM (where Prof. de Silva is the Director) is sending trainees can be administered by a mere Medical Officer whose only qualification is political stoogery. Senaratne has been liberally commenting on Prof. De Silva at the Ministry of Health and other medical, administrative and counter- GMOA fora stating that he has secured so many favors for both De Silva and his wife (Prof Nilanthi De Silva) with politicians, negotiating political favours for the duo. Similarly Dr. Jayasundera Bandara (former Director General of Health Services) attending SJGH Board kept meek silence even when Senaratne declared to Colombo Telegraph that “qualifications are not necessary to be DGHS of Sri Lanka, and therefore I don’t need qualifications to be Director SJGH”.
Senaratne boasts that the current DGHS Dr. Anil Jasinghe was selected as DGHS over Dr. Sunil De Alwis (DDG ET&R) who was the most qualified candidate, due to his lobbying and influence on Rajitha Senaratne. Jasinge, accordingly ,has maintained silence on this illegal appointment thus far. Even respected accounting professional and expert auditor Nanda Lalith Senanayake, former DDG of Finance Anula Harasagama, Chamath De Silva, engineer by profession and Chairman of Waters Edge have not had the moral courage to question these administrative and financial frauds. R. Semasinghe famed for his arrest in relation to the infamous Sil Redi fraud of Lalith Weeratunga is the current representative of the treasury at SJGH Board. As a bird of feather he is the closest ally of both Kahandaliyanage and Senaratne is justifying the illegal appointment of Senaratne and a staunch supporter of all forms of fraud executed and perpetuated by the duo.
The current pathetic declaration of Senaratne is that even if he is kicked out of his non- existent appointment by the courts he will get the Prime Minister to appoint his as Chairman SJGH displacing Kahandaliyanage.
No Financial Viability
SJGH to date remains dependent on an approximate annual grant of 500 million from the Ministry of Health budget and is completely dependent on the state for payment of salaries and the procurement of equipment. In spite of many a grandiose claims made by Senaratne, minuted by Kahandaliyange at Board meetings, SJGH has plummeted in its financial viability and credibility over the last 3 years.
In the month of January 2018 the daily loss of SJGH was estimated at 4 million rupees per day in spite of the Chairman and Director screaming from their administrative rooftops that they have made SJGH “financially viable under their best administration”. Colombo Telegraph also draws attention to the first sentence of the document which clearly states” financial performance without considering the recurrent grant”. This clearly indicates that without the recurrent grant of the Ministry of Health SJGH cannot keep its financial nose above water in spite of grandiose fabrications by its Chairman and Director at different fora where they self-glorify their financial achievements.
Machines, Machines And More Machines
Senaratne is in the habit of influencing and coercing specialists to buy machines and consumables from the drug and equipment companies that are providing him inducement. He famously bought an inferior quality machine for the detection of heart attacks to the ETU against the advice of specialists from Analytical Instruments Pvt. Ltd infamous business wheeler dealer of the Ministry of Health. This machine which generates false positive results is endangering the lives of patients who are medicated with strong blood thinners when they do not have a heart attack.
He has been instrumental in securing janitorial supplies and other service tenders to those who bribe him liberally using the name of Rajitha Senaratne. In the immediate aftermath of his quasi appointment he summoned selected members of the TEC of the janitorial tender and coerced them to award it to Ultrakleen Pvt. Ltd claiming “they donated 1 million to Rajitha Senaratne’s campaign”. This open and public claim made in front of a number of employees shocked the onlookers and finally it was not awarded to the said tenderer by the TEC. It is widely believed that Rajitha Senaratne is largely unaware of the names dropping done by Susitha Senaratne liberally telling the suppliers that they have to bribe up the “Minister’s Share”. Susitha Senaratne also coerces money out of suppliers in the pretext of being Rajitha Senaratne’s relative, due to their shared surname, threatening adverse repercussions if they report to the Minister.
Colombo Telegraph investigation found that the secretary to the Director Anjana Sendanayake is the mediator for bribery negotiating, recording conversations and touting inducement. It is common knowledge that Sendanayake takes up to Rs 10,000 to 20,000 depending on the amount of bribe for the suppliers and tenderers to meet Senaratne. It is a small wonder that Sendanayake on a junior clerical appointment leads a lavish lifestyle not explained by a clerk’s income. Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that a group of resisters within are in the process of notifying Sendanayake to the Department of Inland Revenue and the Commission of Bribery and Corruption as a collateral measure.
Breakdown Of Discipline
While Senaratne goes on a rampage of bribe collecting in the name of Rajitha Senaratne, the Minister has been defending Susitha Senaratne at every forum. In a recent 10 day strike where 600 cadre of nurses took part in a continuous strike at SJGH that was a first in its 34 year old history, there was total breakdown of law and order among the employees. Violent and irregular union meetings, hooting, protesting and total breakdown of services ensued. Even after this catastrophic event that endangered the lives of pregnant mothers, ICU patients, young children and neonates Kahandaliyanage shamelessly claims and minutes that “this was the best Director and this is the best administration”.
Rajitha Senaratne at the height of the said nurses strike made a cameo appearance in the hospital premises to defend and supporting Senaratne shamelessly stating” I have appointed him. No matter how many people strike he will not go” referring to the appointment of Susitha Senaratne to SJGH. However, this appointment is now verdicted to be illegal by court of appeal by its verdict No: CA WRIT 184/2018, suspending Senaratne from the Board of SJGH. (By Chinthika De Silva)