After a week UN FAO Country Representative Patrick Evans replied to our queries. Interestingly, Patrick has never denied they paid US$ 1.57 million to “ghost” companies. He says; “The issue you are raising has been thoroughly investigated and addressed in a proper manner.” But we beg to differ and can categorically state that the UN FAO Country Representative is in a cover-up game.
I arrived in Sri Lanka at the end of July 2008. It was a time of soaring food prices and we had a programme funded by FAO to supply seed paddy to farmers in the eastern province to boost paddy production. Having launched a tender process to purchase seed we issued purchase orders to a couple of seed suppliers in September 2008. I met with one and was discussing the order and he mentioned that he had not heard of the other which I could not believe was possible in such a small country. So I investigated and found that we had problems locating the supplier and subsequently arranged for a full audit investigation from our Headquarters. The results were that:
1. no money was stolen or lost
2. all inputs were delivered to the beneficiaries and were of suitable quality
3. no crime was committed
4. transparent procurement procedures were not properly followed
5. immediate action was taken to correct the situation including removal of the staff member involved and publication of an article in the local newspapers informing the public of the same and over the past few years:
1. FAO has had a major role in supporting the re-settlement process in the north and east of Sri Lanka assisting returning IDPs to resume productive livelihoods. Since 2009 we have supplied more than 15 million USD worth of seed (paddy, green gram, black gram, cow pea, ground nuts and vegetables) to vulnerable families in the east and north of the country. Millions more have been spent on agriculture tools, fishing equipment, fruit trees and provision of livestock for vulnerable families.
2. the current maha paddy harvest is the largest ever recorded in the country and we had provided seed paddy for over 100,000 acres for this current season (we provided even more the previous season to help bring up production for the re-settling families)
3. FAO continues to assist the Government to addressing priority needs in the agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry sectors.
This is the news. The issue you are raising has been thoroughly investigated and addressed in a proper manner.
|Patrick T. Evans
FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
UN Compound, 202, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94-11-2580798 , +94-11-2588537 , Fax:+94-11-2587990