Even though it has been several months since signing a contract worth Rs. 1 billion for a luxury building in Rajagiriya to relocate the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry is yet to relocate to the new building resulting in a colossal waste of public money. The Agriculture Ministry comes under the purview of Duminda Dissanayake, who is the Secretary General of the SLFP and a close confidante of President Maithripala Sirisena.
In February, the cabinet granted approval to relocate the ministry to a new building, at a cost of Rs. 21 million a month. According to Dissanayake, the Agriculture Ministry was asked to vacate the Govijana Mandiraya in Battaramulla and make way to house the offices for oversight committees of Parliament.
However, even though the contract was signed several months back and an advanced has already been paid for a period of two months, the ministry is yet to relocate to the new building.
According to sources, there was no proper tender procedure to select the building, and Rajagiriya building is owned by Upali Jayasinghe, the husband of a popular actress.
It is reported that even though the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts had earlier rejected the lease agreement on grounds that the Rs. 21 million per month rent was too high, the Ministry had gone ahead and signed the agreement for a period of five years.
Meanwhile, the National Freedom Front has lodged a complaint with regard to the deal signed between Dissanayake and Jayasinghe. The complaint has been made by NFF Parliamentarian Jayantha Samaraweera to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).