June 07, Colombo: Professor Ranjith Bandara, Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) took stern exception at the non-compliance of the Board of Geological Survey and Mines Bureau that despite this being the third time it was summoned before the committee, no redress had been made for outstanding issues.
The Chairman especially voiced his displeasure at the fact that this entity had the unceremonious or of having the highest number of public petitions against them amongst other Public Enterprises.
● Inconsistency with the rehabilitation of lands.
The meeting commenced with the Chairman being extremely critical of the fact that per the auditor general’s report, there was insufficient measures to rehabilitate lands that have been excavated. Further inquiries led to the understanding that the monetary consideration taken as security for land rehabilitation was found to be insufficient resulting in the inability to rehabilitate the excavated lands. Direction was given to review the percentage that was charged as a security to ensure that it would be sufficient enough to cover the cost of rehabilitating excavated lands.
● Inconsistency with the collection of licenses.
On scrutiny of data with regards to licenses, it was found that the practical procedure for licenses to be issued was inconsistent with the governing act and found to be arbitrary. There was evidence to show that issued licenses had been arbitrarily cancelled without any methodology and this was indicative of malpractice and possibly fraud. It was found that despite the authority given to the bureau to issue licenses, applications were still being forwarded to the Minister of Environment for the issuance of licenses. Members of the Committee expressed their serious concern with the lack of governing independence with this practice.
● COPE Chairman appoints an independent legal contractor
Professor Ranjith Bandara proceeded to implement a stern directive via an independently contracted legal officer to sort through any and all misappropriation within the bureau. Further, a sub-committee already appointed by COPE to look into the processes within the entity and ensure that procedural propriety was ensured will continue with their mandate.
MPs Prof Ranjith Bandara (Chair), Jagath Pushpakumara, Janaka Wakkumbura, Shantha Bandara Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Attorney-at-Law, Mahindananda Aluthgamage Dayasiri Jayasekera, Eran Wickramaratne Nimal Lanza, Sanjeeva Edirimanna, Major Sudarshana Denipitiya, Premnath Dolawatte, Upul Mahendra Rajapaksha, Madhura Withanage, Prof Charitha Herath were present at the committee meeting.