Sri Lanka norm deals sans competitive bidding; breeding corruption, high costs: legislators

Mar 14, 2014 (LBO) – Unsolicited deals and awarding massive state contracts without competitive bidding has become the norm in Sri Lanka paving the way for corruption and inflated costs for the tax payer, legislators have charged. The constitution along with one in 1972 is also blamed for destroying the country’s independent public service headed by permanent secretaries, which has in turn led to a lack of rule of law and justice and the loss of essential freedoms for ordinary citizens.

Public officials are now tied to trees by the elected ruling class and made to kneel before them in some cases.

Without an independent public service headed by permanent secretaries the elected rulers have total control over the criminal justice system, critics say.

Wickramarante said one minister in the current administration had “proudly” told him that the cabinet was so efficient that one day, 45 cabinet papers in 45 minutes.

“Cabinet approval has lost its meaning because of the present Presidential system,” he said.

He said cabinet ministers stayed silent and raised no questions, undermining the entire process. Sri Lanka has a large and unwieldy cabinet reputed to be one of the largest or perhaps the largest in the worl