Several organizations will lodge a complaint at the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) on February 09 over an alleged loss of Rs 4,000 million to the Government resulting from a fraud where stocks of paddy are being sold to a few businessmen to make exorbitant profits.
The All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation (ACFF)/All Ceylon Peasants’ Union (ACPU), the Eksath Sahal Nipadhawannange Sangamaya and the Samasthalanka Kuda Saha Madhya Parimaana Wee Mole Himiyange Sangamaya will lodge the complaint at the FCID naming the Government, the Paddy Marketing Board and the Minister in Charge, President Maithripala Sirisena as the respondents.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s North Western Provincial Councilor and National Organizer of the ACFF/ACPU, Namal Karunaratne said that not only was there a misuse of public funds but that this also constituted a fraud.
“There was 234,800 metric-tons of Naadu paddy purchased at Rs 45 from farmers and 29,000 metric tons of Sambha purchased at Rs 50 from farmers, during the last season, in the Government’s stocks. Per a kilo of paddy, the Government has to incur an additional cost of Rs three. Tenders were called for Rs 39.80 yet no one came forward and when the small and medium scale rice mill owners requested the Government to pay only the cost incurred to refine the paddy into rice, this went unheeded. The paddy was then sold at Rs 35 and Rs 32.50 a kilo, thereby incurring a loss of Rs 15.50 per kilo. According to the Paddy Marketing Board Act a mechanism which satisfies both the producers and consumers must be established. The three or four rice businessmen who made the purchase and who control the rice market, then attach a label titled ‘super (supiri)’ and sell the rice at Rs 85. In actuality, the rice can be sold to the consumer at Rs 60,” he remarked.