Fingerprint attendance machines worth Rs. 30 mn discarded in health sector



Second from left Director General Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena. (Pic courtesy parliament)

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Ministry officials have informed a sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee that fingerprint attendance machines procured at a cost of Rs 31.08 mn in 2017 are idling because workers refuse to use them.

The officials who appeared before the sub-committee included Ministry Secretary Janaka Chandragupta and Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena.Maj. Pradeep Undugoda (SLPP) heads the sub-committee tasked with examining the Health Ministry under heavy fire for waste, corruption, irregularities and mismanagement.

The House committee summoned the top management in the wake of Dr. Ramesh Pathirana succeeding Rambukwella as the Health Minister.

The committee was told that there were 213 unused machines procured in terms of a circular issued by the Ministry of Public Administration.  Asked to explain the failure on the part of the Health Ministry to implement a government directive, the officials claimed the machines could not be used due to workers’ protests aginast them.

MP Undugoda pointed out that the health service should adhere to measures taken by the government to tackle corruption and also increase efficiency.

Director Legislative Services / Director Communication (Acting) Janakantha Silva, in a statement issued yesterday (16) said that the House sub-committee expressed its displease over the failure on the part of the ministry team to answer a spate of questions raised therein.

During the proceedings it was also revealed that a supplier of perishable goods to Angoda hospital who declined to payback additional payments received on the basis of bankruptcy was found to be a contractor for the health ministry.

Health ministry officials admitted that the money couldn’t be recovered due to lapses on their part in finalizing the contract in terms of guidelines given by the relevant procurement committee.