Anticorruptsl.com, a website of indeterminable origin, has a damning expose of significant corruption and nepotism in the operations of Sri Lanka’s Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA). The article, which is in Sinhala, points to nepotism in the award of key contracts and huge anomalies in pricing and procurement. Four key examples noted in this article alone amount to over US$ 3.5 million in fraud.
I’ve included a PDF of the article here for those who don’t have Sinhala fonts, and in case this website is also suddenly blocked in Sri Lanka. It’s not clear from the Sinhala original what exactly the ICTA project referred to is, though I reckon it is ICTA’s Local Government Network Project.
Websites like Anticorruptsl.com, which give no information as to where they are based and what their sources are, need to be treated with skepticism. At the same time, websites like these can be an effective means through which whistle-blowers within institutions (e.g. highly placed individuals in management) can expose corruption without fear of retribution and harm.
The information contained in the report on ICTA includes scanned images of what appear to be, given the low resolution, faxed copies of original documentation. This increases the veracity of the report and at the very least, should result in independent inquiries by investigative media and key donors, including the World Bank, into what appears to be corruption on a very large scale over a number of years at ICTA.
What is also disturbing is the quality of equipment provided by ICTA as part of its e-gov projects. Anticorruptsl.com publishes letters from the DS of Redimaliyadda and the Galagedara PC, pointing to significant concerns and problems over hardware and software quality, networking infrastructure, internet service provisioning, support and quality assurance. Apparently, quality assurance mechanisms, included in the original contract, have never been adhered to.
The article ends by noting that,
SrdcmlI ckdêm;sjrhdf.a iDcq wëlaIKh hgf;a mj;sk ICTA wdh;kh w;aika l< fï .súiqu ksid remsh,a fldaá .Kkl uyck uqo,a úkdYù we;’ zzlÈu ck;djla – lÈu ÈjhsklaZZ (Smart People, Smart Island) hk f;audj hgf;a l%shd;aul jk E – Sri Lanka jev igyk wfma rfÜ zzlosu fidrlïZZ isÿlrk w;r ;ud foaYfm%añhl= hehs lshd isák kdhlhl= iys; fï rg zzlÈu ÈjhsklaZZnj fmkajd fohs’
English translation: This contract of ICTA, which is under the direct oversight of President Rajapakse, has already lost millions of rupees of public money to corruption. The e-Sri Lanka programme, operating under the mantra of “Smart People, Smart Island” has resulting in “Smart Fraud” in Sri Lanka. Condoning this corruption, we also have a leader who claims at the same time that he is a patriot in this “Smart Island”.