The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) ordered the Land Reform Commission (LRC) to take action against an employee for receiving two salaries. During recent COPE proceedings, chaired by Professor Ranjith Bandara, the senior leadership of the LRC was questioned about a lawyer who had received two salaries while also serving as an investigator. COPE ordered the LRC to recover 1.7 million rupees and other compensation from the lawyer and conduct a disciplinary investigation.
COPE also referred to the failure of the LRC to collect two billion rupees from various government institutions.
COPE addressed several issues with the LRC while instructing Lands Ministry Secretary Chulananda Perera to update the Land Reform Commission Act and take steps to restructure its operations. The oversight committee asked Perera to submit a report within six weeks in this regard.
The LRC appeared before COPE on October 21 when the latter reviewed the Auditor General’s report for the year 2020 and its current performance.
The Committee made several recommendations to the commission and it was decided that the Land Reform Commission would be reconvened before it within three months to review the implementation of these recommendations.
Expressing concern over the transfer of a particular land, the COPE chair called for a report on land transfers over the past 20 years within a month.
It also recommended the establishment of a task force to identify and estimate the value of land and recommended that the ministry secretary report to COPE within two weeks on the details of the responsibilities assigned to the task force. The Committee recommended the appointment of the Surveyor General or his representative as well as the Government Assessor or his representative for this working group.
In addition, the parliamentary watchdog referred to the “2018 project of
distribute 10,000 plots of land” and (Prof.) Ranjith Bandara, the President of COPE, recommended that a detailed report on the progress of this project be given to the committee. In particular, he recommended that the 214 people recruited on a temporary basis for this project be discussed with the management department and that a final decision be taken to include them in the number of employees approved and, if necessary, that they be referred to Cabinet for approval.
COPE also recommended that the procedure of the Agrarian Reform Commission be incorporated into a national land distribution policy and that the necessary arrangements be made.
He also suggested updating the 50-year-old Land Reform Commission Act to fit the current context.
In addition, the Public Enterprises Committee recommended that within two weeks, the Organic Fertilizer Project, which was initiated by the Land Reform Commission and has been temporarily suspended at a cost of Rs 350 million, be transferred to a state agency that has knowledge of fertilizer products.
The missing records from the Land Reform Commission were also discussed and the COPE committee advised the commission to immediately submit the missing records to the Auditor General.
The Committee also recommended that immediate action be taken to resolve existing issues regarding previously identified beneficiaries under statutory assignments.
The opinion of the Auditor General on the financial statements of this commission was rejected for about 10 years, the opinion was given to prepare the financial statements properly and to ensure that the annual reports are tabled in parliament within 3 months .
COPE recommended taking action against the alleged company to recover the amount of 17 million rupees paid to a private computer company for the creation and development of a fully integrated computer system and to take disciplinary action against the officials involved in the the case.
In addition, the COPE committee also recommended filing a lawsuit within two weeks to recover the amount of nearly Rs 12 million for the 6 acres of land awarded to a private company without tax deed in the area. of Homagama. He was also instructed to inquire and report to COPE the failure to reach an agreement and to charge 4% instead of 6% of assessed value.
COPE recommended that disciplinary measures be taken against the officials concerned for having rented the building where the headquarters of this commission is located, exceeding the government evaluation of the year 2016 without a rental contract, contrary to the decision of Cabinet and that immediate action be taken. taken to move the office to a government building.