US$ 1.57 million ( Approximately RS 167,000,000.00 – valuation 2008) was paid to supply companies which the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations could not contact.
The FAO in Sri Lanka purchased project deliveries for the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka to a value exceeding US$ 1.5 million from three suppliers. These suppliers could not be found at their given registered addresses. Two FAO staff members Niranjala Gunaraj, Finance Assistant, and Thevarajah Vaigunthan, National Project Officer, both attached to the FAO Emergency Unit, collected the payments on behalf of these three companies.
We asked the UN to publish the report of the investigation it claimed to have carried out. We wrote to the FAO Country Representative, Patrick Evans and Assistant FAO Representative (Administration), Dihan Hettige, asking what happened to the inquiry findings but they have so far failed to send us the investigation report.
‘’Interestingly, Patrick has never denied they paid US$ 1.57 million to “ghost” companies. We can categorically state that the UN FAO Country Representative is in a cover-up game’. We asked more questions form Patrick Evans in an open reply but UN FAO has so far failed to respond.
The issue was not addressed in a proper manner. Patrick says: 1. no money was stolen or lost, 2. all inputs were delivered to the beneficiaries and were of suitable quality,3. no crime was committed, 4. transparent procurement procedures were not properly followed and 5. immediate action was taken to correct the situation including removal of the staff member involved and publication of an article in the local newspapers informing the public of the same.