They had received directives from the then President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to buy office space within one kilometre of the Presidential Secretariat so that it would be more convenient for him
The Ministry of Technology sealed its rental agreement with Shangri-La Group to purchase an office space at Level 11 of One Galle Face Tower without following the standard procurement procedure, a Summery Report compiled by the Auditor General’s Department has revealed.
The Ministry, which comes directly under the President, purchased the rental property in July, 2021 without following the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) process, which is outlined in the Procurement Guidelines Manual as the standard bidding process for GoSL-funded projects.
When questioned by the Daily Mirror, the ministry’s Additional Secretary (Administration), A. K. R. Alawatta, stated that they had received directives from the then President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to buy office space within one kilometre of the Presidential Secretariat so that it would be more convenient for him.
“We did not have time to follow the standard procurement procedure, and the rental agreement was made on short notice. Another revelation of the audit report was that the ministry pays a monthly rental of Rs. 1,878,000 for the 7512 square feet of office space, but more than 30% of that space has been underutilized for more than a year.
The NCB is used for GoSL-funded projects when the necessary facilities are available in Sri Lanka at significantly lower prices than in international markets. When NCB is used, the invitation to bid should be advertised, giving any supplier, service provider, or contractor who desires to obtain the bidding document the same opportunity, provided the bidder is willing to pay any specified fees.