Rambukwella a minor symptom of a larger disease

Spread the love

Cabinet Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was remanded until 15 February on the orders of Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court last week. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Rambukwella over the investigation of irregularities in the procurement of substandard human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) while he was the minister of health.

Last year the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) revealed that forged documents were found to have been submitted for Customs clearance to procure a batch of vials containing human immunoglobulin, an antibody produced by blood plasma cells, which later failed the quality tests. The Indian manufacturer of the medicine has denied having a hand in this fraudulent activity and communicated to the NMRA that it has neither manufactured, supplied nor exported these products to any party. It was also found that funds amounting to Rs. 130 million were misappropriated through the unlawful procurement.

This is not the first time Rambukwella and his family have been found abusing power and profiteering from public office. A supposed wealthy businessman before coming into public office, Rambukwella has not run shy in using his position to aggrandise himself and his family. In 2016 the police investigated Rambukwella on the funds to the tune of Rs. 20 million he obtained from the President after a bizarre accident in Australia while he fell from a balcony. It was later revealed that he had received compensation from the hotel as well. In 2017, the Bribery Commission filed a case against Rambukwella for causing a loss to the Government by obtaining funds to pay the minister’s phone bill. It was revealed that Rambukwella had obtained funds by using State Petroleum Corporation vouchers in a fraudulent manner to settle his phone bill. In 2022 the electricity board demanded Rs. 12 million from Rambukwella as overdue electricity bill for his residence. His unqualified daughter was appointed into the foreign service and posted to New York as a diplomat through a cabinet paper in the cabinet he served.

Despite all these shameful episodes and now being in the midst of yet another financial scandal, Minister Rambukwella has not had the decency to tender his resignation nor has the President had the courage to sack him.

Such a laissez-faire attitude of letting things take its own course is demonstrative of the impunity that is enjoyed by the ruling elite when it comes to corruption. Keheliya Rambukwella is not the only corrupt individual in cabinet, but he just happened to be accused of a heinous crime where he seems to have profited in importing fake medicines during the height of a financial crisis, endangering the lives of innocent citizens. The cabinet he serves is filled with such individuals. 

Prasanna Ranatunga, who was in fact, convicted for soliciting a bribe and handed a suspended sentence by the Colombo High Court continues as a cabinet minister and Tiran Alles, the Minister now in charge of the Department of Police had himself claimed that he acted as an intermediary in providing hundreds of millions of rupees to the LTTE in 2005 to ensure a boycott of the Presidential election.

While the investigations into the fraudulent procurements at the health ministry are welcome and there is an iota of hope that the justice system may deliver some accountability, past history suggests that Keheliya Rambukwella and other politicians are unlikely to see the inside of a jail cell as a convicted criminal for corruption. In the absence of justice, the only option left is to remember and record such crooks for posterity in the vague hope that at least their descendants will have some sense of shame.

Courtesy Daily Mirror

Post Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Rambukwella a minor symptom of a larger disease - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *