(Minister for agriculture Dissanayaka holds the post of secretary, SLFP too)
The Auditor General has expressed disapproval at the Ministry of Agriculture for leasing a building owned by a private individual for a monthly rent of Rs 15.075 million without following the proper tender procedure.
The Auditor General has stated that the Ministry could have constructed a building on the one hectare land owned by the Ministry at Battaramulla. However the Ministry has leased a building owned by a private individual for Rs 958 million for five years. Thus, there is a suspicion that this contract was entered into for ulterior motives, sources said.
The Auditor General says that the owner of the building has stated that a rent of Rs 167.50 is being charged for a square foot of the building. But the real estimate of a square foot of the building is Rs 150 according to the Valuation Department. Thus the Ministry of Agriculture is paying an extra Rs 17.50 per square foot.
The Ministry has also accepted terms which state that after three years the rent should be increased by 15% and that the Ministry must deposit rent for two years as key money.
The Auditor General adds that the Minister of Agriculture has obtained Cabinet approval for the leasing of the building on 2 March. The above mentioned details are reported in the document AGL/C/AGL/15/HQ/21 by the Auditor General.
BY CHANDRASENA MARASINGHE /Ceylon Today