The Petroleum Ministry said that the Auditor General had audited CPC accounts for 2010/2011 and was in the process of auditing 2011/2012 transactions, therefore the former Chairman’s demand for a thorough inquiry was irrelevant
Ministry spokesman W. P. M. P. Roshan told The Island that in the wake of the latest controversy involving the alleged distribution of a stock of substandard diesel, the minister had requested the Auditor General to inquire into transactions, during the period beginning Aug 1, 2011 and ending July 31, 2012, to prevent a possible delay. Once the findings were available, the CPC could be brought before the parliamentary watchdog committee COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises).
Former CPC Chairman Harry Jayawardena yesterday said that in the name of transparency Petroleum Minister Susil Premjayanth would have to request the Auditor General to look into all the contracts entered into for the supply of fuel and other products to CPC and also establish the circumstances under which the Vitol Group of Companies was accommodated on the list of CPC’s suppliers after being blacklisted for about one and half years.
The Petroleum Ministry shouldn’t hesitate to involve the Auditor General or any other relevant agency to investigate all transactions anew in the wake of the ongoing diesel controversy. A comprehensive fresh inquiry was needed to identify those involved in any irregularities, he said.Apropos our front-page story ‘Harry J demands thorough probe into CPC deals’ with strap line ‘denies hand in readmission of Vitol’ in yesterday’s issue of The Island, the business tycoon said that the board of directors of the CPC had decided unanimously, after studying a board paper presented by him to recommend to the Petroleum Ministry that the CPC board had no objection to accommodating the Vitol Group of Companies back in the suppliers’ list, provided the company paid a US $ 175,000 fine.
Jayawardena said that their decision was communicated to the Petroleum Ministry.
Subsequently, a Senior Assistant Secretary of the Petroleum Ministry had written to the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) recommending that Vitol Group of Companies may be reinstated after paying the fine, Jayawardena said. Minister Premjayanth had plenty of time to advice the Senior Assistant Secretary, who is also a member of TEC not to accommodate Vitol Group of Companies in spite of being recommended by the CPC’s board of directors. The company was put on the suppliers list only after getting approval from TEC.
Jayawardena stressed that at the time he took over the CPC, Vitol Group of Companies had been blacklisted by the CPC for supplying substandard petroleum products supplied on a purchase made by the Treasury. The Treasury had been involved in the process subsequent to the oil hedging fiasco.
Commenting on the sudden resignation of four directors, including the Acting Chairman Dayananda Vidanagamachchi, Jayawardena said that among the newly appointed persons to the CPC board was one involved in the tender process for a long time. Jayawardena said that he was ready to go whole hog to expose those unfairly blaming him for tender manipulation.
The ministry yesterday announced the appointment of Tilak Kollure (Chairman), Susantha Silva, Hans Wijesuriya and Nalin Patikirikorale as members of the CPC board. They replaced Dayananda Vidanagamachch, Lakshman Gunawardene , Methsiri Wijegunawardena and Champika Amarasekera.