Friday, 11 June 2004  
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Alleged missing buses: 

No documents, probe not complete, says official

by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi

Sri Lanka Central Transport Board (SLCTB) authorities are in a dilemma as to how they could pursue their investigations into the 143 buses which are allegedly missing, as the board's former legal officer has so far not handed over the required documents.

"The former legal officer has failed to handover the documents and as a result, we are yet to complete the investigations," the Board's Vice Chairman Nihal Perera told the media yesterday.

"I have now sent the final notification to this former official and failing which I will lodge a complaint to the CID," Perera told a media briefing attended by Transport Minister Felix Perera.

According to Perera, these 143 buses sent to the Werahera Bus Repairing Company during the previous regime, had not been returned.

"Payment has been made for these repairs despite the buses going missing," Perera added.

He said payment for certain buses exceeded Rs. 200,000 and altogether, the amount for repairs was around millions.

The SLCTB is also facing huge liabilities for non-payment of around Rs. 800 million allocated to purchase spare parts.

"There had been various alleged malpractices involving the purchasing of spare parts and we are now making efforts to rectify them," Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said.

He said the Ministry is planning to introduce a system where spare parts has to be purchased through the Ministry on a Letter of Credit.

"This will ensure that original spare parts are assembled into the buses at a reasonable price preventing large scale malpractices. We will do it in a transparent manner," the Deputy Minister said.

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