Allegations are levelled against the Sri Lanka Tea Board for getting the Tea Promotion Consultant's contract period extended to the Global Tea Promotion campaign continuously.
Tea Board employees are up in arms against the Board of Directors for getting this contract extended despite instructions given to the Board by the Cabinet of Ministers that a suitable person should be appointed at the end of the initial contract period.
However, according to the employees, after Director Promotions for the Middle East and North American region Hasitha de Alwis went on retirement in 2017, on a cabinet decision taken on March 20, 2018, he was re-employed as the Director Promotions limiting it for a period of six months, instructing the Ministry Secretary to recruit a suitably qualified person to the post.
But however, the Board has got the contract renewed for a further six months, claiming that they could not select a suitable person for the post.
According to official documents, after completing the second six months contract, the Board of Directors once again has obtained cabinet approval for De Alwis for another six months this time as a Special Professional Tea Promotion Consultant from February 1, 2019.
The cabinet once again directed the Ministry to recruit a suitable person to the post within this period.
By letter dated May 3, 2019, the then Chairman L. Wijewardena has requested the Ministry Secretary to re-appoint De Alwis to the same post for a period of one year starting from May 15, 2019, to May 15, 2020.
“Despite the Cabinet instructions, the Tea Board has continuously failed to recruit a suitable person to the post of Director Promotions for well over one year and after recruiting a new officer to the post, the Chairman requested to appoint him as a Professional Consultant. Why is this special consideration taken in favour of De Alwis who is accused of misappropriation of Tea Board funds? If any other esteemed high ranking official goes on retirement, will the Board request the Cabinet to give extensions repeatedly or even recommend him for a suitable post on a contract basis? After De Alwis’s contract lapsed in May this year, the present Chairman once again requested for another six months extension and until the approval is granted he is being allowed to continue in the post,” sources alleged. (Nirmala Kannangara)