A survey carried out by the Internal Audit (IA) of the cash-strapped Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has revealed that vehicles worth more than Rs.70 million had been written off.
A confidential Internal Audit report issued after a 2012 survey which is in possession of the Daily Mirror revealed that 34 vehicles valued at Rs.70 million and used by various CEB branches have been written off with an estimated value of Rs.1.00 or zero rupees.
The audit survey had also found that eight of the vehicles used by the investigation division, Information Technology Division, Personal Division and Finance Division had vanished without a trace and the Deputy General Manager of the Personnel Branch had reported last year that these eight vehicles had not existed.
Three more vehicles given to Deputy General Manager, Personnel Branch had also gone missing.
The audit report issued under the signature of the Chief Internal Auditor points out that the officers who self-drive CEB vehicles had failed to maintain running charts and log books or update them as required by the CEB guidelines and only a very few officers have mentioned as to how they used the vehicle for official and private requirements.
The misuse of vehicles numbering more than 2,000 has been detected at almost all branches of the CEB including the offices of chairman, deputy chairman, GM, DGMs, the report said.
The most surprising and incomprehensible aspect of the audit survey was the criteria used to estimate the cost of vehicles.
For instance, the net book value was Rs.1.00 of a Mitsubishi car with the registered number G.P 8850 purchased in 2002 for Rs.2,443,517. The car has been used by an Executive Engineer and the average monthly mileage was 966 and average monthly fuel use was 110 litres.
“This is a crime. The CEB’s estimated loss in 2013 alone stands at Rs.28 billion and the use of assets in a haphazard and irresponsible manner is unpardonable,” CEB trade union leader Ranjan Jayalal said.
He said the CEB had purchased super luxury vehicles for top officials. These vehicles consume one litre of fuel for every two kilometers.
Mr. Jayalal said it was extremely unfair for the CEB to ask consumers to be frugal in power consumption and on the verge of increasing the rates by 26% to misuse and abuse CEB assets worth millions of rupees.
Meanwhile former Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said he did not use a single vehicle belonging to the CEB during his tenure as the subject minister. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)