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CID to produce Minister Keheliya Rambukwella before court today

3 February 2024 08:39 am - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Feb 03 (Daily Mirror) - Former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who was arrested yesterday by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over the ongoing probe into the import of substandard Immunoglobulin injections, will be produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate's Court today.

Rambukwella, currently serving as Environment Minister, becomes the highest-ranking official arrested so far in the widening investigations.

Rambukwella arrived at the Criminal Investigation Department around 9 am yesterday, complying with a order issued by the Maligakanda Magistrate's Court.

Maligakanda Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrama also imposed an overseas travel ban on Rambukwella on Thursday after he failed to report to the CID.

Rambukwella was summoned to the CID on January 30 to give a statement regarding the vaccination incident in question, but he had requested another date saying that there was a case before the Colombo High Court and a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat. However, the Deputy Solicitor General of the Government who gave evidence on Thursday informed the court that investigations revealed that he had not participated in the relevant meeting.

He arrived at the CID headquarters around 9 AM yesterday, reportedly through a back entrance, and underwent more than 10 hours of questioning before being arrested.

The arrest comes amid mounting public pressure and concerns that the investigation, which had already netted several lower-level officials, was neglecting the potential involvement of higher-ups. Rambukwella's removal from the Health Ministry in October 2023 due to these allegations further fueled public scrutiny.

In October 2023, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) revealed that forged documents were found to have been submitted for Customs clearance to procure a batch of vials containing human immunoglobulin, an antibody produced by blood plasma cells, which later failed the quality tests.

Investigations revealed that a local medicine supplier named Isolez Biotech Pharma AG (Pvt.) Ltd. had imported a batch of human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), allegedly by producing forged documents to the Sri Lanka Customs.

The product, which was said to have been manufactured by Livealth Biopharma Pvt Ltd. India, was imported by Biotech Pharma. However, the India-based manufacturer has denied having a hand in this fraudulent activity and communicated to the NMRA that it has neither manufactured, supplied nor exported these products to any party.

It was also found that funds amounting to Rs. 130 million were misappropriated through the unlawful procurement of 22,500 vials of IVIG.

On 13 October, the Maligakanda Magistrate ordered the CID to expedite the relevant investigations and produce the suspects before the court.

Accordingly, the CID has expedited its investigation and arrested several suspects in the case.

When the case was called on Thursday, the court ordered to remand 6 people, including the former secretary of the Ministry of Health Janaka Sri Chandragupta, who were arrested and remanded in connection with this incident, until the 15th of February.

The court ordered the release of the fifth suspect in the case, the warehouse manager of the medical supply division, on bail.

Meanwhile, when former Health Minister Rambukwella arrived at the CID, several civil organizations came in front of the Department to protest against him. Accordingly, security had been tightened with police riot units surrounding the area.

Following the news that the former health minister was arrested by the CID over the allegations, the civil activists who were outside the CID were seen celebrating.


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  Comments - 13

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  • Prince Saturday, 03 February 2024 08:51 AM

    At last some news. Yesterday night he would have stayed in luxury at the CID. Today when produced, let's see the outcome. Would like to see a live coverage atleast outside the courts.

    KR Supporter Saturday, 03 February 2024 09:07 AM

    He will likely be released on bail and later on be acquitted of all charges.

    Gabriella Saturday, 03 February 2024 09:15 AM

    Presidential pardon in the offing. The scapegoats will rot in jail. A good warning to all the other corrupt departmental heads.

    Christo255 Saturday, 03 February 2024 09:21 AM

    If there is law and order in the country, civil societies need not be pressuring the authorities. This should have been done by the authorities themselves. When some one has to pressurise some one to mete out justice, it simply means there is no law and order in that country.

    Joshua Saturday, 03 February 2024 09:54 AM

    He has committed crime against humanity. How can be released on bail? Of course in SL the politicians have different law.

    Roy b Saturday, 03 February 2024 10:37 AM

    A big joke it's just a tele drama and nothing will happen

    D S de Silva Saturday, 03 February 2024 10:42 AM

    Common procedure, these criminals will be released on bail, the will be held in remand. Look how long it took to get this rascal to come before the CID. It would have been pre planned, to shut the protestors who were demanding his arrest. He comes to CID, would have been treated in luxury for 10 hours, public announcement made to please the public that he was arrested, but not send to normal remand, but provided him with all the comforts of a hotel to stay overnight. Then produce him in court for the show and deceive the public, then release him on bail and that will be the end of story. He is set free again to go about his normal life as if nothing happened. Very simple procedure to shut the gullible public and deceive them.

    Ram Saturday, 03 February 2024 10:44 AM

    Keheliya's fate in the hands of AG. He can file an objectionable charge sheet that he has done in the past prosecution where the court/s upheld the objections raised by the accused OR later at the hearing of the charge say not enough evidence to prosecute Keheliya. Our Past experience with AG

    S.P.Ramkumar Saturday, 03 February 2024 12:01 PM

    Whether This former health Minister is arrested for his criminal activity or satisfied civil activists. He is the man behind this deal. In this country former few ministers and few officers did corruption against public wealth but no action were taken place. This the first time Minister is arrested for the corruption on his previous portfolio. However why do President not disqualify him from present ministerial post. What a joke. Whether he is Hon. Minister or

    Rip Winkle Saturday, 03 February 2024 01:39 PM

    We all know how this enacted drama will end, right folks?

    Apologies to Engelbert Humperdinck Saturday, 03 February 2024 03:30 PM

    "Please release me, let me go" - what law has been broken? There will be insufficient evidence to prosecute Rambukwella. Always a first for corrupt Sri Lanka - RIP Sri Lanka!

    DOT Monday, 05 February 2024 06:02 AM

    An Old hat! Merely , merely !

    None Wednesday, 07 February 2024 03:41 PM

    An investigation is warranted as the owner of Burse Pharmaceuticals i Kandy appears to be a close ally of the implicated minister


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