He told Parliament that the COPE committee had received information that while Cabinet approval was granted for the import of between 5000 to 50,000 metric tons of rice, Sathosa had imported 257,559 metric tons of rice.
He said this presenting the COPE report to parliament on the import of rice by Sathosa from September 2014 to February 2015.
According to the Audit report, 207,559 metric tons of rice has been imported without Cabinet approval and Handunnetti pointed out that in addition to the financial losses, it has also had a negative impact on the agriculture sector as well.
Therefore the COPE committee has recommended that officials who granted permission for the import of rice should be punished according to the law for causing such huge losses to the government.
Who is responsible?
Subsequent to the COPE report being presented by Sunil Handunnetti, Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella said: “Is this also going to be credited into our account?”
In response Handunnetti said: “I clearly mentioned that it was from September 2014 to February 2015.”
Kiriella: “You must clearly mention it was during the previous regime, without being on the fence. You people are very clever at doing that.”