Sri Lanka probe uncovers road building scam in Kotte

ECONOMYNEXT – A probe initiated by Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva has uncovered a scam where road contractors in his electorate defrauded public funds with bad construction and rigged quality tests to prevent the discovery.

There had been complaints about bituminous pre-mix (carpeting) paving of Park Lane and 60th Lane in Nawala and Jayanthi Mawatha in Atulkotte and the probe had uncovered evidence that the thickness was half or one third the required standard.

The bitumen layer should be between 55-75 millimetres and the contractors had originally provided samples which showed a thickness of between 55-57 millimetres, to show that the paving was up to standard.

But an independent tests carried out by the Road Development Authority lab in a probe ordered by Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva had found that the bitumen was as thin as 18 to 23 millimetres on some roads, a statement said.

"Everyone says that contractors defraud the public when building roads," Deputy Minister De Silva was quoted as saying in the statement.

"But this is the first time scientific test were carried out to uncover the fraud. These contracts had been awarded without proper tenders.

"We have so far only tested two roads in the Kotte local government area."

Following the discovery of evidence, quality tests have been on other roads in the Kotte area, the statement said.

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