EWIS wants COPE to investigate SPC claims on software cost – The Morning

Date:

  • Writes to Charitha Herath stating software cost far less than claimed at COPE meeting

By Imesh Ranasinghe 

E-W Information Systems Ltd. (EWIS) has requested the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to conduct an investigation into the claims put forward by the  State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) on the state of, and amounts spent on, software for inventory of medicine used by the Medical Supply Division.

In a letter addressed to COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath, EWIS Chairman Sanjeewa Wickramanayake said that the cost of the total project for the software was Rs. 223 million, and not over Rs. 600 million, as claimed by the SPC.

“We were astonished to see certain Government officials making statements which include absolute falsehoods during the sessions of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) on 31 May 2022, to which wide coverage was given by the mainstream and social media,” the statement said.

The letter said that through the due procurement procedure, on or around 20 November 2008, EWIS was awarded the aforesaid contract by the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition and the total contractual value was Rs. 341 million and that the amount includes the recurring cost for two years amounting to Rs. 118 million.

The letter said that the “aforesaid Rs. 341 million includes the supply and maintenance of the software, the supply of hardware and networking etc., totalling to Rs. 223 million”.

However, the letter said that due to reasons directly attributable to the Ministry of Health, the implementation of the project was delayed, but in compliance with the aforesaid contract, EWIS completed the operational acceptance test and handed over the system to the Medical Supplies Division together with the responsibility for care and custody and the risk of loss thereof, on 23 October 2017.

“However, the system has been in use by the Ministry since 2015, even though the official takeover was delayed until 2017,” Wickramanayake said.

Therefore, he said, the Government official’s claim of having paid Rs. 644 million for the implementation of the project and a monthly maintenance fee of Rs. 5 million, totalling to Rs. 60 million per year, from 2015 onwards, is fallacious and misleading. 

Further, he added that no requests or complaints have been made to EWIS by any Government official in regard to the system, which purportedly deprived the Government officials of competently and efficiently entering the data for the purchase of medicine through the credit line from India. 

The letter said that the latest request for any update or change was on 21 May 2022, pertaining to order list types, and the SPC has raised nearly 928 purchase orders from January 2022 until 3 June 2022 using the current system.

“We wish to bring to your notice that as a result of Government officials uttering falsehoods at the COPE sessions, taking cover under the privileges granted to such officials by law, not only has destroyed the good name and the reputation of our company, but has also exposed it to a risk of being attacked by the public, as they tend to believe that the information revealed to COPE by State employees is true and correct,” Wickramanayake said.

In the circumstances, he urged the COPE to conduct investigations in this regard, as, he claimed, the information divulged at the COPE committee meeting was “an utter falsehood and has no merit”, and to take action under section 14 of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act.

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