The Committee on Public Accounts has disclosed at a meeting held yesterday (22) that complaints against the currently suspended Omani embassy officer were made since February this year.
However, a decision on the matter was reportedly delayed.
Additional Auditor General PLK Perera said on the 28th of February 2022, the former chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau requested an investigation through the Internal Audit Division regarding the officer.
The Additional Auditor General said financial fraud, certificate fraud, and other fraudulent activities were reported regarding the official.
It was also disclosed that the former chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, had requested the Ministry in February this year to make arrangements for the official to be brought back to Sri Lanka immediately, as investigations may be hindered if he remains in the post.
The committee expressed its displeasure for the failure to take action until the incident received publicity through media.
The Director General of the Foreign Employment Bureau said in February this year on the request of the former chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau, an investigation into the official was conducted through the Internal Audit Division.
However, the allegations could not be confirmed.
The Director General said after calling for a report from the Ambassador of Oman and based on the investigation report received from the Criminal Investigation Department on the 4th of November, the Bureau suspended the officer.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment accepted responsibility despite joining the Ministry in May this year.
The committee said officials must take responsibility for the development.
The absence of trained workers to meet the demand for foreign jobs in many fields including nurses was also taken into discussion at length.
The COPA said the responsibility of the Foreign Employment Bureau is not to send unskilled workers overseas, but to work with all other relevant ministries and institutions in a joint approach to send skilled workers overseas to meet the demand for foreign jobs.
Accordingly, the committee chairman instructed the secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment to prepare a mechanism within two months to send trained workers to meet the demand of foreign jobs in coordination with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Administration, Education and other related institutions.
COPA Chair MP Kabir Hashim said a COPA sub-committee will be appointed in this regard.