"Medical Supplies Division Director and Three Others Remanded Until November 29: Unraveling the Substandard Immunoglobulin Vials Import Case"

In a significant legal development, Maligakanda Magistrate Lochana Abeyewickrema has issued an order for the remand of four individuals, including Dr. Kapila Wickramanayaka, the Director of the Medical Supplies Division of the Health Ministry. The remand, effective until November 29, is a result of their involvement in the substandard immunoglobulin vials import case. The three others remanded alongside Dr. Wickramanayaka are Niran Dhananjaya (Accountant – Supplies), Assistant Director D. Solomon, and Stock Controller Sujith Kumara.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the Magistrate granted permission to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to inspect the files in Dr. Kapila Wickramanayaka's office on the following day. As an additional precaution, the Magistrate ordered the Director General of Health to keep the office locked until the inspection is complete.

The Magistrate underscored the professional responsibility of government employees, particularly those working in the Medical Supplies Division, expressing concern over the alleged negligence in the approval process. Emphasizing that the payment of government funds without verifying the accuracy of the Work Order Request (WOR) certificate amounts to professional negligence, the Magistrate urged public servants to exercise utmost care when dealing with important documents, especially those related to prescribed medicines.

Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Girihagama, representing the Attorney General, argued in court that Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake neglected his responsibility by failing to ensure the proper importation procedures for the immunoglobulin vaccine. Girihagama asserted that the other suspects committed offenses under Section 386 of the Penal Code, including criminal misappropriation and offenses against the Public Property Act. The Deputy Solicitor General contended that the suspects aided and abetted in a conspiracy by accepting vaccine stocks without proper inspection and without the required WOR certificates.

Speaking on behalf of the second suspect, Saliya Peiris PC stated that his client had been overseas for training from January 4, 2022, to December 16, 2022, and was not present during the alleged incidents. The unfolding legal proceedings shed light on the complexities of the case, raising questions about the adherence to proper protocols in the importation of crucial medical supplies.

In response to the legal proceedings, Saliya Peiris PC, representing the second suspect, shed light on key aspects of the case. Peiris conveyed that his client assumed the role of Director of the Medical Supplies Division after the incidents under scrutiny. Notably, he clarified that the Medical Supplies Division's primary functions do not extend to conducting tests in research laboratories concerning the condition of drugs. Instead, its role is limited to the storage and distribution of medicines.

Peiris strongly defended Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake, asserting that the Director of the Medical Supplies Division had not committed any offense. According to Peiris, the focus of any investigation should center on the procurement process. He emphasized that the payment in question was made with the explicit approval of the Secretary of the Ministry of Health.

In a notable stance, Peiris raised concerns about the fairness of charging officials from the Ministry of Health without a comprehensive investigation into the Secretary, the Minister, and the entire procurement process. He argued that a thorough examination of these elements is essential for a just and accurate understanding of the situation.

Earlier in the day, the four suspects, including Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake, were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with the substandard Immunoglobulin import case. The unfolding legal proceedings continue to unravel complexities surrounding the case, prompting a closer examination of the broader processes and individuals involved in the procurement and distribution of medical supplies.

As the legal drama unfolds surrounding the substandard Immunoglobulin import case, Saliya Peiris PC, representing the second suspect, has provided crucial insights into the proceedings. Acknowledging his client's assumption of the Director role at the Medical Supplies Division post-incident, Peiris clarified the division's scope, emphasizing its role in storage and distribution rather than conducting tests in research laboratories.

Peiris staunchly defended Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake, contending that no offense had been committed and redirecting attention to the procurement process. He underscored that the payment in question had received explicit approval from the Secretary of the Ministry of Health. However, Peiris raised a pointed concern about the fairness of singling out Ministry of Health officials without a comprehensive investigation into the Secretary, the Minister, and the entirety of the procurement process.

The arrests by the Criminal Investigation Department earlier in the day have cast a spotlight on the broader complexities surrounding the case. As the legal proceedings continue, the unfolding narrative prompts a closer examination of the intricacies involved in the procurement and distribution of crucial medical supplies. The case serves as a catalyst for a deeper exploration of accountability and responsibility within the Ministry of Health, unraveling a story that extends beyond individual actions to systemic processes.