Dimensions of the theft in Sri Lanka – Many people who label others as thieves are actually thieves


Yesterday (December 16), it was reported that the Criminal Investigation Department arrested an executive officer of the Pannala apparel  Company who defrauded more than 18 crores.

This is not the first or last  theft in the private  sector . Such scams happen in every company  including banks, finance, insurance, communication, airlines, construction, etc. in Sri Lanka.

But if the information  gets public, it cause to shatter the  public trust. Hence those incidents keep it under wraps in the private  sector
That is why  those frauds  do not popup  like the frauds of  politicians  or public servants.

It is worthy to note corruption has spread from top to bottom in the private sector. Nevertheless during audit process  frauds committed by minor employees and executives are only able to detect  .That is, corruption and fraud by top management are not revealed. And said  scams are too sophisticated to detect.

From 2012 to 2021 this writer worked with  Business intelligence unit of the Landmark Company owned by India’s leading billionaire Mickey Jagthyani. In 2016, a proposal was made to introduce RFID technology to this company. Said  suggestion was made by one of its CEOs. The cost of the project was USD 26 million.

But the business intelligence unit was of the opinion that the RFID project was not productive and it is nothing but  waste of money . However, regardless of the intelligence  report  project was implemented. After 6 month it was Chrystal clear  that the RFID project was a  severe failure . However, the RFID project could not be abandoned overnight as a huge amount of money had been invested. on it . In the end, the company had to maintain the failed system at additional cost.

Although the RFID investment was a white elephant, a commission of 12% fell into the pocket of the CEO who introduced it  (Rs 1.5 billion is a commission amount) But according to the nature of the transaction, it cannot be proven that the relevant CEO committed a  fraud. Also, the outside world does not know that the RFID project was  unsuccess . This is how the top officials of the private sector cheat.

In the developed countries of the world, there is no place for the wholesaler because the supermarket chain is strong. In developed countries, the manufacturer directly connects with the consumer through the supermarket chain. Because of this, there is less opportunity for intermediate  to exploit thus  Farmers ( Manufacturer ) and consumers benefit from it, but Sri Lanka’s supermarket chain is not like that.

Almost 3 years ago Keel’s company introduced a self-service system called “Scan and go” to its customers . Accordingly  scanning the goods and paying (by card) could be done by the customer himself. The current situation of the self-service system introduced by Keels Company 3 years ago is as follows.

1. Not one in 1000 of Keels customers use this system
2. Developed countries of the world introduced this system almost  25 years ago
3. Today’s Retail Operations are revolves with the RFID next level phase
4. Due to the poor computer literacy in Sri Lanka, Keels  self-service counters have to  staffed with two employees each.
5. Unlike people in developed countries, Sri Lankan people’s mindset  still in the feudal era. They don’t want to do the work themselves, rather than get it done by others
6.  Tragically amid heavy workload underpaid Keels employees have to maintain so-called  self-service system which is utter expensive

Even if the ‘scan and go’ system fails, they have to maintain the failed system at a cost. It is not because of anything, but because of the deals and  fraudulent transactions that  made by corrupt top officials.

And even if the institution is private, the consequences of the thefts that happen there  directly affect  on the public.

However, people in Sri Lanka think and talk in a way  that thieves are only in the parliament. There are three types of thieves in Sri Lanka

1. Label Thieves – Regardless whether they steal  or not  those who made as thieves by the popular wave
2. Typical  Thieves – These are the most common thieves in Sri Lanka who steal as profession but  never caught.
3. Future Thieves – They are the second largest number of thieves in Sri Lanka who wait for an opportunity to steal.

Yesterday By a report The National Alert  said  that it is a good thing that Ravi Karunanayake is working to remove the ban on oil farm cultivation. However, regardless of the point , some people accused Ravi as a bank robber. Any how now  It is  clear that the  most of the people who label others as thieves are actually thieves.