Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court has once again rejected bail for former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, former Ministry secretary and 04 others accused over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

Furthermore, the magistrate who ordered them to be remanded in custody until conclusion of the case under the provisions of the Public Property Act, also ordered the case to be recalled on March 28, 2024.

Eight individuals including former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, former Health Ministry Secretary Janaka Chandragupta and Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry Dr. Saman Ratnayake currently remain under remand custody following their arrest in connection with the case.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Rambukwella on 02 February in connection with the procurement of substandard human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), when he arrived there, complying with a court order. He had been grilled for nearly 10 hours before being arrested.

The arrest came hot on the heels of pressure from civil society activists and health sector trade unionists, who called for the immediate apprehension of the lawmaker.

However, on 29 February, Rambukwella’s attorneys also filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition challenging his arrest by the CID and demanding Rs. 100 million in compensation.

Prior to the apprehension of Rambukwella, seven arrests had been made in connection with the drug procurement scam. But the fifth accused was later released on bail. As such, the former Health Secretary, the Director of the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division (MSD) and three other officials of the same division, as well as the owner of the company, which is said to have supplied the substandard batch of immunoglobulin vials, now remain in remand custody.

Meanwhile on Wednesday (March 13), the CID arrested Dr. Thusitha Sudarshana, the Deputy Director of the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division, after he surrendered to the CID based on summons, following his arrival in Sri Lanka from overseas.

In the meantime, Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry Dr. Ratnayake had recently made a 4-hour-long confidential statement to the Maligakanda Magistrate regarding the procurement of substandard human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). 

In October 2023, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) revealed that forged documents were found to have been submitted for Customs clearance to procure a batch of vials containing human immunoglobulin, an antibody produced by blood plasma cells, which later failed the quality tests.

source adaderana