Arrest of Keheliya Rambukwella: Probe into Substandard Immunoglobulin Injections Deepens

Keheliya Rambukwella, the former Health Minister who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday over allegations related to the importation of inferior Immunoglobulin injections, is set to appear in the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today.

Now serving as the Environment Minister, Rambukwella is the most senior official apprehended in the ongoing investigations. He presented himself to the CID at 9 am yesterday, following a summons by the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court. The magistrate, Lochana Abeywickrama, had previously restricted Rambukwella’s international travel on Thursday, citing his failure to report to the CID.

Rambukwella was initially called to the CID on January 30 for questioning about the vaccine issue but sought a postponement due to commitments at the Colombo High Court and a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat. Despite his claims, the Deputy Solicitor General disclosed in court on Thursday that Rambukwella did not attend the mentioned meeting. Entering the CID building through a rear entrance, away from media scrutiny, he was interrogated for over 10 hours before his arrest yesterday morning.

This arrest occurs against a backdrop of increasing public dissatisfaction, with many fearing the investigation was overlooking the involvement of higher-ranking officials. Rambukwella’s earlier dismissal from the Health Ministry in October 2023, amid these allegations, intensified public scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has accused ongoing fraud and corruption at the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC) during and after Rambukwella’s tenure as Health Minister.

Dr. Rukshan Bellana, president of the GMOF, highlighted that although tenders under the previous SPC chair, Sarath Liyanage, were cancelled, they are being reintroduced with significantly higher proposed budgets under the new leadership.