The Fraud Perpetrated By SAITM

SAITM - What will be its future? and Dr. Neville Fernando

The letter of demand sent to The Sunday Leader, The controvercial gazette notification and SLMC advertisment claiming no provisions to recognize SAITM degree

Broken promises, SLMC letter confirming the Act 16 results of some SAITM lecturers and Chairman BOI confirms that SAITM did not make any application to set up a medicult faculty

By Nirmala Kannangara

SAITM - What will be its future? and Dr. Neville Fernando

Following our continuous exposés on the fraudulent activities of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (Pvt) Ltd. Malabe (SAITM), The Sunday Leader received a letter of demand from SAITM seeking Rs. 300 million as compensation for the adverse publicity that the article had caused to their ‘reputation’.
The letter of demand dated December 31, 2011, seeking damages to the tune of Rs.300 million has been sent to The Sunday Leader Newspaper by D. L and F. De Saram, Attorneys-at-Law and Notaries Public on behalf of the SAITM management.
Meanwhile four officials of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa and the two Assistant Secretaries Doctors Sankalpa Marasinghe and Upul Gunasekera have also received letters of demand claiming Rs. 200 million, Rs.100 million, Rs. 200 million and Rs. 900 million respectively for the comments they made against the private medical college and for giving the details to the media.
SAITM is now facing humiliation from its own students for its failure to uphold the contractual agreement as they have received several letters of demand from students seeking a refund of the full payment made to SAITM and also compensation of Rs. 10 million.
It is believed that these letters of demand have been sent to the parties concerned to prevent a further attack on SAITM and as an example to the remaining students and their parents. They are deliberately attempting to retain the remaining students at any cost.
In the aforementioned letter of demand to The Sunday Leader that was received on January 3, the last paragraph states:
“In the aforesaid circumstances, we are instructed to demand from you and do hereby demand from you to pay our client the aforesaid sum of Rs. 300 million within two weeks from the date of this letter. In the event you fail to pay the said sum within the said period of two weeks, we have been further instructed to institute legal proceedings against you for recovery of the said sum together with interest and costs.”
Be that as it may- Unbowed and Unafraid – The Sunday Leader stands by its reporting and is ready to take up the challenge as it is in possession of all the relevant documents to prove that SAITM is at fault and how it has cheated its students and parents from the very inception.
We wish to bring to the limelight the fraudulent activities of SAITM in briefly once again for our readers’ perusal and how a doctor parent has submitted an affidavit dated December 2, 2011 to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) that regulates the professional standards of doctors registered with them, seeking an investigation in order to protect the public from Chairman SAITM Dr. Neville Fernando’s unprofessional conduct.
Meanwhile reliable sources from SAITM provided this newspaper with copies of the affidavit and letters of demand sent by concerned parents. The letters clearly state as to how Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando unjustly de-registered some students from their studentship simply because their parents had made legitimate inquiries about their children’s future education.
Following are the facts given by the parents in their letters of demand and the affidavit.
a)  The degree offered is neither recognised by the UK or the Sri Lanka Medical Council,
b)   The students cannot sit for the Act 16 examination as the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) does not recognise this degree,
c)  Admission in relation to the degree offered was not carried out in accordance with the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines,
d)  The degree offered was not monitored by the SLMC for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition.
e)  Furthermore the Russian Government had not given registration to SAITM to grant the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia (NNSAM) or transfer the students of SAITM to the NNSAM in Russia.

However in paper advertisements SAITM assured:
•    Clinical training in government hospitals
•    It was recognized by the UK and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC)
•    SLMC recognition for the Act 16 examination
•    Admissions would be carried out under University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines
•    SLMC will monitor the courses for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition
•    Affiliated to Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine, Russian Federation
•    Professors from state medical faculties
•    Recognize in any part of the world
However none of these promises have been honoured over the past two years and three months. Professors who are on sabbatical work for SAITM and this is yet another issue faced by the students.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader on condition of anonymity, a student said that they are yet to get lecturers who work for SAITM for at least two years. “They come during their sabbatical and teach us and then leave after one year. A new lecturer then teaches for another year and this interrupts our studies,” he said.
According to the affidavit, the policy of SAITM was that of suppressing all those who raised matters of concern over this issue.
Meanwhile the Registrar SLMC Dr. N. J. Nonis in a letter dated August 30, 2011 to the Secretary GMOA has given the pass status of the lecturers attached to SAITM in the Act 16 examination which clearly shows  how ‘qualified’ the SAITM lecturers are.
The Sunday Leader is in possession of an e-mail received from the National Accreditation Agency of the Russian Federation claiming that SAITM programmes are not accredited in Russia (see box elsewhere for the e-mail)
Meanwhile Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Dr. Gamini Samaranayake when contacted by The Sunday Leader to find out as to what action the UGC would take against SAITM for its failure to comply with the specified condition given in the controversial Gazette notification of August 30, 2011, the UGC Chairman got offended. “I cannot answer as an individual; you should ask the Commission,” he said.
When asked as from whom we could get a comment, the UGC Chairman said that he is not bound to answer questions raised by The Sunday Leader and disconnected the call abruptly. Secretary Health Ministry and Chairman of the Committee to Investigate SAITM, Dr. Ravindra Riberu was not available for a comment as he was overseas. However the Investigation report is due to be handed over to the Health Ministry on January 10 according to Ministry officials. Meanwhile the GMOA told The Sunday Leader that it is ready to take up the challenge thrown by SAITM and is waiting to see the SAITM management including its Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando in court.

From: “Информационно-методический отдел”
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 6:02 PM
To: Dr. Chanaka Silva
Subject: RE: NNSMA Sri Lanka

Dear Dr. Chanaka De Silva,

I apologize for the delay in answering your letter as I was abroad on a long study trip.
I would like to inform you that we have received several letters from different people as regards the activities of Sri Lankan Campus of Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy. As the accreditation of joint programs is not in the remit of the National Accreditation Agency’s responsibility, all these letters have been forwarded to the Federal Service of Supervision in Education and Science, Moscow .Moreover, we received the report «Report on the ill- conceived Private Medical College at Malabe (South Asian Institute of Technology and Management – SAITM) Government Medical Officers’ Association 2010» which we translated into Russian and forwarded to the Federal Service of Supervision in Education and Science. The National Accreditation Agency maintains the Database of accredited Higher Education Institutions in the Russian Federation . This Database does not contain any information about Sri Lankan Campus of Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy . This means that this joint program is not accredited in Russia . All further questions should be forwarded to the Federal Service of Supervision in Education and Science, Moscow .
Contact information:
Tel/fax: +7(495) 608-6158
Address: 33 Shabolovka Moscow Russia 117997
dep06@obrnadzor.gov.ru

http://obrnadzor.gov.ru/

I hope this information will be useful.
Sincerely yours,
Irina Tatarinova
Director
National Accreditation Agency
Russia

E-mail from the Director National Accreditation Agency Russia

An Affidavit Denouncing SAITM…
RegisteredPost
No. 637, Kandy Rd,
Pattiya Junction,
Kelaniya
02/12/2011
The President
Sri Lanka Medical Council
No. 31, Norris Canal Rd.,
Colombo 10

Dear Madam,

Unprofessional and Unethical Action of Dr. Neville Fernando, Chairman SAITM and a Conduct not Warranted by a Private Medical College
I respectfully bring the following facts and circumstances, to the urgent attention of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, for consideration, and appropriate action, in the interest of my daughter who had been affected by this action, as well as in the interest of the Medical Profession, the General Public and the National Interest.
I am a former Deputy Director General of Health Services, the father of…… a student studying at the Faculty of Medicine, at the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (Pvt.) Ltd. (SAITM).
I wish to inform the Sri Lanka Medical Council that the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (hereinafter referred to as “SAITM”) by news paper advertisements published on the Sunday Times on the 10th of May 2009, Sunday Observer on the 28th June 2009, the Sunday Times on 9th May 2010 and Sunday Observer on 13th June 2010 advertised and offered medical qualifications such as Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia
In the said advertisements SAITM stated that it is affiliated to the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia and held out to the public of Sri Lanka that the courses carried out by SAITM were,
a)    recognised by the UK and Sri Lanka Medical Council,
b)    the Sri Lanka Medical Council will recognise these graduates for the Act 16 examination,
c)    the admissions were to be carried out on University Grants Commission guidelines,
d)    the Sri Lanka Medical Council will monitor the courses of SAITM for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition.
Further the advertising material published and available at the premises of SAITM also stated that the course of medicine done at SAITM will be performed 4 years in Sri Lanka and one year in Russia. It was also stated in the said material that the course will be closely monitored by the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia. The ability of students to be transferred to the Russian university was also promised.
In addition to the above, SAITM also held out to the public of Sri Lanka that they have applied for Degree Awarding Status to the Higher Education Ministry in August 2008, and eventually all students enrolled will be awarded a degree from SAITM, as the approval for the same from the Hon Minister of Higher Education was imminent.
Based on the aforesaid undertakings, I admitted my daughter ……to join as an under graduate of SAITM. Thereafter my daughter ….. enrolled at SAITM to obtain the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia or a Medical Degree offered by SAITM.
In spite of the above assurances, presently it has been brought to our attention that
a)    the degree offered to my daughter…….. is neither recognized by the UK nor the Sri Lanka Medical Council,
b)    with the degree offered to my daughter ……….,  she will be unable to sit  for the Act 16 examination as the Sri Lanka Medical Council does not recognize this degree for this purpose,
c)    the admission in relation the degree offered to my daughter ……. was not carried out in accordance with the University Grants Commission guidelines, and
d)    the degree offered to my daughter …….. was not monitored by the Sri Lanka medical Council for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition.
e)    Further the Russian Government had not given registration to SAITM to grant the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia or transfer the students of SAITM to the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia
I have also found out that the medical course which my daughter …. is following at SAITM is not recognized in law, and is not capable of been recognized to register of the Act 16 examination.
Madam, as you will no doubt appreciate, I, as a parent of a student studying medicine at SAITM, have keenly followed the recent debate and discussion on the related issues, which caused me to inquire about the same, from the management of SAITM, as well as other relevant institutions, including the SLMC, the UGC and the Ministry of Health.
You would appreciate that I, together with my wife, and like all other parents of students at SAITM, have been extremely anxious and concerned about the uncertainty, of the educational future of my daughter, due to this crisis, and consequently, I as a parent, was compelled to make all endeavours to gather relevant information and seek necessary assistance, in this matter.
However, most unfortunately, the policy of SAITM was that of suppressing all those who raised matters of concern over this issue, and consequently, I was confronted with several issues with the management of SAITM, solely due to my persistent inquires on the development of the issue of its Degree Awarding Status and the approval. In fact, at a Parents Meeting of SAITM held on or about 8/10/2011, Dr. Neville Fernando, the Chairman of SAITM, very forcefully informed parents that they should not directly inquire from the SLMC or the UGC, in respect of the approval of SAITM, and that if SAITM came to know of such a situation, that the relevant student would be discontinued from the studentship of SAITM.
In spite of all this we tolerated Dr. Neville Fernando, as he is a very senior person. However on or around the 16/11/2011 Dr. Neville Fernando has unilaterally decided to deregister my daughter from the studentship of SAITM, about which I have given a detailed description in the attached affidavit.
I state most responsibly, that the so called deregistration of my daughter has been effected, in a most perfunctory, precipitous and hurried and indeed malicious manner, in grave contravention of due process, and without due and reasonable recourse to my daughter or myself. I further state most respectfully, that there was no justification or basis at all, for this extreme adverse measure of de-enrolling my daughter.
It is most unfortunate that SAITM and its Management have sought it fit, to harass and deprive my daughter of her education, for the sole reason that I was following up on the issue of the Degree Awarding Status of SAITM.
Furthermore, this is in spite of the fact, that I have already paid as much as Rs. 1,730,000/= in fees to SAITM, and in spite of the fact that my daughter had spent and committed as much 1 year and 2 months of her life to studying medicine at SAITM.
It is clear from the above mentioned newspaper articles and the subsequent conduct of Dr. Neville Fernando and SAITM that this is a fraud taking place in this country to the detriment of the medical profession. Further considering the deceiving statements made by Dr. Neville Fernando with regard to SAITM and its courses conducted, Dr. Neville Fernando has acted in an unprofessional and fraudulent manner being in the medical profession.  As such I have decided to make this formal complaint to the SLMC against SAITM and Dr. Neville Fernando with regard to the following
a)    Holding out to the public and deceiving the same that the SAITM is recognized by the UK and Sri         Lanka Medical Council
b)    Holding out to the public and deceiving the same that the graduates of SAITM will be recognized by the Sri Lanka Medical Council as graduates for the Act 16 examination.
c)    Holding out to the public and deceiving the same that the Sri Lanka medical Council will monitor the courses of SAITM for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition.
d)    Unjustly deregistered my daughter ….. from the studentship of SAITM in violation to the procedures set out in the Students’ Guidance Book of SAITM.
e)    Unjustly deregistered my daughter … from the studentship of SAITM due to my legitimate queries made with regard to my daughter’s education.
Under the above circumstances, I have now become convinced that actions of the present management of SAITM, is not in the best interests of this Private Medical College or its students or the country and I respectfully state that unless the authorities take steps to regulate this institution and place the same in the hands of persons who will ensure that the public and national interest is served, it would be a burden to the society.
I hereby submit an affidavit for the investigation of the above, annexing some of the relevant documentation. I will furnish further information in relation to the above at any inquiry that is set up to consider the aforesaid complaint.

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,

Dr. S. Terrence G. R. de Silva
(Parent of ….)

Copies,
1.    Hon. S. B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, – fi.& necessary action.
2.    Dr. Ravindra Ruberu, Chairman, Committee to Investigate the Malabe Private Medical College, fi & na pl
3.    Chairman, UGC, fi & na pl.
4.    Mrs. Thamara Dissanayake, Private Secretary to the Hon. Minister of Higher Education. fi &na pl.

—-

The Letter of Demand to SAITM
By Registered Post

South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (Pvt) Ltd
Millennium Drive
Malabe
Attn. Chairman & Board of Directors.
Re :   Breach of Contract and deceit by SAITM for the Under Graduate medical course of ……..
I write on the instructions of my client …….. and  I am instructed to state as follows.
I am instructed to state that the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (hereinafter referred to as “SAITM”) by news paper advertisements published on the Sunday Times news paper on the 10th of May 2009, Sunday Observer on the 28th June 2009, Sunday Times on the 9th May 2010 and Sunday Observer on the 13th June 2010 advertised and offered medical qualifications inter alia a medical degree referred to as Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia.
In the said advertisements SAITM stated that it is affiliated to the said Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia and held out to my client and the public of Sri Lanka that the courses carried out by SAITM were,
a)    recognised by the UK and Sri Lanka Medical Council,
b)    the Sri Lanka Medical Council will recognise these graduates for the Act 16 examination,
c)    the admissions were to be carried out on University Grants Commission guidelines,
d)    the Sri Lanka Medical Council will monitor the courses of SAITM for compliance with the standards according to the law on recognition.
I am instructed to state that the advertising material published and available at the premises of SAITM also stated that the course of medicine done at SAITM will be conducted, 04 years in Sri Lanka and 01 year in Russia. It was also stated in the said material that the course will be closely monitored by the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia. The ability of students to be transferred to the Russian university was also promised.
I am instructed to state that in addition to the above SAITM also held out to the public of Sri Lanka and my client that they have applied for Degree Awarding Status from the Ministry of Higher Education in August 2008 and that eventually all students enrolled will be awarded a degree from SAITM as the approval for the same from the Hon Minister of Higher Education was imminent.
I am instructed to state that Dr. Neville Fernando on numerous occasions as Chairman of SAITM reassured the above to my client, undergraduates enrolled at SAITM and the public of Sri Lanka, in relation to the degrees conferred by SAITM to its students which included my client
I am instructed to state that based on the said undertakings my client …applied to join as a student/under graduate of SAITM. Thereafter …enrolled at SAITM to obtain the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia or a Medical Degree awarded by SAITM on the 15th September 2010.
I am instructed to state that ……………..was enrolled for the 1st batch of undergraduates to enrol at SAITM to obtain the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia or a Medical Degree awarded by SAITM.
I am instructed to state that my client …has as such spent two years of her valuable youth at the SAITM in order to obtain the said qualification. In addition …has paid a sum of Rs 3,218,500/=  as fees to SAITM for this course as at date
I am instructed to state that in spite of the above contractual obligations, promise and assurances, presently it has been brought to my client’s attention that,
a)    the degree offered to my client ……is neither recognised by the UK or the Sri Lanka Medical Council,
b)    with the degree offered to my client ……she will be unable to sit  for the Act 16 examination as the Sri Lanka Medical Council does not recognise this degree for this purpose,
c)    the admission in relation to the degree offered to my client …….. was not carried out in accordance with the University Grants Commission guidelines, and
d)    the degree offered to my client …was not monitored by the Sri Lanka Medical Council for compliance with the standard according to the law on recognition.
e)    Further the Russian Government had not given registration to SAITM to grant the medical qualification of Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia or transfer the students of SAITM to  the Nizhny Novgorod State Academy of Medicine in Russia,
In the aforesaid circumstances I am instructed to state that SAITM has deceived my client in relation to the course been offered with no useful purpose in future as the same is not recognised in law, or is capable of been recognised to register for the Act 16 examination.
I am instructed to state further that SAITM in the aforesaid circumstances has breached its contractual obligation towards my client. Further by making representation to my client ………that the medical course she is following has the attributes stated above, when in fact in reality the said medical course has none of the attributes stated above, SAITM has deceived my client causing loss and damage to my client.
In the aforesaid circumstances I am instructed to demand and I hereby demand a sum of Rs 3,218,500/= with legal interest from the date of this demand.  I am also instructed to state that in the totality of the above circumstances SAITM has breached its contractual obligation towards my client, deceived my client and further caused pain of mind to my client, loss to my client’s lively hood, youth, prospects of future employment. My client assess the said loss and damage in a sum of Rs 10,000,000/=.
As such I am instructed to demand and I hereby demand that the sum of Rs 13,218,500/= be paid to my client within 14 days from the receipt of this letter. In the event of your failure to do so I have further instructions to institute legal proceedings against you to recover the same together with interest and cost of suit.
Be that as it may, I am instructed to also state that as at now my client has also been illegally and unlawfully prevented from following further lectures at SAITM. I am instructed to state that my client is reserving her legal rights with regard to the said action on the part of SAITM.

Yours faithfully

(Names have been withheld to protect identities)

 

The letter of demand sent to The Sunday Leader, The controvercial gazette notification and SLMC advertisment claiming no provisions to recognize SAITM degree

Broken promises, SLMC letter confirming the Act 16 results of some SAITM lecturers and Chairman BOI confirms that SAITM did not make any application to set up a medicult faculty

 

2 Comments for “The Fraud Perpetrated By SAITM”

  1. Dulnjala

    will saitm campus be recognized by slmc anyday soon???

  2. Mother_Lanka

    Higher education is fundamental human right whether it is through public or private. Authorities have to establish rules and regulations of quality assurance, lecturers qualifications, qualification of student intake ect. There are private universities operate all over the world including most south asian countries. This action looks like pure jelous. Some of students in Colombo, Kandy, Gall Gampaha, Kalutara, Kurunagela and Matara miss the universities just one or two marks. At same time, some students get admission with low marks (Z score). Thoese miss the state universities have right for higher education.Goverment should approve private universities with more than 3 faculties. Because, other than medicine, engeneering and IT fields have lack of investment by private sector. Higher education ministry should establish institution for quality assurance of private universities. It should monitor quality of the programme, lectuerers qualifications, student admission, eamination standard and other human and physical resources.

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