Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sri Lanka: Allegations of corruption in the construction of Lotus Tower to be investigated

-

A Sri Lankan parliamentary panel will investigate an allegation of corruption against a Chinese company contracted to work on the construction of South Asia’s tallest tower.

President Maithripala Sirisena made the allegation at the inauguration on Monday of the 356-meter Lotus Tower, which overlooks Beira Lake in Colombo, sparking a political row in the country, which has relied heavily on China for project finance.

Sirisena alleged that Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co (ALIT) had vanished, misappropriating some 2 billion rupees ($11 million) deposited with it by Sri Lanka’s state-run Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC).

Sirisena’s predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was in power when the alleged incident took place in 2012, said in a statement that China National Electronics Corporation and ALIT had been nominated by the Chinese government.

- Advertisement -

He said the active party in the contract had always been the China National Electronics Corporation and not ALIT.

“To say that a major Chinese government-owned conglomerate had disappeared with 2 billion rupees belonging to the Sri Lankan government is a horrendous insult to China,” Rajapaksa said.

“If this statement was made due to wrong information being conveyed, I expect the relevant individuals to move quickly to issue a correction,” he said.

Anusha Palpita, the director-general of TRC when the agreement was signed in 2012, issued a statement to local media on Wednesday denying the allegation that any money had gone missing and said Sirisena had been misled.

- Advertisement -

The Chinese Embassy in Colombo and ALIT did not respond to requests for comment by telephone or email.

Sri Lanka’s Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) which looks into compliance of financial discipline in public corporations said on Wednesday it will probe the allegation.

“The COPE will conduct a full-scale probe into the tower construction. We will call TRC officials and other relevant parties before the COPE soon,” Sunil Handunnetti, COPE chairman and an opposition legislator, told the COPE meeting.

After coming to power in 2015, Sirisena suspended most Chinese-backed infrastructure projects started under Rajapaksa, citing allegations of corruption and the flouting of rules.

Sirisena’s Lotus Tower allegation comes ahead of a presidential election later this year, which Rajapaksa’s brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to contest.

Political sources close to Sirisena and Rajapaksa have said talks between the president’s centre-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for a coalition deal have broken down.

MUST READ

South Korea’s former Vice Justice Minister sentenced to jail for bribery and sexual favors

Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui, the figure at the center of one of Korea’s biggest political sex scandals, was placed under pretrial detention...

Beam Suntory Inc. fined $19.6 million in foreign bribery case

Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam), a Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to...

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Namibia probes oil firm Acer petroleum over bribes paid to government officials

THE mines and energy ministry says it is investigating allegations that an oil company bribed some senior officials to fast-track licence applications. The senior officials...

Australian court approves $920 million Westpac money laundering fine

The Federal Court of Australia has agreed on the deal struck between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Westpac, ordering the Australian...

Newark city councilman charged in bribery and kickback scheme

Joseph A. McCallum Jr., a city councilman in Newark's West Ward, has been accused of taking part in a "bribery and kickback" scheme involving...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks