Over Rs. 4bn paid but Gin – Nilwala Diversion Project construction work yet to be initiated

Over Rs. 4bn paid but Gin – Nilwala Diversion Project construction work yet to be initiated

Over Rs. 4bn paid but Gin – Nilwala Diversion Project construction work yet to be initiated

Written by Keshala Dias

21 Oct, 2017 | 11:29 pm

News1st, on Friday, reported on a financial scam worth billions of rupees, to the general public, through the signing of an agreement during the previous government, for an apparent project to divert the Gin and Nilwala rivers to Hambantota.

Though a sum exceeding Rs. 4 billion has been paid for construction work on the project, it is yet to be initiated.

The contract for the project was awarded to the China-based CAMC Engineering Company, by the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, without calling for any tenders.

The project contractor was selected, bypassing all government procurement regulations.

The transparency of these transactions come to question, as all related payments have been made in a hurry, before January 8, 2015.

According to reports, the payments had been made in three instalments. The first payment of Rs. 1,000 million was made on the 24th of November 2014, the second payment of Rs. 2,009 million on the 1st of January 2015 and the third payment of Rs. 1,003 million on the 6th of January 2015.

However, the financial allocation initally made for the project in 2015, was just Rs. 40 million.

The additional multi-billion rupee payments as advance payments, cast serious doubts regarding the transactions.

Despite objections from the former Chief Accountant of the Ministry of Irrigation to make these payments, the then Ministry Secretary K.W. Ivan de Silva had addressed a letter forcing the Project Director to make the payments.

This was revealed in a report published in The Sunday Leader newspaper on the 26th of November 2016.

Following the inception of the new government, the new Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation informed the CAMC Engineering Company, through a letter, to repay the over Rs. 4 billion to the Government of Sri Lanka until the project is initiated.

This was rejected by the Chinese company.

Following investigations conducted by the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division, the Colombo Magistrate’s Court recently issued warrants for the arrest of the then Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation, K.W. Ivan de Silva.

The FCID said, Ivan de Silva is now believed to be residing in New Zealand, adding it hopes to obtain an international warrant for his arrest.

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