Will the Hyatt and Hilton projects become another corrupt deal?

Will the Hyatt and Hilton projects become another corrupt deal?

Written by Staff Writer

23 Oct, 2018 | 9:01 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Minister of Finance, Minister Mangala Samaraweera was grilled today by journalists at a press conference on the selection of an investor for the Hyatt and Hilton hotels.

Minister Mangala says that an advertisement on the two hotels was published in an international newspaper and that 88 key foreign companies so far expressed their interest over the project. “Today we decided to revise the period to one month. That means the extension will be for another two weeks, and one month since the date of publication” added the Minister.

Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara claims the information he produced before, claiming that the Grand Hyatt Colombo deal was fixed had now been confirmed following the publication of a newspaper advertisement on the matter.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera also copied to the President, MP Vasudeva says that he did not see the advertisement published on the Daily newspaper, calling for expressions of interest for the purchase of the Hilton and Grand Hyatt, on any other newspaper. The letter adds that the MP had taken steps to file a case with the Supreme court based on the information that he received regarding the Hyatt deal.

MP Nanayakkara adds that his suspicions on this deal being a corrupt one was confirmed through the content of the advertisement. The advertisement published in the newspapers on the 18th of October calling for Expression of Interest for the Grand Hyatt and Hilton Colombo had given time only up to the 31st October, which is just 13 days.

The MP notes, the advertisement itself is evidence enough that the time given is hardly adequate for international bidders to be able to respond as the process to even consider such a large investment takes much longer. MP Nanayakkara adds that advisers to the government should be well aware that a considerable amount of time is required to attract investors for such a massive scale project.

The MP goes on to note these are pre-fixed deals already in place. He requests the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to stop proceeding with the advertisement and extend the time given at least to three months.

Many deals of this nature had taken place in the past.

In the Hambanthota deal although another Chinese company presented a competitive bid for the Hambanthota port the Minister was changed and the port was sold to a selected company of one’s own choice.

The tender relating to the LNG power plant in Kerewalapitiya is also marred with serious issues. Finally, an attempt was made to hand it over to Lanka transformers and even that too was challenged in court.

We continuously reported on how a selected company was favoured when awarding the Central Expressway project even when other companies had presented lower bids. Who received Japanese funds in return for this highway project?

These white-collar thieves will have to face the punishment meted out through the decision of the public.

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