Parliament debates alleged fraud at West Coast Power

Parliament debates alleged fraud at West Coast Power

Written by Staff Writer

07 Feb, 2019 | 7:35 pm

Colombo (News 1st): A debate took place in Parliament regarding the West Coast Company a subsidiary of Lanka Transformers Limited, which is partly owned by the Ceylon Electricity Board. This company owns the Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya as well.

Speaking in Parliament today (Feb 7) UNP MP Professor Ashu Marasinghe noted that the power purchase agreement for the power plants submitted to the oversight committee on the 4th May of 2017 has a number of anomalies. He added that when compared the total capital cost recovery the government is spending US$ 6433 per Kilo Watt in Kelanitissa when the government should be spending US$ 2021 at West Coast.

Professor Marasinghe added that the country is losing  Rs20 billion annually as a result of the issues in this agreement.  He went onto that if the loss is calculated from the date the agreement was signed, this amount would exceed 200 billion.

Responding to this Minister of Power and Energy Ravi Karunanayake vowed that this will be revealed without any intervention. He noted that 63% of LTL belongs to the Ceylon Electricity Board and West Coast is a subsidiary of it. He added that this is a serious issue where a court case has been filed on the 28th of January 2019.

Minister Karunanayake requested the Supreme Court to make this a company that belongs to the government. He pointed out that as per the 19th amendment to the constitution all institutions where 51% or more shares belong to the government, should go to the Auditor General or else they should be audited privately and a report should be submitted. The Minister added that he will resolve this issue.

Professor Marasinghe added that there is COPE report regarding the issue and when carrying this out at the oversight committee they faced various interventions to stop this from being taken up by the oversight committee. He added that there are certain officials of the CEB who are involved in this. The MP noted that the lacklustre behaviour of acertain CEB high ranking official had resulted in the negotiations of the power purchase agreement to be s to be stalled for 2 and a half years.

Minister Karunanayake added that when he was holding office at the Ministry of Finance he recommended that the money that is here be obtained and to convert the losses into profits that has not happened yet.

 

A great deal of time has elapsed since News 1st, first exposed the extent of embezzlement and the deprivation of profits, rightly due to the people of Sri Lanka, through companies like LTL and West Coast, which were established with funds from the Ceylon Electricity Board. As far as the people are concerned, there is some cause for relief that the eyes of Parliament have been opened at least now, to the fraud carried out through these companies which even failed to pay dividends on the profits they made using public funds.

Similarly, whilst many were unable to comprehend the extent of the losses caused by the bond scam when first reported on it, following the revelations that have come to light through the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, these exposés have been confirmed as fact. However, we are yet to see any concerted effort to investigate the second bond scam perpetrated in 2016, and there appears to be no interest in conducting a forensic audit into the first bond scam.

On many occasions over the past several years, we have also reported on the fraud, scams, and irregularities that were being perpetrated at SriLankan Airlines. The appointment of a presidential commission of inquiry into allegations surrounding Sri Lankan airlines, by the government elected in 2015, is to be commended.

Whilst we continuously exposed fraud and corruption surrounding expressway projects, the recent report of the Committee on Public Enterprises has vindicated and confirmed the truth of our reportage. We also turned the spotlight on the manner in which the cabinet paper on the construction of the final segment of the Outer Circular Expressway was presented after the contract had already been signed.

As a premier news organization, we ensure that all exposés carried by us are substantiated with documented proof and other evidence and we stand by the accuracy of our reporting.

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