US Embassy denies MCC office at Temple Trees; What about the proof that Weerawansa produced?

US Embassy denies MCC office at Temple Trees; What about the proof that Weerawansa produced?

Written by Staff Writer

05 Apr, 2019 | 9:45 pm

Colombo (News 1st): News 1st posed several questions to the US Embassy in Sri Lanka regarding the reports of an office of the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation being set up at Temple Trees.

The US Embassy in Sri Lanka in an email noted the Millennium Challenge Corporation is a U.S. Government entity and does not have an office in Sri Lanka, although there is a coordinator housed at the embassy.

On March 18th MP Wimal Weerawansa claimed that an office of the MCC – a US Government Agency, had an office based within the Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s office,

This was denied by Minister Sagala Ratnayake who challenged MP Weerawansa to prove or resign. Taking up the challenge MP Wimal Weerawansa submitted the relevant documents to parliament yesterday (April 4).

The letter produced by MP Wimal Weerawansa appears to be an official letterhead of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The letter was created on February 15th 2019 and has been forwarded to W.H. Karunaratne.

The letter identifies R. Siriwardena as the National Consultant Coordinator at the Sri Lankan office of Millennium Challenge Corporation and has addressed a letter to the Secretary to the Ministry of Land and Parliamentary Reforms.

The address stated in the letter is the Second Floor, New Building, North Wing, Temple Trees, Colombo 3.

Since the United States has denied having an office in Sri Lanka, how do the PMs office answer MP Wimal Weerawansa’s allegations and subsequent proof by way of a copy of a letter submitted to the parliament of an MCC office at Temple Trees?

In a recent media report, US Ambassador to SL Alaina B. Teplitz is quoted as saying, the MCC will focus on “Certain issues connected with the transportation as well as roads and land registrations in SL”. Why is there an emphasis on Land and Transportation through the MCC in Sri Lanka?

The US Embassy noted that over the last two years, MCC and the Government of Sri Lanka have worked to develop the proposed MCC Sri Lanka Compact to reduce poverty through economic growth. Transport and land issues were identified as priorities by the Government of Sri Lanka and MCC based on an economic analysis conducted in 2016.

The website of the Millenium Challenge Corporation shows that these decisions were made by a committee comprising of Charitha Ratwatte, Mangala Yapa, and Indrajit Coomaraswamy.

It must also be noted that a subject discussed extensively in the recent past that was also criticized by the President, the Land Bank Act and the Land Grants (Special Provisions) Act came into play against such a backdrop.

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