Rs 2bn vanished during the initial stage of the Lotus Tower construction : President

Rs 2bn vanished during the initial stage of the Lotus Tower construction : President

Written by Staff Writer

16 Sep, 2019 | 8:50 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – President Maithripala Sirisena declared open South Asia’s tallest tower – the 356 meter Lotus Tower in Colombo today (September 16). The opening ceremony of the Lotus Tower was graced by the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the Commander of the Army and Navy as well as other local and international dignitaries.

A commemorative stamp was issued to mark the official opening of the Lotus Tower.

The president addressed the crowd following the opening ceremony.

President Maithripala Sirisena added that the building was not completed, however, it was in a condition to be opened. He added that it had taken over 7 years to come to this stage and it was not a donation and they had taken a loan from the Exim Bank of China.

President revealed that in 2012 a sum of Rs 2bn was paid to a Chinese Construction Company called ALIT. However, investigations in 2016 divulged that there was no company with the name ALIT and the huge sum of money had vanished without a trace.

President added that following this scam the Exim Bank only agreed to loan Rs 12bn from the Rs 16bn they promised and the government had to bear the remaining expenses using tax payer’s money.

President shared that Sri Lanka has to pay Rs 2400mn as an annual instalment to Exim Bank for 10 years, while the government has to bear another Rs 3bn to complete the tower.

He further added that the money which was spent for the construction of the tower was the money which could have been used to pay the salaries of the government employees, development of this country, to buy medicine for the patients and school equipment for the children for the construction of this tower.

President finally revealed that following the discussions with the Finance Minister, they have decided to establish the tower as a state company. He added that in the coming weeks a Board of Directors will be appointed and the tower would function similar to a private company.

An exchange of souvenirs between the President and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka took place thereafter.

Standing at a height of 356.3 m the lotus tower was constructed at a cost of US$ 104.5mn and out of the total amount US$ 67mn was a loan from the Exim Bank while the rest of the cost was borne by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

The tower includes a rotating restaurant, a shopping mall and a theatre for cultural shows. The tower also consists of 6 super luxury bedrooms.

The area that takes the shape of the lotus flower consists of 8 floors and the 6th and 7th floors are dedicated for the radio and television digital transmission activities.

 

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