Heavy criticism over government’s Selendiva project

Heavy criticism over government’s Selendiva project

Heavy criticism over government’s Selendiva project

Written by Staff Writer

28 May, 2021 | 9:41 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Former committee on public enterprises (COPE) chairman Sunil Handunnetti has accused the government of attempting to sell public assets.

His criticism came amidst revelations that the government has approved a cabinet proposal to vest ancient buildings and valuable lands in Colombo under one authority and to sell them under the guise of investments.

News 1st revealed details of how an entity named Selendiva Investments Ltd had been established with its ownership being held 100 percent with the treasury.

A Special Purpose Vehicle had been created under this company for investments.

Cabinet approval has been granted for this exercise under which multiple properties in Colombo and its suburbs will be brought under the Special Purpose Vehicle entity that will fall under the company.

The properties classified as the Colombo Fort Heritage Square investment portfolio include;

  • Grand Oriental Hotel and York Building
  • Gafoor Building
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Postal Department Head Office.

Meanwhile, the Cey Nor Restaurant along D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, the mega mixed development project of the Waters Edge Hotel and the International Coordination Centre in Kankesanturai in Jaffna are classified as the immovable property development investment portfolio

Further, The Hilton Colombo and Grand Hyatt are also to be brought under the SPV and will be given away to investors.

“The proposal approved by the cabinet paves the way for agreements and companies to which these public assets can be given away,” Handunnetti said.

He recalled that the Maga Neguma entity was established under the Road Development Authority in the past.

“The Rajapaksa administration had set up several similar entities in the past as well. The law wasn’t enforced against them,” the former COPE chairman noted.

He pointed out that although Selendiva is portrayed as a state-owned entity, the Special Purpose Vehicle entity set up under it paves the way for properties to be sold.

“Ultimately, we know that it is the henchmen of the government and the thieves who will be the owners of these properties,” Handunnetti said.

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