Written by Zulfick Farzan
22 Oct, 2021 | 2:54 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath in an explosive revelation to Parliament said that Sri Lanka had deposited $ 1.275 Mn to an account of a private company as payment for the recently imported Nano-Nitrogen Fertilizer from India.
“This parliament must be made aware of how the payment was made to the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) for the fertilizer imports,” he told the house on Friday (22).
He said that on the 18th of October, the Treasury had requested the People’s Bank to release $ 1.275 Mn as payment for the imports.
“The due process would be to make payments from the accounts maintained by the Ceylon Fertilizer Company Ltd,” he said.
However, the MP alleged that Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara had intervened and ordered the People’s Bank to open a separate private account at its Town Hall Brach under the name ‘United Farmers Trust Limited’.
“Funds belonging to the People’s Bank were transferred to a private company account. This is not a small amount, but $ 1.275 Mn. That is more than Rs. 290 Mn. in local currency,” he said.
‘The directors of the company are Mohan Perera, G. M. Weerasinghe. Who are these men? Are they public servants?’ questioned the Member of Parliament.
He went on to note that the ‘United Farmers Trust Limited’ had thereafter paid $ 300,000 to IFFCO and another $ 50,000 as freight charges, another $ 37,000 as payments.
“Only a fraction of the total payment was made,” he alleged in Parliament and questioned what happened to the rest of the money.
“Parliament was kept in the dark over this matter, despite the house possessing monetary power,” he said.
The MP said that it was also revealed that the director of ‘United Farmers Trust Limited’ had continuously requested People’s Bank to convert the remaining money into local currency, adding that too is a serious cause for concern.
He urged the government to probe the matter without delay, adding that the #CoalScam also took place in the same manner.
Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage in response said it was the Indian High Commission that facilitated the fertilizer imports and IFFCO had appointed ‘United Farmers Trust Limited’ as its representative in Sri Lanka.
Therefore, the government paid the designated representative and they opened the LCs for the fertilizer imports.
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