"Nelum Kuluna is indeed charming ... but played a fantastic 'game' ... now those who did so, are missing" -- President

"Nelum Pokuna is indeed charming ... but played a fantastic 'game' ... now those who did so, are missing" -- President

"Nelum Kuluna is indeed charming ... but played a fantastic 'game' ... now those who did so, are missing" -- President

President Maithripala Sirisena declared open Nelum Kuluna considered as the highest tower in South Asia which adorned the city of Colombo. It was opened last afternoon (16). Though this tower was a moment of pride for the country, the President spoke about the wastage involved in an inculpatory manner. Where erecting the building was concerned, a loan instalment of Rs. 2400 million has to be settled every year to Exim Bank in China and that companies who joined in at the
beginning cannot even be located now and that unnecessary large sum of money has been expended.

This is what President said: "Nelum Kuluna in Colombo is handed over to public with a debatable agreement being signed, thus leaving a massive sum of money being lost to Sri Lanka. The estimated total of expenditure of Nelum Pokuna project was Rs. 19 billion and Exim Bank of China has agreed to grant that entire sum of money as a loan to Sri Lankan government. On that agreement a three-party in unison, namely CEIEC of China and ALIT company together with Telecommunication Regulatory Commission put down their signatures on 3-1-2012 for construction of this building. Later what was observed from a survey conducted in 2015 was that no information could be secured about one party, a company known as ALIT. On my instructions the Chinese government was notified across the Sri Lanka consulate in Beijing about this. Thus an attempt was taken to secure information about the company ALIT, it was not possible to trace such a company within China or in any country beyond China. The address indicated too it was revealed to be a bogus one as stated in the said agreement. 

Though a sum of Rs. 2 billion had been paid to China as an advance to ALIT company to initiate this project, what took place concerning that advance of Rs. 2 billion is not recorded in any document as such. Under these circumstances, one of the parties, namely ALIT was dismissed from the three-party agreement of November, 217. After this course of action the loan extended by Exim Bank was suspended. 

Because of this, as a result the anticipated loan of Rs. 16 billion from Exim Bank of China was ultimately limited to Rs. 12 billion. However the loan so far obtained by Sri Lanka is in the process of paying back every year at the rate of Rs. 2400 million (Rs. 240 crores) as an instalment. That instalment of Rs. 240 crores has been settled relevant to the year 2018; but it has to be paid up for yet another period running into 10 years on an annual basis. In the same way, the first quarter of the said loan instalment of Rs. 120 crores relevant to the year 2019 has already been settled. On this background in order to erect the Nelum Kuluna the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has contributed a sum of Rs. 4 billion and has thus made this contribution leaving that amount of money as foreign exchange to the country.     

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