The parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) will probe the Rs.18 billion rice import scam in which both the present and the previous regimes were allegedly involved, COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti told Parliament today.
He said more than 200,000 metric tons of rice had been imported in stages during the latter half of 2014.
Mr. Handunnetti said a consignment of 60,000 metric tons of rice had been imported without Cabinet approval just prior to the presidential election and that the country had lost Rs.18 billion from this questionable transaction.
He said the country had lost a further Rs.2.3 billion as a result of the decision made by the present regime to sell the remaining stock of rice. "This is as serious as the bond scam," Mr. Handunnetti said.
Trade and Industries Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in his response said the rice was sold based on tenders obtained from several potential buyers. "The stock of rice was sold to the highest bidder on a Court order," he said. (Yohan Perera)