If President Maithripala Sirisena’s claim that Rs.2 billion was missing from the investment of Lotus Tower Project was incorrect, it is obvious that officials who gave him the figures were to be blamed for such misinformation, General Secretary of the UPFA, Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.
He told the media yesterday that he was aware that the Chinese Embassy and one of the partners of the Lotus Tower Project, the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka were to issue a clarification on the issue today or tomorrow.
President Sirisena in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Lotus Tower on Monday afternoon said no one was aware as to what had happened to Rs.2 billion paid as an advance to the Chinese construction company, the National Electronics Import and Export Corporation of China (CEIEC) in 2012 as a part of the total investment Rs.16 billion.
The claim created a major stir in the media and in the political field. Former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita appeared on the TV and said the claim was false and all payments made for the project had been properly utilized.
Responding to journalists, Mr. Amaraweera said President Sirisena did not personally probe whether there was any misappropriation of the investment and added he talked about an alleged fraud based only on information provided by officials.
“President Sirisena inquire for sure if the claim is wrong. We also must wait until the clarifications of the Chinese Embassy and TRC are out,” he said.
Answering to another query, Mr. Amaraweera said he was absolutely sure that President Sirisena did not intend to offend opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Minister Basil Rajapaksa under whose management the Lotus Tower Project was launched or the SLPP by disclosing the alleged fraud. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)