A government-owned fishing net manufacturer, the Northsea Limited, methodically has imported low-quality material from India, it was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to investigate corruption in the current administration.
J.P Fernando and Sons CEO Jude Praveen informed the Commission that earlier fishing nets were manufactured by Cey-Nor Foundation and they used import threads from Toray Industries in Japan, a well known international company in the industry. He informed the PCoI that he used to supply threads for Northsea Limited between 2014 and 2017.
“Before Northsea Limited, when Cey-Nor manufactured nets the company used to import them from Toray and what we know is they asked Northsea Limited also to keep using Toray as a thread manufacture. This is why we were attached to Northsea in 2014 because we had worked with Toray extensively,” he said.
Mr. Praveen said the Northsea management initially purchased a substantial amount of threads from J.P. Fernando and Sons in 2014 but after the management was taken over by the present government in 2015, the company started reducing the purchases.
"Towards the end the purchase order was at retail levels. Still, we delivered the stocks to Northsea fishnet factories in Jaffna, Weerawila and Lunuwila. However they stopped working with us from May 2017 and instead imported Toray products directly as they did before or through other authorized wholesalers, Northsea started importing from India," Mr. Praveen said.
Meanwhile, the owner of Delly Enterprises, Anton Fernando, told the PCoI that Chairperson of Northsea S.T. Parameswaran threatened him on July 2017 after he took part in the bidding process to supply threads for Northsea in 2017.
"He told me that he was the brother of a Jaffna politician and that I should not mess with him. And obviously, I didn't want to continue,” he said. (Yoshitha Perera)