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Grand Hyatt board remains unchanged-official

20 November 2015 06:06 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The board of directors of Canwill Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, the state-owned entity which owns Grand Hyatt Colombo, has not changed as the Public Enterprise Development Ministry stated, and is still working efficiently towards the completion of the project, a top official affirmed.
With contradictory statements coming out of the woodwork over the Grand Hyatt issue, Mirror Business contacted Canwill Holdings Managing Director D. R. P. Abeysinghe, who was appointed to the post in February following the regime change.
“The current board is operating, and we’re going on with our work,” Abeysinghe said.
Yesterday, a Public Enterprise Development Ministry statement said that a new director board has been appointed to Canwill Holdings, and that they are consulting a wide range of professionals to ensure that the project is completed without delays by 2017.
However, it is not clear as to whether changes can be made to state-sector boards without Presidential approval, according to a letter sent by President Maithripala Sirisena to all Ministries in September.
Yet, Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim had written to Canwill’s largest shareholder Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) on November 5, asking it to change Canwill’s board. 
Hashim, under whose purview SLIC now falls following cabinet restructuring in September, is also attempting to change the board of SLIC, as reported by Daily Mirror this week.

High up sources had said that the rationale behind Hashim’s decision in attempting to change the Canwill board was due to his dissatisfaction over the tender procedures of the current board.
Abeysinghe assured that all tenders have been following the rules of procurement set by the Treasury.
“We have published our tenders on newspapers, and on the day of opening tenders, we bring our 3 shareholders and the bidders together, so there is complete transparency,” he said.
On October 5, the Ministry had also called for all tenders to be halted. Grand Hyatt Project Consultant and Senior Architect Dr. Ravihansa Chandratilake said that the delay is causing the project Rs.2 million daily due to idling.
“The bidders think that we are currently evaluating their proposals, so when the Ministry decides to re-open the tenders, we will have to ask for an extension,” Abeysinghe added.
He noted that two bidders who had submitted proposals of around US$15 million for a tender under the past regime have now submitted bids of around US$10-11 million when the same tender was reopened early last month.
Chandratilake said that the board has re-negotiated deals struck under the past regime and saved over Rs.1 billion in costs so far.
Abeysinghe assured that the current board of directors have acted professionally in all aspects of managing the project.
The current board of directors consists of representatives from the 3 state-owned shareholders—Sri  Lanka  Insurance Corporation, the Employee Provident Fund and Litro Gas Lanka Ltd—as well as representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the private sector.
In addition to Abeysinghe, SLIC Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya acts as Canwill Chairman, while Ministry of Finance Deputy Director P. Liyanage, Engineer Dr. Rohan Karunaratne, Litro Gas Chairman S. Munasinghe, EPF Superintendant R. A. A. Jayalath and S. D. Martino are present in the board.
Sources said that the director board Hashim wants to appoint consists of hoteliers Upul Gamage and Prajantha Ratwatte, expatriate Pradeep Liyanamanne, Chandralal Colombage and Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil’s son Rahaman Muzammil.
An undesirable culture in the Sri Lankan state sector is that boards and top bureaucrats are expected to resign following changes of regime or ministers without taking into consideration the performances of the individuals.
The new ministers usually appoint individuals closest to them to the top positions. (Chandeepa Wettasinghe)
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  Comments - 3

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  • Giabao Friday, 20 November 2015 12:12 PM

    I remember once seeing on TV a media show directed by Mr Harsha de Silva who went to that place (with some files of course) and claimed that there is a big fraud involved in this project and he was going to complaint about it....... any update on what happened to that complain. Or it is yet another fake complaint ?

    indikaw Friday, 20 November 2015 01:22 PM

    all media shows only.

    Donkey Pays Saturday, 21 November 2015 09:28 PM

    Why do we need more of these high priced hotels in Colombo ? at first we ave to better our services before we start building.


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