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China didn’t fund my election campaign: MR

1 July 2018 11:18 am - 77     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected the allegations made by the New York Times article and said no contribution was made by the China Harbour Company to his presidential election campaign in 2015.

In a statement, Mr. Rajapaksa said if any election campaign contributions had been made to him by China Harbour Company, the Port City contract would not have been restored to them and neither would they have been allowed to bid for the lease of the Hambantota harbour.

The full statement issued by the former President:

The New York Times published an article titled “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” on Monday June 25, 2018 and our political opponents have made quite a carnival of it, marching to the FCID to make complaints, holding press conferences and calling for presidential commissions of inquiry. However, the main allegation in this article - that 7.6 million USD had been given to me as campaign contributions by China Harbour Co during the 2015 presidential elections, is based on a Reuters report that appeared three years ago in July 2015.

At that time the new yahapalana government had suspended all Chinese funded projects and all Chinese firms including China Harbour Co which was building the Colombo Port City, were being investigated. More than a year later, this government cleared China Harbour Co of any wrongdoing and the Port City project was handed back to them.

No contribution was made by China Harbour Co to my 2015 presidential election campaign. While claiming that my ‘affiliates’ and ‘campaign aides’ had got the money and that ‘volunteers’ had delivered the cheques to Temple Trees, the writer of the New York Times article has been intentionally vague about who had given this money and who had received it. This seems to be a way of carrying out a smear campaign without incurring any liability. The Prime Minister himself has gone on record describing the Colombo Port City as the premier project on which his government has placed its hopes.

If any election campaign contributions had been made to me by China Harbour Co, the Port City contract would not have been restored to them and neither would they have been allowed to bid for the lease of the Hambantota harbour.

The NYT writer has stated that they had obtained some of the details in that article from a Sri Lankan ‘government investigation’. Every Sri Lankan knows that the main preoccupation of this government since it came into power has been to sling mud at the opposition.

The NYT writer alleged that China financed the Hambantota Port project with the ulterior motive of ensnaring Sri Lanka in a debt trap even though the feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. That is not true. One of the world’s foremost engineering consultancy firms Ramboll of Denmark was identified by the Chandrika Kumaratunga government to do the first feasibility study but that government was defeated before the study could get off the ground.

Then the Ranil Wickremasinghe government commissioned another top engineering consultancy firm SNC Lavalin of Canada which completed its feasibility study in June 2003.

In 2004, under the second Chandrika Kumaratunga government, Minister Mangala Samaraweera commissioned Ramboll of Denmark again to do a feasibility study and this was completed in 2007. Thus, two feasibility studies under two different governments recommended the building of the Hambantota port.

The loans taken to build phases I & II and the bunkering facility of the Hambantota harbour amounted to around 1,322 million USD. The NYT writer alleged that the initial loan of $307 million had been renegotiated to a 6.3% fixed rate after having been taken initially at a concessionary rate. The intention was to make the point that China was lending at exorbitant rates of interest. This initial loan was taken at the LIBOR benchmark rate plus 0.75%. During that period, the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) increased, pushing up the actual interest rate of the initial loan to 6.5%. It was then that a fixed rate of 6.3% was negotiated. However, the remaining USD one billion was taken from China at the concessionary interest rate of 2%. The writer states that loans could have been taken from other countries at an even lower rate of interest. However, in taking project loans, the interest rate is not the only criteria to be considered. When such bilateral agreements are entered into, the lending nation recommends the contractor and the price quoted by this contractor also has to be taken into account. In that respect China provided the best deal. The Hambantota port was actually built at a lower cost than the estimates in the Ramboll and SNC Lavalin feasibility reports.

The Hambantota Port is deemed to have failed because it drew only 32 ships in 2012 compared with 3,667 ships at the Colombo port. However, the NYT writer fails to mention that this increased to 335 in 2014. The port made an operating profit of Rs. 900 million in 2014 and Rs. 1,200 million in 2015. These are investments that last centuries and a new harbour that opened in 2011 cannot be expected to produce profits by 2012. The writer further claims that the present government was compelled to lease the port to China because they were unable to repay the loan taken to build it. The total cost of financing the Hambantota port (capital plus interest) will be USD 1,761 million by the time the loan expires in 2036. By the end of 2016, nearly USD 500 million of this total amount had already been repaid. There was never any problem about meeting the payments for the Hambantota port because it was paid out of the profits of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The Auditor General’s report for 2014 states that the profit of the SLPA in 2014 after paying all loans and taxes was Rs. 8.8 billion.
Even though the NTY writer appears to be unaware of it, every Sri Lankan knows that the government did not use the 1,120 million USD received from the port lease to repay the loan taken to build it. Instead it went to the treasury to meet the day to day expenditure of the government and the loan still remains on our books. Though the writer claims that China has got the Hambantota harbour (with its industrial zone of 5000 acres) and an additional 15,000 acres from Sri Lanka due to the debt trap that China inveigled Sri Lanka into, there was never any Chinese debt trap as alleged.

The SLPA had made careful plans to raise the money to meet the loan repayments until the Hambantota port broke even. This included the development of the Colombo East container terminal which was expected to bring in an additional income of 100 million USD a year to the SLPA.

When my government was voted out, we had already signed a Supply Operate and Transfer contract with China Harbour Co and China Merchant Co to operate the Hambantota container terminal for 40 years. The other terminals and the 5000-acre industrial zone in the harbour was to be controlled by the SLPA. We never had any plans to lease the entire free port for 99 years to any foreign company. That took place under the present government which was installed in power by the very Western nations that are now complaining about the Chinese presence in Hambantota. When I was President, China never asked for the port on lease or for any land outside the port. It is the present government of Sri Lanka that proposed to China that they take the entire free port on lease.

The NYT writer states that the lease of the Hambantota port gave China control of territory close to the shores of India, and that India was now apprehensive about the uses that this port may be put to. Such a situation would never have arisen if my government had continued in power. Former Indian External Affairs Secretary and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Mennon has said in his 2016 book “Choices: Inside the making of India’s foreign policy” that my defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a clear view of Sri Lanka’s interests which was completely compatible with India’s interests and that India had been given assurances about the nature of Sri Lanka’s relationship with China.

Mennon further stated that Gotabaya was sensitive to India’s concerns and that the assurances given to India by my government were respected throughout the duration of the Congress Party government which was voted out in May 2014. The New York Times has described me as China’s preferred partner in Sri Lanka. Given what has taken place after 2015, I have no doubt that I am now the preferred partner of India as well.

  Comments - 77

  • Waru Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:33 AM

    Right! We believe you.

    mike Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:03 PM

    ok then do we believe a report by ny times which even US president said is bull shit. why are people just shooting in the air without proof . if MR was wrong why is he not behind bars? are all other in SL saints incle pre/pm to executive managers in private sector. all take bribes . commenced fm gam udawa time

    jaykay Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:32 PM

    People with social poverty mindset still believe him - he walks like a free man because of incapable system of SL.

    Prabha Monday, 02 July 2018 01:04 AM

    Jaykay you walk a frre man after 2009 may is because of MR . Yes we believe in him because he delivered unlike present puppies

    Waru Monday, 02 July 2018 02:58 AM

    @Mike, sadly the present government dont have the backborne to place him behind bars. We live in a society unfortunately among people that believe everything this joker and his family say.

    Janaya Monday, 02 July 2018 07:23 AM

    Of course, the cheques or cash would have gone into their pockets!!!

    Learn now Monday, 02 July 2018 07:50 AM

    Mr.X.President a thief will never accept he is a thief. Thanks for the statement but no time to read.

    jobcyber Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:52 AM

    Thank you for the information and noted MR

    Empulz Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:59 AM

    As you say China did not fund your campaign it was the chinese along with the whole Sri Lankan population that funded your campaign, remeber the tabs you kept to the SLTB, and othe state media channels.

    Labby Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:06 PM

    Is it thinkable that he would admit the charges? Are we so naive as to believe him when he says China did not fund him? Why not take him to courts and let him swear under oath.., then bring in all the evidence.

    Cobra Sunday, 01 July 2018 08:15 PM

    Swear under oath? He'd do that too!!!

    MediaJunkie Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:07 PM

    How can he even make a defense out of this?! All his projects in Hambantota including the port, the highways and the Mattala Airport have been failures generating a loss for the government and racking up a huge debt. These Chinese tactics have been observed in other poor countries as well so it's no surprise they tried it with MR too.

    Anura Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:15 PM

    China did not fund your election campain but election campaign was there when they fund

    Jayant Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:02 PM

    I fully agree with you

    Sam Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:15 PM

    Ok, yes, ok, right, sure, ok

    TONY Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:41 PM


    observer Sunday, 01 July 2018 09:23 PM

    Seems like you know for sure.Why don't you share with the authority because for the last three years they could not prove anything.

    DG Monday, 02 July 2018 06:55 AM

    as for Tsunam funds then CJ clearly declared facts.

    TONY Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:43 PM


    Arnold Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:46 PM

    The election campaign jumped into the Chinese fund, may be.

    TONY Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:47 PM


    Criminal Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:50 PM

    Unfortunately there are masses that believe him blindly .

    TONY Sunday, 01 July 2018 12:52 PM


    Casanova Sunday, 01 July 2018 01:00 PM

    May be the Chinese didn't fund , who wants funds when you had billions of looted money?

    Cisco Sunday, 01 July 2018 01:04 PM

    So far he did not nentioned "mata ehema kiyanna pissuya" or "mama ehema kiwwe neha" like present head of the government stated regarding closing of airport after January 8th and comments made on 100 day programe. I nhst compare

    Haramanis Sunday, 01 July 2018 01:05 PM

    We believe you Sir. We are also aware of the attempts suppress China considered a threat to continued world dominance by the sole superpower USA

    jaykay Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:20 PM

    Yes, you will believe this day light robbers - this is kind of social poverty in third world countries- This guy will walk like a free man when incapable govt, media, justice system in place

    Jaya Sunday, 01 July 2018 01:43 PM

    Peoples of this country know very well how the politicians are spending politicians' money for the benefit of people of this country as well as for the election campaigns.Peoples are now very rich and the politicians become to poor.

    Pisubala Sunday, 01 July 2018 01:51 PM

    Thank you for the information only God knows the truth we have to believe it whether it was actually given by China or not

    Ronnie Bugger Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:03 PM

    So he says, but who trusts him.

    Daily boru Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:09 PM

    Ok, China did I find your campaign, then who did? Delsi akka?

    Upali Sunday, 01 July 2018 03:51 PM

    Who has been funding Ranil's 30 year political career with zero success?

    Lion Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:19 PM

    Now you and your son and your cronies are shouting that this funding is a fake.Now MR is going to sue the New York Times. We are wating to see how he files the case.This is how you had thamasahas around the country.How you bribed the voters with sarees,clocks journalists with tabs.We are sure of the report of NYt having Seen how you had spend the money in the election.

    Liyanamahaththya Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:31 PM

    NYT writer is more objective and clearer than the writer of this statement If theres no fesr one can go to a public debate

    Sambo Sunday, 01 July 2018 02:47 PM

    Even if they did would you admit it.

    Santha Sunday, 01 July 2018 03:05 PM

    You have have mentioned about the operating profit of years 2014, and 2105. Please elaborate on this (a) Revenue earned from operations ordered to divert from Colombo Port to Hambantota ( Vehicles etc.) separately.(b) Revenue earned from new business by Hambantota port separately.(c) What was the projected revenue according to your business plan for the Hambantota Port and what was achieved. (d) Did that business plan included the shifting of operations from Colombo to Hambantota, and envisaged gain by Hambantota against loss suffered by Colombo due to shifting of operations.

    ABN Sunday, 01 July 2018 10:25 PM

    New port wont show profits in one year...understand that first..without your crap

    aza Sunday, 01 July 2018 03:06 PM

    China didnot fund the campaign ,but transfer money in to my account ,I didnt pay money I owe to SLTB or Rupavahini or ITN because we use them as private property ,Daisy accahi may also got some money to buy valuable lands in Colombo to give as gifts to my sons

    s.shiha Sunday, 01 July 2018 03:40 PM

    He is a Mahatma Gandhi !!!! lool

    vithura Sunday, 01 July 2018 04:14 PM

    Poor man, who only spoke 'truth and only the truth' at all times and thinks the rest of us are fools to believe his story line.

    parakum Sunday, 01 July 2018 04:31 PM

    Why not go and tell your joke to "KONDE PATHAPU CHEENUNTA

    Coconut Republic Sunday, 01 July 2018 05:26 PM

    Without any further delays , The current govt must confiscate all wealth piled up from the time they came into power. It's not only from the former 1st family but also their cronies. This includes all ministers, grama niladharis, Govt authorities, all defense and police personnel, the corrupted businessmen and their family friends etc etc. All properties registered from the day they came to power must be taken over, sold and the money to be in the Treasury. All big transfers in and out of SL must be asked for source of funds and must be seized if found to beyond means of anyone. This should include all religious members too. Go all out on this actions. Upon cleaning up start with the current set of Crookes. Don't spare any's our hard earned money!!!

    Haramanis Sunday, 01 July 2018 10:42 PM

    Coconut. Please get into your head the priorities - First and foremost jail Hora Ravi and confiscate his properties, second of all Expel him from Royal College, third of all Expel him from the UNP!!

    C.K.Lankaputhra Sunday, 01 July 2018 05:31 PM

    who had given this money and who had received it. Unknown person gave and Daisy Aunty received it.

    vithura Sunday, 01 July 2018 05:42 PM

    If so where did the money come from, was it from state funds? Non accountability of persons in public positions for their actions, is a serous drawback in the present system of governance!

    Perumal Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:07 PM


    Dhammika Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:09 PM

    You can FOOL some people some times , ALL the people some times BUT NOT ALL the people all the time ! .

    Unchikun Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:14 PM

    You will go down in history and the President who finished off the 30 year old war, ushered in family rule and looted the country and selling the Sri Lanka to the Chinese. This was an open secret.

    Gamaya Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:23 PM

    Let our great leader sue the NY Times for defamation. What better way to get to the truth.

    observer Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:35 PM

    Seems everyone after MR but forgot the bond scam during this government !.

    Amused Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:50 PM

    People, don't forget the " bond scam". They will be going after MR looking for a "needle in a haystack", while the "elephant" is under their nose!

    Karunaratna Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:52 PM

    A Minister with 'dental' background owns bought many ships since became to power in 2015. Is this same Chinese company gave him millions of dollars to buy ships, as salary for a Minister cannot buy ships.

    Buddhi Perera Sunday, 01 July 2018 06:59 PM

    Without saying it in one sentence "They did not give me any money". MR confuses the issue by making a lecture on Chinese projects.

    Samantha Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:02 PM

    Someone has wrote this response to comfort his or her boss. However we cant see any denial of taking money from either side. If his hands are clean, the best he can do is to send a vlear reply to NY Times and sue them on the nasis of defamation or what ever it is. But We all know who is he and what the Rajapaksha family did when they were in power. I think MY Times know better than us and better than FCID.

    Cobra Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:03 PM

    Yeah maybe indirectly!!!

    Huna Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:26 PM

    He doesnt want to sue the paper because he knows then the truth and evident's will be revealed

    jaykay Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:29 PM

    This guy - a day light robber still walks in the streets of SL like a king - because of incapable govt in power with it incapable judiciary system, inefficient media orgs

    Citizen Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:33 PM

    Well said!

    Buddhist Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:36 PM

    This is the time JVP should take leadership. Some times JVP creates strikes just to create trouble. But when its important, when a foreign country has given money to the last President and his buddhist monks, JVP is quite. They should organize massive rallies to mobilize the masses to request a Presidential Commission with strong powers to investigate this. This is the worst action by a foreign country violating our sovereignty. Why are the other Monks, civil societies, NGOs etc are quite about it?.

    Jayasri Sunday, 01 July 2018 07:52 PM

    This was the same reaction former Malaysian PM Najib Razak levelled against NYT when 1MDB scandal was revealed

    Ceylon Sunday, 01 July 2018 08:02 PM

    China knows how to use money.lanka and most of african countries are now china's colonies.if you borrow money above the amount you can pay,lender asking you to send your wife for the weekend.its well known secret about money lenders.when you borrow money you must ready to pay with your wife.this is what china doing too.borrow money and give your airports,sea ports for our use.

    Lion Sunday, 01 July 2018 08:35 PM

    A man Who robed tsunami funds and escaped with the help of former CJ who publicly claimed that MR is still doing politics thank for him. He further asked for pardon from public for allowing him to escape. Going by that we can certainly say this man took that money for election purposes.

    Samanmalee Sunday, 01 July 2018 08:50 PM

    He said that the NYT had been "intentionally vague about who had given this money and who had received it".If he was innocent why didn't he just say that no money was given and no money was received. He seems to know that money changed hands .

    Wahab Sunday, 01 July 2018 10:38 PM

    There are official reports that Americans spent so much to change the regimes which they do not want to be puppets government of the west let us talk about that first

    Ismail Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:33 PM

    Correct China didn't fund your election campaign but you stole the money which was loaned by China for infrastructure development and used it for your election campaign. Your one hell of thief. Our poor people are suffering while your family and your crook friends have fun. And best of all the poor villagers still believe you to do good but you still keep on lying and robbing. God save our country from a crook like and your family.

    mugunthan Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:38 PM


    Dushyantha Kekulawela Sunday, 01 July 2018 11:40 PM

    The Honorable Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka is confused. In accordance with the US justice system, it is not that easy to sue someone for defamation. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is wise enough not to go after the New York Times for defamation although he is entitle to.

    ChandraG Monday, 02 July 2018 12:34 AM

    What rubbish. Sad to see once a great leader at this level of corruption and loss of integrity. You could have gone down in history as a great president, Mr. Rjapakse, not this freak show you continue to reao for yourself with the stolen billions of $$$.

    Dehami Monday, 02 July 2018 04:25 AM

    Mahinda crediibility is something that you have lost even with the poor.Its common knowledge that you misused state funds running into over 50 thousand million for the campaign.Foreign funds and looted wealth is with you.If the law of karma is right we will see how you and family will enjoy ill gotten wealth

    lion Monday, 02 July 2018 05:25 AM

    Cant you all remember how this man converted temple trees to a grand DANSALA. He fed people starting from 3 wheel drivers, gramasevakas, Lawyers, government officials which include teachers too. All were given any amount of free liquor to enjoy. Dansala could hold thousands of people at a time.He thought all who were fed at temple trees would vote for him. His pattern of bribing surpass any politician in this country. We had very shroot Presidents but non of them cant compete with this man.

    Nimal Monday, 02 July 2018 07:21 AM

    You might be able to fool some people, unfortunately not the majority anymore. You have to face the reality. You must understand that your Use By Time is finished. Thank you for your great contributions over years but sorry to understand what has been lying under the scarf

    DG Monday, 02 July 2018 08:03 AM

    Wrong info above on feasibility studies. Not identified firm Ramboll initially. First ever study by SNC Lavalin at no cost to our Treasury selected on initiation by SDA and handled by BOI in 2000 and report out in 2003. Concluded viable as a container port on BOT basis under PPP approach.This report was found to be non-bankable.So Ports Ministry called offers for consultancy in 2001 and selected Ramboll of Denmark cost borne by SLPA and report seem to have been out in2006. After 5 years of operation recorded profit was far below the loan repayment. Only huge debt burden created.

    Mahendra's Aesope's Fables Monday, 02 July 2018 08:35 AM


    Ian Monday, 02 July 2018 08:39 AM

    No...Noooo. The election campaign funded China!!!

    Ajja Monday, 02 July 2018 09:01 AM

    The whole world knows that China funded you and the common candidate was supported by the Western world.As you see you cannot fool the people all the time.

    Nimal Monday, 02 July 2018 11:24 AM

    Come on Wimale, where are you hiding we are missing your 2 cents worth, , this is "Videsha Kumanthrnra"

    mugunthan Monday, 02 July 2018 09:51 PM


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