Sri Lanka has agreed to pay about 3.4 million US dollars (about billion rupees) to a consultancy led by Japanese firms, after a light rail transit (LRT) project was cancelled suddenly reports economynext quoting the auditor general.
As soon as he come to power former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa suddenly and without any proper consultation cancelled an LRT project which was to be financed through a low interest loan from the Japan International Co-operation Agency, damaging relations between the two countries.
A claim for compensation was submitted by the OCG joint venture made up of Oriental Consultants Global Co Ltd, Japan International Consultants for Transportation Co Ltd; Chodai Co Ltd; Nippon Koei Co Ltd; and Sri Lanka’s Consulting Engineers and Architects Associated (Pvt) Ltd.
A negotiation committee had been appointed by the Cabinet to look into the claim.
The cabinet had approved on November 2022 to pay 2,930,307 US dollars for work already done, 492,749 dollars costs including terminating staff of the OCG venture, according to comments made by Sri Lanka’s Auditor General in annual accounts of the Treasury.
Another 3.733 million rupees would be paid relating to a delay in re-imbursing value added tax
The irony is that some of the Cabinet ministers who supported Gota’s arbitrary decision to terminate the project have now approved to pay compensation for their own decision.
In September 2020 PM Mahinda Rajapaksa led Cabinet of Ministers gave its approval to terminate the Japan-funded Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which was planned to be implemented in the western region of Sri Lanka as a solution for the severe traffic congestion. The decision to terminate the project was taken after the revelation by the Minister of Transport that the project is unable to achieve the desired results.
In May 20203 Media reported that President Ranil Wickremesinghe obtained Cabinet approval for the Japanese funded Colombo Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which was suspended by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration, is to resume.
As there is a complete immunity for political class for any kind of crime, no politician will be held accountable for the loss of one billion rupees of public money.
(With the imputes from EconomyNext)