By Mahinda Rajapaksa –
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Colombo Lotus Tower, the President made a statement to the effect that back in 2012, one of the Chinese contractors involved in the project – a company named ALIT – had taken the advance payment of Rs two billion (Around 15 million USD at that time) made by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRC) and disappeared. The President also stated that the government had sent the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Beijing to the address given by ALIT and discovered that there was no such company at that address. This allegation was flashed around the world by international news agencies including Reuters and it became a major news story in many Asian countries.
At the time that this payment was made in 2012, the TRC which was in charge of this project was directly under me as the President. Therefore I wish to make a clarification regarding this matter. In 2012, the total cost of the Lotus Tower project was estimated at 104.3 million US Dollars. The Exim Bank of China agreed to provide a loan facility of 88.6 million USD or up to 85% of the total project cost. The remaining 15% of the cost had to be borne by the TRC. The contractors for projects financed by the Exim Bank of China are nominated by the Chinese government. Accordingly, the China National Electronics Corporation and ALIT were nominated by the Chinese government. The Lotus Tower was due to be completed by 2015, but due to the yahapalana government causing delays in the project and due to lapses on the part of the contractor, it could not be completed according to schedule.