The government is expected to call for a fresh tender for the supply of coal for the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant, after the Supreme Court recently declared that the Government had ‘shocked the conscience of the Court’ due to the actions of ministry officials. The deal had reportedly resulted in the State incurring a loss of approximately Rs. 1.2 billion, which was signed during Minister Champika Ranawaka’s tenure as power and energy minister.
The statement was made by Chief Justice K. Sripavan, and supported by Supreme Court Judges P. Dep and U. Abeyraythne when Noble Resources International Pte Limited, filed a fundamental rights petition at the Supreme Court claiming that their fundamental rights were violated after a tender was awarded to another Singaporean Company, Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises by the Ministry of Power and Energy. Noble Resources International cited that they has provided the bid in 2015 in accordance to the guidelines and provisions of the bid document issued by the ministry.
Even though the Supreme Court dismissed the case on June 24, 2016 citing a preliminary objection raised by the respondents, comprising of 75 including Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, B M S Batagoda, Secretary to the Ministry, the President, the Prime Minister, and former subject Minister Champika Ranawaka, the Court informed the respondents that it would be ‘appropriate to’ terminate the contract entered into with Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte for the supply of Coal to the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant after giving reasonable’ notice to the said Respondent; and to call for fresh bids in terms of the law, for the supply of Coal for the said power plant following competitive Bidding procedure.
“The Court is mindful that the fundamental rights provisions in the Constitution must be interpreted having regard to the constitutional objectives and goals and in the light of the action taken by the Governmental Authority at a given point of time. As it is essential to the maintenance of the rule of law that every organ of the State must act within the limits of its power and carry out the duty imposed upon it in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law, the Court cannot close its eyes and allow the actions of the State or the Public Authority go unchecked in its operations, in the public interest. If the Petitioner with a good case is turned away, merely because he is not sufficiently affected or the Petitioner has no “locus standi” to maintain this application, that means that some Government Agency is left free to violate the law and this is not only contrary to the public interest but also violate the Rule of Law, the object of which is to protect the citizens from unlawful governmental actions,” the order said.
It added that, “It will be a travesty of justice if, having found as a fact that a fundamental right has been infringed or is threatened to be infringed, the Court yet dismisses the application on a preliminary objection raised by the Respondents. This Court has been given power to grant relief as it may deem just and equitable. The Court therefore decided to go into the merits of the case as some of the events that took place, in the award of the tender to the 22nd Respondent shocks the conscience of the Court, especially when the awarding of the tender involves “public funds.”
Earlier when the application was taken up for hearing on March 16, 2016, Mr. S. Rajaratnam , Additional Solicitor General, raised the following two preliminary objections on the ground that the Petitioner does not have locus standi to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 126 of the Constitution :
(1) That the Petitioner is a Company registered under the laws of Singapore has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court all by itself without a local agent, representative or an Attorney at Law enjoining him as a Petitioner.
(2) That the affidavit submitted in support of the Petition is from a Director of the Petitioner Company who has affirmed or sworn the affidavit in Hong Kong before the Justice of Peace based in Hong Kong for the said affidavit to be accepted as a 10 testimony before this Court without recourse to the mechanism set out in the Consular Functions Act No. 04 of 1981
The deal had reportedly resulted in the State incurring a loss of approximately Rs. 1.2 billion.
shankar / July 11, 2016
with all the billions of losses that are taking place another tax increase maybe necessary to offset these losses.Unless jamis banda in the picture can quickly turn colombo into a megapolisiya and we can rake in the shekels.
KA Sumanasekera / July 11, 2016
Is this a smiling assassin with an AK 47 or a Commission Agent like Mahendran who is the flavour of the month…
Plato. / July 11, 2016
Hope the conscience of the Supreme Court will also be shocked on the Duty-Free car permit issue!
justice / July 11, 2016
On this verdict, Champika Ranawake and, the ministry officials concerned, must be interrogated by FCID, as this appears to be an attempted corruption on a massive scale.
anonymous / July 11, 2016
Interrogating will take it nowhere. This fraudster along with the others like Rajitha Senarathne, Dilan Perera, Nimal Lansa, Arjuna Ranathunge, Wijedasa Rajapakse …. to name a few should be kicked out of the government after the agreed two year period of ‘Yahapalana’ trial between the UNP and the SLFP.
harry hatton / July 11, 2016
Who are the principals behind this Swiss Singapore enterprise ?
Who is their local agent ?
It is common knowledge that it is another Royalist, a close friend of RW and Malik S.
It is the same guy who 15 years ago bribed and corrupted Ratwatte when he was energy minister.
Sri Lankan leaders simply cannot resist big bribes especially when given in dollars
Most of the employees at the electricity board are bribed by him as a routine practice.
anonymous / July 11, 2016
“Sri Lankan leaders simply cannot resist big bribes especially when given in dollars”
But, what they do not know is, when the bribes are in $,£,it’s easy for the givers to keep track of it. These idiotic, ignorant southerners of Sorry Lanka think they are investing for their kith & kin.
KA Sumanasekera / July 12, 2016
Of course you guys are smart. That is why you used Mr Pirahaparan to get your income in those Dollars , Pounds EUs and even Kronars.
And some are even smarter to get them even without lifting a finger.
Good on you.
One big Politician in the West said they should work smarter and not harder.
And you are doing it to a tee…
But leave our Southerners alone, Because thy didn’t elect your Yahapalana mates.
anonymous / July 12, 2016
“But leave our Southerners alone, Because thy didn’t elect your Yahapalana mates”
My dear Sumane,
I am no mate of the ‘Yahapalanya’ clan or any other. My clan is the ‘Sekha’. Didn’t you know Pirubaharan was living in the south with his uncle who owned a little ‘Suruttu Kade’ selling a bit of everything as a child ?. During the riots, the so called patriotic southeners’ killed his uncle in front of the shop by dumping him in a barrel of boiling tar, alive.
So, Pirubaharan had nothing to do with $, £ or Euros. It was pure revenge and who provoked him, the patriotic ‘Southeners’.
Sorry, Sumane, the truth hurts but does not heel the wounds.
Patriot / July 11, 2016
This is the Judges calling the shots. Those who denigrate the integrity and professionalism of the Sri Lankan judges are being thought a lesson. First the Coal Tender, now the VAT case. Supreme court is kicking YahapalNaya where it hurts the most. More is to come. Sripavan et al sure have balls we respect them for that. Way to go.
timbuttu / July 11, 2016
its always been the case with tenders, scholarships etc.all parties do it and honest long standing men collect the commission for distribution.
The CJ is merely offering a bone to barking dogs and raising the popularity of his boss the donkey sira.
Anyone caught in the racquet? No because they are faceless sloths.
harry hatton / July 12, 2016
there are several distinguished old Royalist who should be honored by RW.
Ravi Wijeratne, Ajith Devasurendra, S. suresh, mahendran and many others.
Come please honor these outstanding old boys !
K.Pillai / July 12, 2016
On 08 January 2015 Lankans mandated the United National Front for Good Governance to act on the corrupt. Corruption is prevalent on both sides. The government must act on the corrupt irrespective of which side the corrupt resides.