The Presidential Commission appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena will carry out a fresh investigation into the exorbitant costs spent for the opening ceremony of the Hambantota Port in November 2010, which was completed during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s term.
It is learnt that the organizers have spent a staggering Rs. 140 million of which Rs. 20 million alone had been paid to popular actor Jackson Anthony for the opening ceremony which comprised of various entertainment acts. Anthony had reportedly functioned as the chief organizer of the opening ceremony.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) has issued a notice to several ex-officials of the Port Authority, including its former chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrema and Jackson Anthony to appear before the Commission to give a statement giving reasons as to why the event cost so much.
The Hambantota Port was developed under two phases, during the first phase the total cost of construction was US $ 501 million, which was jointly funded by Exim Bank of China and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, while the cost for the phase 2 was estimated at US $ 808 million.