Jan 22, 2017

Serious irregularity, underhand deal alleged in tyre factory project! Featured

A serious financial irregularity is suspected in the tyre factory project that was ordered to be suspended by president Maithripala Sirisena recently.

The president has reportedly received several complaints with supportive evidence in that regard.

According to those complaints, an underhand deal had taken place when granting tax relief for Nandana Lokuwithana for the project.

Top government figures have misled prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe into granting the concessions to Lokuwithana, said to be the front man for laundering black money of the Rajapaksas.

They had got the PM involved in the laying of the foundation for the factory in order to escape accusations.

PM unaware of investor’s identity

Until the morning of the day of the foundation laying, the PM had not known who has invested in the project.

Persons loyal to him have revealed the investor’s identity and asked him not to attend the function.

According to sources at the PM’s office, Wickremesinghe had decided to be at the ceremony as the invitation had been extended to him by persons in whom he has confidence, and to elaborate on the matter once he returned from Switzerland.

In view of that, the president has ordered the suspension of construction work of the factory in Horana.

The irregularities

Reports say Lokuwithana has been given the 100-acre plot of land on a 99-year lease at the rate of Rs. 100 per acre.

Also owner of Dubai’s Marriot Hotel, he was to invest 75 million US dollars through his Rigid Tyres Ltd. on this project.

Normally, the BOI grants land on a 50 year lease, but the cabinet subcommittee on economic management has approved this to be a 99-year lease, and with a 12-year tax holiday.

Also, the annual per-acre lease at the Wagawatte investment zone in Horana is Rs. 578,000, but Lokuwithana has been given it at Rs. 100 per acre.

There have been questions as to how he had acquired such wealth after leaving for Dubai to work as a production assistant on a 225 US dollar salary in 1989.

The Rajapaksas helped him to buy Steel Corporation at Oruwala form the Korean owner during the previous regime.

Even Sajin Vaas Gunawardena had worked in Dubai until Mahinda Rajapkasa became the prime minister and it is through him that Lokuwithana has started dealing with the Rajapkasa.

Lokuwithana has not refuted his close connection with the Rajapaksa.

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