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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » Government probes Chelina Capital Corp’s China deals

Government probes Chelina Capital Corp’s China deals

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Quibit


Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
The new government has directed relevant authorities including the Finance Ministry and the Board of Investment (BOI) to probe into alleged suspicious dealings of Chelina Capital Corporation (Pvt) Ltd with links to top politicians of the previous regime,top official sources said.

The company was entrusted with the task of providing consultancy services for 15 projects mainly Chinese funded by the previous regime as it has connections to the top, a senior official who wished to remain anonymous told Business Times.

Lolitha Abeysinghe, a close relative of Gamini Senarath, former Chief of Staff of former President Rajapaksa, is Managing Director of the company. He is also a former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka. Vehemently denying these allegations, Mr. Abeysinghe said that most of these projects highlighted in the company web site have not materialized. He said he is ready to face any inquiry event at the Bribery Commission to prove his innocence.

The official, who provided the information, said the total value of these 15 projects was around US$ 7 billion of which 12 worth $6 billion were to be Chinese funded through high interest loans. The company had been able to enter into agreements with Chinese companies because

of its links with the previous government. He noted that if a local company wants to do business with Chinese companies one must prove its connections to the government

The Mahinda Rajapaksa family was to allegedly receive around $800 million through equity stakes or commissions from these projects, he added.

Mr. Abeysinghe, while denying any misuse of power, said the company was unable to proceed with many of these projects because of his relationship with Mr. Senarath.

He categorically stated that he has not received any favour from him.

However official sources said that some of these projects were approved by the previous cabinet without knowing the nature of it as the cabinet papers were submitted without foot notes and background details,.

Chelina was the local company in the US$.1.5 billion Sapugaskanda Refinery Modernization / Expansion project which was undertaken by China`s SINOPEC and the commission to win the bid has already been paid, an official said.

But, Mr. Abeysinghe said that this project has not received the greenlight from the government.

Chelina had entered into a joint venture with Sinohydro Corp of China and another Dubai company to implement the $1,350 million Taprobane Business Centre and financial hub project on the 29.2 acre Tripoli market land.

This matter was raised in parliament by the then opposition and the project has to be abandoned, he said.

The $700 million Kurunegala-Habarana Railway Line project of 90km connecting above towns via Dambulla proposed by China Railway Construction Corp was another venture of Chelina. But the company has not been involved in the project, he disclosed.

Shanghai Electric Power Transmission and Distributing Engg Corp were awarded the $39 million contract for improvement of power distribution in Eastern Province and this was one of their successful projects, he disclosed.

A hotel reportedly belonging to the Rajapaksa family is being built on around one acre land in Mt. Lavinia at a cost of $20 million by the company, it was alleged. But Mr. Abeysinghe noted that the owner of the land had sold the property to another party and he had to incur a loss of Rs. 70 million paid as an advance payment.

Meanwhile the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) submitted a file to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) against former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath for earning a large sum of money from various groups and places including casino owners, Chinese nationals, the Temple Trees and many other places.

It also spoke of Mr. Senarath’s alleged involvement in a number of land and property scams. The latter was not available for contact.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150215/business-times/government-probes-chelina-capital-corps-china-deals-135220.html

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